Right now, anyone who wants to can upload a book to Amazon and sell it on the Kindle. All you need is the technical know-how. And countless numbers of people are doing just that. The Indie Movement is for real, yo. And obviously I’m planning to dip my toes in the water with Wild and Night and Chaos. I’ve read around, I’ve heard the success stories, and yeah, the whole thing is pretty tantalizing. So I figure, why not? My odds for success are just as good as anybody else’s.
Which is not to say I don’t have reservations. The fact that anybody can do something doesn’t mean everybody should do it. For every success story, there are countless writers languishing in obscurity. For every gem of an indie book, lovingly crafted, faithfully polished, there are probably dozens of crap-fests that should never see the light of day. And as well as reading the success stories, I’ve read the endless debate over just who gets to decide what’s worth publishing when anybody can do it.
I guess the answer is obvious in one sense: readers will find those gems, word of mouth will help draw attention to them, and the cream will rise to the top. Good. My concern for myself is – am I objective enough to know if my own work is a gem or a crap-fest? As the author, am I actually qualified to judge? I don’t believe for a second that just because I finish a book, I’ve earned the right to publish it, whether it be traditionally or independently. And I don’t believe I’m entitled to a reader’s money, time, or appreciation just because I published a book. I certainly don’t expect to join the ranks of the Amanda Hockings and JA Konraths of the world and start raking in stupid amounts of money for my work (although obviously that would be a massive bonus).
So why am I’m testing the indie route now? And why with Wild, a book that has already failed to find a home with agents and publishers? What makes me think I know so much better than them? Surely according to my own belief, just because I slaved over the damn book for nearly five years, doesn’t make me entitled to force it on the public, especially when all those agents and publishers have already rejected it.
Well… I might not know better. I might be one of the failures who languishes in obscurity, and I might end up bitter and resentful and sit around writing blogs about nobody gets my genius and there’s a massive conspiracy against me. I don’t think I will. I don’t think Kyle or chaostheory will let me, as they’ve both promised to bitch-slap me the minute I start acting like a diva in any case.
So no, I might not know better. I might achieve nothing. Or, I might sell some copies and find some new readers who really love it. Frankly, I don’t think I have anything to lose. I’ll write more books. There’ll be at least two sequels to Night and Chaos, and based on my beta readers’ reactions, I’m hopeful that at least will find a happy home on the Kindle. And you know what? I love Wild. I believe it’s a good book and I want to share it with people. The indie route gives me the opportunity to do that.
So, no, I don’t think that just because you can do something, you should. And no, I don’t believe that every single thing I write is worthy of being pushed on the public. But I think 2011 is going to be my year of living dangerously.