After yesterday’s post, an indie I know contacted me to tell me I owed the reader an apology. I shouldn’t have publicly shamed them for having an opinion. So here is my apology:
Take your ignorance and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
As long as I can breathe, I will not apologize for standing up for indie authors. It is asshats like this reader that make the world a harder place for those of us who work ourselves into a frenzy trying to put out the best books we possibly can and make them affordable.
There are still these hairbrained ideas that indies are trying to destroy the publishing world or that they are trying to ruin established traditionally published authors or that they just mass produce drivel. None of it is true.
What indie publishing has done is open up the book world to more readers by providing more writers. As a reader, I have a difficult time finding books that are low on romance and sex scenes, but high on the blood and gore, which is what I prefer to read. I’m sure Nicholas Sparks is great if you like romance, but I prefer Jack Kilborn (JA Konrath) and his blood soaked, gore fueled, orgies of mass murder. However, without the ability to indie publish, Konrath’s most violent and bloody stuff would not be available to the public.
I don’t stand up for indies just because I am one. I stand up for them because I am a reader. I love to read and for decades, my reading choices have been limited by what publishing houses think they can sell. Meaning lots of talented authors never put out a single book. Indie publishing is changing that.
There are some authors that I just can’t stand, indie or not. However, I will stand up for their right to publish regardless of how much I hate their books. One author I hate more than Tolstoy, which is saying something, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to publish. I am one reader. Others might love the works they put out. Only individual readers can make a decision about what sucks and what doesn’t. It is the prerogative of the reader to make those decisions.
However, refusing to pay a small stipend for a book that you might actually love is absurd when the sole reason is that the author is not traditionally published. I also know that the majority of ebook readers use Kindle. Amazon does allow for returns of digital books within seven days if you don’t like it. I don’t like when this system is abused, but I do understand hating a book so much that you feel you wasted your $3.99. I once got a book for free that I felt was a waste of my money.
Yes, there are flaws. There are writers who do not publish for the love of writing and sharing their works with the masses. They do it because if they follow a formula, they can sell books and it’s essentially a get rich quick scheme. I know others that feel they shouldn’t need to invest in editors and proofers and cover artists and so their best work isn’t really their best work.
But these writers are the exceptions, not the rule. Most indies publish because we love writing, we are so passionate about it that we want to give the world a chance to judge our work. We pour our heart and soul into every book and in the end, we are exhausted and second guessing ourselves and hoping we didn’t make a tremendous mistake; chomping our nails and pulling out our hair because maybe it wasn’t the very best we could have made it.
I do not feel I have anything to apologize for… Yes, I shamed a reader. That reader no doubt read the post and hopefully they felt like an asshat, because they sure as hell acted like one. At some point, readers are going to have to come to terms with the fact that indie publishing has changed the industry some by offering more variety in authors, book genres, and writing styles that they may never have been exposed to. This doesn’t make all indies crap writers or fake writers, it just makes them non-traditional writers and sometimes, a little breaking with tradition is a good thing.
It is not our intent to force traditionally published authors and publishing houses to fold under the weight of our variety. We are simply trying to open up the market to bring in more readers and more authors and more genres and more choices. Books have been available only at the behest of others for as long as they have existed; first it was the monks who copied manuscripts deemed worthy of repeating, then it was those that owned the actual printing presses, then came the rise of the publishing industry who were selective in their choices and bought only what they thought they could sell… But self publishing gives every writer the opportunity to put their work out to the public and say judge me. And that is a right that I think every author ought to have.