I have to admit…I get a little goofy about Independence Day. Always have. I love fireworks, I love cookouts, I love camping, I really love all those pieces that we choose to define ourselves as a nation.
I’m actually a pretty huge fan of the idea of independence in general. I mean, the concept of being allowed to do what you believe to be what’s best for yourself and your family…it’s a pretty big deal. Not having to conform to other’s idealized societal norms and all that.
That’s probably why I’m pretty happy about being an independent author as well (although, as we all know, I’d be pretty darned willing to sell out the second anyone seems to care enough to want to buy me). I’m not exactly a traditional author. I don’t stick to one genre, I don’t write to the fads, and I don’t really pay attention to things like demographics and whatever else I really should be, in order to be a successful author. I like to write stories that I want to read. Independent authors, I believe, in general want to do that. Probably all authors…I don’t have a very good line of communication with the ones who are actually paid to do the work.
Anyways, I guess that’s why I found it really exciting that I received this little award this past weekend, recognizing that I have, in fact, written a book and it is, by definition, independent. That’s right, for one whole day, The Agora Files (a book that’s actually about independence, in a lot of ways) was the Independent Book of the Day, and that weekend just so happened to be the one before Independence Day Weekend.
Coincidence? Definitely. I’m not even entirely certain whether I was the one who signed up to become a winner or not… I’m pretty sure this is one of those deals where you sign up and get put in the queue to win someday in the future.
Did it do anything for my reputation? Don’t think so. Haven’t sold a copy of The Agora Files since, so I don’t think the people who say this really cared. I just get a rather cool badge and an excuse to talk about something that I’ve been wanting to bring up for a while.
There’s actually two difference types of authors who fit within the Indie Author grouping. Authors who are published with Indie Publishing Companies…or Self-Published Authors.
There’s one major difference between these two groups that I think needs to be highlighted…one difference that shows that these two really shouldn’t be grouped together and are really only grouped as such because neither are wanted by the big dog companies. Self-Published Authors are the folks who decide they don’t care that no one else wants to rep their books, they’re going to go ahead and do it themselves.
Self-pubbers are the idiotic fools who throw caution to the wind and put their insane commentaries on life into the void of the internet, hoping that someone out there might read it and actually connect with it. Self-pubbers put their balls on the line, willing to risk their entire reputation based purely on their own thoughts and the biased comments from their friends and family. Self-pubbers, quite seriously, do it for the art.
Money ain’t coming for these folks any time soon. At least not without a helluva lot of work and heartache. And don’t go thinking these are all people you don’t want to know about. Some pretty hefty names out there started in the same way, unable to find anyone who wanted to pay for their books and being forced to foot the bill themselves. To steal a few names off the giant list at selfpublishinghalloffame.com: Margaret Atwood, L. Frank Baum, Lord Byron, e.e. cummings, Alexander Dumas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen King, Rudyard Kipling, Louis L’Amour, Beatrix Potter, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoi, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf. That’s just a tiny sample of the authors he listed on the front page…
Self-publishing isn’t new, and it isn’t completely worthless. I’m not one to try to claim myself as such, but most great art is not recognized by peers in the field…it’s recognized by the ones who actually enjoy art. Where would the world be today if any of these authors hadn’t taken on the task of selling their own books, many times paying hefty sums of money to load up the trunks of their cars with piles upon piles of books in order to go sit on a corner somewhere and try to convince people to read them. These people didn’t have ebooks or print on demand publishing companies to work with…they simply did what the publishers didn’t want to do with their books.
I whole-heartedly believe that the self-pubber should feel somewhat marginalized by being placed in the Indie grouping. They’re a crazy bunch of fools who believe they have something worthwhile enough to say that they will risk everything on trying to say it. And with how easy it is to get your work out there nowadays, self-pubbers aren’t going anywhere soon.
Of course…for every brilliant piece of literature that comes out of the self-pubbed market (as well as the actual indie market and the traditional publishing channels) there is a whole wealth of absolute drivel…the problem is finding the good stuff.
I think the real important thing for us to do today, all of us, is to make sure that when we find a great book, movie, picture, whatever, that we make sure to spread the word, make sure that these artists receive the recognition they deserve. Obviously this could be taken as a plea to tell people about my books, but I honestly believe that my friends and family have already done way more of that than I could ever repay. I’m simply stating, these authors and artists are working their butts off to express their inner demons/angels/whatever to you. The least you can do if you enjoy the fruits of their labors is to tell someone about it. Or tell everyone about it.
I think that’s partially the concept behind the Indie Book of the Day…but I also think that everyone realizes that these books have not been vetted before receiving their awards. Awareness is increased, which is always cool…but let’s start getting better about telling folks when we appreciate great art.
I know I’ve been trying to get better at that.
It’s the American way, after all…I think…
Anyways, I’ve got way too much to get done today.
have fun out there!