Sunday, November 2, 2014


Anyone who pays any attention at all to this blog knows I've chosen to go with indie publishing.  I believe the market has changed enough to allow for it, and the freedom bequeathed by such a choice means I have true control over what I create and how I market.  However, that doesn't mean the public at large understands the choice.

I've told a few people about my work, and when I mention the May 2016 release date, they inevitably say something like, "You have a publisher?  That's awesome!"  Then, when I detail my decision to go indie comes up, their face falls and they say something along the lines of, "Well, I'm sure you will still do okay," when their expression is easy enough to read.  It says, "Your work wasn't good enough to get a major publisher?  I'm sorry.  You must suck."

There's still a stigma attached to indie publishing.  Most have no idea that Fifty Shades of Grey started as an indie book, just like their eyes will widen in surprise when you inform them that The Shack was and still is an independently published work.  While I love Hugh Howey and JA Konrath, the vast majority of casual readers have no idea who they are.  However, both have hit the New York Times Best Sellers List.

The perception remains that only those who couldn't land an agent or find a "real" publisher go indie...and most of the public still calls it "self publishing."  Visions persist of awful books hard bound with heavy staples that look like a 5th grade book report.  Never mind the advances that have come along in the last ten years, or the changes that the digital market has made to publishing whereby it's hard, if not impossible, to tell a traditionally published e-book from an independently published one.

This is a tough nut to crack in the minds of our readers, and it necessitates that we not always publicize the publishing nature of our work.  Yes, I wish we all lived in a world where indie or traditional wouldn't matter to folks, but as long as we're wishing, I'd kind of like to have a pony.  Whether we like it or not, we start a step behind in the minds of the casual reading public when it becomes known at the outset that our work isn't traditionally published.  I think we can get past this if we establish an audience from the get go, but we must first get past the mental barriers.

The way to get past this in the end is to put out quality work.  People enjoy reading challenging, fun books.  Every time we put out crap, we reinforce the negative stereotype of indie work.  Again, it doesn't matter that some traditional work sucks balls - it's the public perception still that if you are published by a large house, then you are good, but if you go indie, you weren't good enough.

What has been your experience?  Do people in your critique groups and writing classes automatically write off indie works(sometimes with a touch of pity)?  Or do they give it a chance?  And what are you doing to affect that perception?

No comments:

Post a Comment