I was NOT going to go the indie route. I was an indie snob, myself, having grown up around “Vanity” presses and other such unprofessional ways that previous self-published writers had become authors. Their books were objects of scorn, their accumulated unsold volumes gathering dust in their garages, basements and storage areas, testimonials to their misplaced pride, I thought.
Then, the internet and ebooks led to this revolution in publishing. In the last several years, according to many reports, ebook sales have gone through the roof and indie publishing has more than quintupled x 100. Really.
This explosion, which has made available SO MANY books written, edited/proofread (or not), and distributed outside of or alongside of (often, while using) the traditional publishing houses’ and online stores’ routes, means several things:
1) My sci-fi concept, The Spanners Series, which languished in my computer and as various printed-outs in boxes of drafts that never made it past the query stage, is now getting PUBLISHED (well, ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I is, and I plan to publish the other 9 Volumes as well, via Smashwords.com: thanks, Mark Coker!) mostly due to my own hard work rather than waiting for luck.
2) There is a lot of variety in what is being distributed. Quality is hard to detect. You CANNOT judge the book by the cover, since many indie authors are on tight budgets and covers are expensive. Also, authors purchase or accept only “good” reviews. Paid armies of PR people or an author’s family and friends game the rankings’ and stack the reviews’ “ballot boxes.” PR hacks generally mess with readers. Authors can buy Twitter followers. Marketers blow many other false trumpets to herald a book that is actually HORRIBLE (or might be wonderful). How can any reader separate the wheat from the chaff?
3) Many millions of ebooks are now available. MOST are made free or ridiculously low-cost (under $5) for some or all of their “sales” periods. The sheer quantity and bewildering array flooding the market with cheap and free books make it even harder for any one book or author to get noticed, even those of high quality.
4) Getting our books noticed is made both more and less difficult by the fact that the author has to do all the marketing. I can tell you: it’s exhausting. And, doing all the marketing means it’s hard to carve out time to write, which is ironic, at best and extremely frustrating, at worst. Yes, we are motivated. Yes, we know our book best. Yes, we are committed to its success. However, most of us DO have (or, in my case, SHOULD soon have) other paying jobs and other books or stories to write!
Please read this great article (link, below) by Lia London about the trials and tribulations of and reasons to admire indie authors like me.
THEN: Help out us indie authors! Read reviews, read excerpts, shop around, engage with us. Finally, BUY OUR BOOKS! We need readers to rank us, write comments, recommend and refer to our books. We need readers, reviewers and bloggers! Thanks!