Being an Indy
Sorry this is late this week. I had technical difficulties! But now they’re solved.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the Tuolumne County Historical Society. I talked about my life as a novelist and read from my three books. It was a blast.
In preparing the talk, I needed to say things about my choice to independently publish. I knew there would be people in the audience who would want to know more information about it. It is an important decision for any writer to make.
The first thing I realized is that the general public does not know the term “indy writer.” In the crowd I hang out with and the materials I study, that term is part of our daily vernacular. But the regular person has never heard ot it. They would call me a self-published writer. There is definitely a question of whether I'm “really a writer” or whether I'm just creating “vanity projects.”
In my presentation, I talked about my spirit. I told this audience that I had been an entrepeneur, working as an editor and transcriptionist, for the past twenty-three years. I told them I liked to have control over my work. The one advantage I could see would be if traditional publishers truly marketed your work, but except for a select few, now most writers have to market themselves. I said that I had talked to writers who were traditionally published and had noted a common theme: a lack of communication between the writer and the agent and the publishing company, many broken promises, an abundance of power plays that the writer had to navigate, a building up and then a tearing down, and just general bad behavior towards the writer. I had heard tales on podcasts about agents telling writers that they could not write a certain book. I'm sure if I was traditionally published, my agent would not be pleased if, after two coming-of-age novels, I said that now I planned ot embark on a series of talking cat fantasies. Many writers are sensitive souls. I know I am. If I was being told what to create, I wouldn't be able to write. I just couldn't do it.
There is often an attitude that if something is self published, that it is slapped together, not worth your time. When I talk to people about my books, I like to have my work on hand so I can show them the care that has been taken with the production. At presentations, I like to read from my books, so people can hear that I've taken time with the writing. I like to talk about my process in creating a book—writing drafts, turning it over to a beta reader when I can't stand to look at it any more, revising, handing it off to a developmental editor, revising, hiring a copyeditor to review it, revising, sending it off to the proofreader, revising, publishing. Granted, not every indy writer does this, but many of us do.
When people think of becoming writers and publishing, I think there is still often the wish of having an agent and being published traditionally. It's what many of us grew up with as our dream. There is still a cachet attached to that parth, although I think it is not nearly as desirable as it used to be. The indy road is growing stronger every day. We are indy. Hear us roar!