see more Lolcats and funny pictures
The recent bru-hah-ha about indie books and the Future of Publishing has made me think more deeply about indie books. Are all of them bad? No. Some of them even have relatively nice covers! And, more importantly, some of them are probably pretty good.
Myself, I’ve read at least three good self-published books, plus tons of zines, comic books and chapbooks that were self-published. Plus, I’ve definitely read some real stinkers in traditionally published books realm, so it’s not like I think all trad. published books are automatically awesome anyway.
Really, the only thing that trad. published books have going for them is better marketing and more of a chance that they’ll have at least been glanced at by an editor. Well, that and the fact that they’ll probably get reviewed more, they’ll be available in libraries and bookstores, and, yeah– I’d be less judgemental of them from the start.
One of the articles I read was this one on USA Today, about an indie author who first tried to get her books published traditionally but was continuously rejected. She then decided to publish her books online– in ebook format, as well as paper– and she’s done really, really well. Better than she would have if she HAD gotten picked up by a trad. publishing agency.
- traditional publishing, if not in “trouble” or “dire straits,” is having some, er, issues. This is partly due to the economy, to the advancement of ebooks and ebook readers, and to how people think about and interact with books now compared to pre-internet times.
- the internet is king. Internet culture has permeated Western society and along with that comes the DIY ethos, the cutting out of the middle-man, and, most importantly, the idea that authors (and readers) don’t necessarily NEED big businesses to tell them what to do any longer.
So, basically, I’m not overly surprised at how popular self-publishing has become, especially with new technologies and more options in getting one’s book out there if one wants it to be out. What’s surprising to me is that some authors seem to prefer being self-published than not! The balance between self-pub and trad. pub is changing, and I’m actually really excited about where it’s going and how it’s going to end up. Especially if self-pub and trad. pub can figure out a way to work together that doesn’t involve fists and name calling.
Do I think trad. publishing is going to die? No. (I don’t think paper books will disappear, either.) Do I think self-pub authors are going to become more prolific? Yes, although considering how few literature awards, professional reviewers, and other established trad. publishing thingies actually deal with self-pub books, I think they’ll have to be prolific in other ways than trad. published authors are (or those established whatsits are going to have to change their criteria).
Though I’m very interested in indie books and want to explore them more, it still feels like less of a crapshoot to stick with reading trad. published books– basically, the odds are more in my favor that I’ll be reading a good book if it’s been through the trad. publishing wringer, if for the (copy-)editing than nothing else. However, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t give indie authors more of a chance. Some of them, at least, are willing to fork over the time (and money) to make their books the best they can be, and for those authors? I would be willing to at least give them a shot at convincing me how wonderful they are.
Also, if I ignore self-published books entirely, will I be cutting myself off from a big and soon-to-be (if not already) important part of the book world? I think it’s worth at least dipping my toe in.
So here’s what I’ve decided: I’m still not going to accept self-published books for review (so please don’t email me offers), but I will be branching out more and seeing what good indie books are out there. Luckily there’s some places that are helping to separate the dreck from the diamonds, and I’m hoping they’ll help me find some good reads. I’ll have to work hard to overcome my prejudice first, though!
Do you have a stigma towards self-published books, too? Have you ever read an indie book, or if you haven’t yet– would you? What do you think about authors doing really well selling their books themselves instead of through a publisher?
Note: none of this relates to backlist books that authors have rereleased themselves, which does happen and which is an entirely different thing I’m also excited about.