“Think of the Indie publishing world as a team: we are all working together for the greater good of a collective.” Brenda Perlin, Indie Authors Unite: Instant Karma
I am feeling a bit rebellious right now. I’m feeling all kinds of slogans coming on. One of them is indie books rock! and I’ve turned it into a reciprocal support and promote site for indie authors, where members share their social networks to grow the pool of potential readers for everyone involved.
It’s been coming on for a while. Ever since I self-published my first book, 100 days of solitude, on CompletelyNovel last March, I’ve been involved in a one-woman marketing campaign in the social media. And I’m constantly looking for ways to do it better, while staying genuine and not feeling like I’m selling out in the name of selling my book. Connecting with other indie authors has always made sense: we’re all in this together. And then, last week, I came across an article by Brenda Perlin, entitled Indie Authors Unite: Instant Karma, and it all came together, and indie books rock was born.
The concept is very simple: authors list their independently-published books, and then promote the site to potential readers within their social networks, thus substantially increasing exposure for the work of all members. It’s like a little good karma community for indies, exactly as Brenda suggests. And it’s going well: the site’s been up for less than a week, and we have 17 authors and more than 40 books featured already. We’re not rebels: we’re just writers doing the best we can for our books.
Perhaps, then, the word is not rebellion. My decision to self-publish 100 days of solitude was not a rejection of traditional publishing. I simply wanted it out there, being read, rather than sitting on my hard drive as I searched for representation. It wasn’t an either/or decision, nor was it driven by rebellion at the time. But as time goes by, I am feeling increasingly conflicted about the conventional vs independent publishing debate. I always imagined that I’d eventually get an agent and publish my work through the conventional route, but I’m no longer certain. There are, of course, undeniable benefits to traditional publishing. There’s the validation, to begin with, and it’s a big thing. There’s the fact that you have an editor to work with. There’s distribution, and exposure: publishers have a wider reach. But support? Success? Many traditionally-published authors I’ve spoken to have confirmed my suspicion that the task of promoting their books once they’re published rests mainly on their own shoulders, and they’re out there, on the social media, along with us indies, trying their best to get the word out. And one of the questions that come up is whether chasing the dream of conventional publishing is worth it. Is the time and effort we put into looking for agents and publishers better spent actually writing?
Perhaps it doesn’t have to be either/or. Self-publishing doesn’t exclude the possibility of working with an agent and traditional publisher at a later date. But regardless of what the future brings, the decision to go indie is a choice that we make and I, for one, will stand by it for as long as I’m in it. I might remain conflicted, but for now I’m a proud member of the indie community and the good karma it brings. I’m not a rebel; I’m a writer, out there with the rest of you, indies and non-indies alike, doing the best I can. Chasing the dream.
Visit indie books rock to submit your work and/or discover great books by independent authors.
This article was originally written for and first published on CompletelyNovel.