Falling into the category of Indie Author, I keep my ear to the ground and try to keep up with what the sub-industry is doing.
Interestingly, with the likes of KDP, Smashwords, and Kobo (to name a few of the dozens) available to Indie Authors, the ability to self-publish has never been easier. This rise is a double-edged sword. There are some amazing reads out there, sliding under the radar of the mainstream publishing Goliath. However, there is some absolute rubbish.
The trick is separating the wheat from the chaff.
What are the reasons for an author going the indie route?
For me it boiled down to control of the story and timing. For some authors it can be the fact that their story just doesn’t fit a mainstream need. For others it can be royalties. There are many reasons, but the universal seems to be independence.
Traditional publishing is driven by profit. They might have delusions that they are on a quest for art, but at the end of the day, they accept what they think they can sell.
Whether that means they are looking for specific content or an author type or even a page count, they turn away a lot of authors that just don’t meet their criteria. Oftentimes their search is dictated by what’s happening in the mainstream media.
For instance, a novel about the siege of Sarajevo was published in the aftermath of the actual occurrence … not because it was well written, but because it fit a potential demand.
On the coattails of a high-profile kidnapping, we see, you guessed it, a deluge of kidnapping thrillers.
In 2013, on the fifty-year anniversary of JFK’s assassination, bookstores stocked their shelves with a combination of conspiracy theory books and history books about the president.
The publishing industry is completely subjective. I’ve had manuscripts rejected because they wanted 100k words and 120k was too long to even consider. I’ve seen agents saying they will only accept queries from minority authors. I’ve had editors tell me that a book by a male author can’t have any reference to violence against women.
All this to say, it’s subjective.
And on the other side of the coin, there are some amazing gems in the heap of indie published books.
When an author has the freedom to let the story in their head really flow and they aren’t writing to someone else’s formula, what comes out is pure.
This isn’t to say you can’t find something in mainstream publishing that’s great. It just means that book slipped through the cracks.
However, you have a better chance of finding a pure story in the indie ranks.
There are more Indie Authors taking the leap every day. You, as readers, have more opportunities to find that gem. With the utilization of the rating system, you can weed through the chaff to find those good ones.
On that note, keep on reading, keep on supporting your indie authors, and keep on flying the Black.