Some call it self publishing. Some call it independent publishing. The name doesn’t matter. What’s important is that more readers have more access to more books than ever before. In today’s world, we can download a book for just a few bucks, and never worry about where to store it when we’re done.
As an author, it’s even better. Some of my work just isn’t “main stream” enough to be picked up by a production business. They have to weigh all of the risks vs. rewards. If they know the market is buying up book type A as fast as it can hit the shelves, but has never seen a book like Z, why would they dump in hundreds of thousands (or more) into printing it? That would be a very foolish business decision.
But I no longer have to worry about if my story is “mainstream” enough. I just need to worry about things like plot, characterization, and a viable story. Authors can focus on telling what they want to, and ignoring wondering how many people will read it, if it will make the best seller’s lists, and all of the “old style” way of doing things. What matters are individual reviews, public perception, and knowing how to market to your niche in the book world.
Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about unicorn porn (yep, found that on kindle, eek!) or murder mysteries. Every book out there has someone who could read it. Today, we authors have to worry about professional covers, grammar and editing, as well as writing with a unique voice that sets us apart. We have to build an audience, the appease their need for more. Regurgitated story lines and transparent plot twists aren’t going to cut it in this world. We need to be smarter, more inventive, and twice as creative – but it’s allowed.
You see, the gatekeepers for traditional publishing are doing their job. I’m not opposed to that, and it makes perfect sense. The number of people buying tangible books is down. That means that each book published needs to be a sure thing. They must hedge their bets, but that also means not taking a big risk. The stories they like are the ones they know will sell. Rulebreakers like Hemingway or Tolkien wouldn’t stand a chance.
But they would if they did it themselves. The best way is to make a team. I have mine. Between my cover artist(s), my editor, my beta readers, and more, we have a herd of people invested in each and every book. Remember that old saying about how it takes a village? It’s true in indie publishing, but it’s worth it. To see the cover I dreamed up, with the words I wrote, all sitting there, getting read by complete strangers? There are no words for the feeling that stirs inside me. It’s epic.