When I reconciled myself to the fact that the traditional road to publication (via literary agents and any one of the Big Six publishing houses who’d deign to have me) was not to be Martin’s Way, I figured that I was now the literary equivalent of Irene Cara sitting alone at the piano plaintively singing to an audience of none, “I may not win but I can’t be thrown out here on my own…”
Turns out that’s not the case at all. Turns out there’s a whole community by, for, and about “indie authors” because that’s apparently what I am now: an indie author.
We have our own association: Association of Independent Authors who I, of course, now follow on Twitter (because that’s how us indie authors build a platform, i.e. let the world know we exist. I don’t know how much use they are to authors–I’m about to find out as I’m going to become a member very soon–but I do like their Twitter page. They have a very striking background graphic…which they got from TwitterBackgrounds.com — good lord, does this social media thing ever end…???)
There are also websites which review independently published books.
which even has its own Best Seller List
- Self Publishing Review
as distinct from
- The Self Publishing Review
- POD People
It probably needs to be explained that ‘POD’ means “publish on demand” which is the most popular way to self publish because of the next-to-zero initial outlay; the book doesn’t get printed until an order has been received for it
- The Kindle Book Review
There are probably other sites too (aren’t there always…?) but these are the ones I came across during my initial search.
And of course there are blogs upon blogs upon blogs. You could, quite literally, spend all day just following the blogs about publishing but who’s got that sort of time? So I was very pleased to come across a blog entry called 36 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers which I perused and added the most interesting ones to my Google Reader. (I should also probably explain (because until last week I didn’t know what a Google Reader was or did) — Google Reader is a way of having all your favorite blogs delivered to one place which saves you considerable time and effort of having to go to each of them individually.)
“36 great blogs” was assembled by a book designer named Joel Friedlander whose website is a treasure trove of all sorts of writing and publishing related articles, posts and links. That’s the other thing I found as I was paddling like a blind walrus through these untested waters–there are battalions of freelancers out there ready, willing and very able to help you produce the best book possible.
- Editors to bring your prose up to professional level
- Book designers to give you a cover that doesn’t look something like your neighbor’s 16-year-old Great Dane produced during his latest epileptic fit
- Book marketers to help you get the word out
- Social media mentors to help take the greatest advantage of the digital age’s latest development which continues to evolve at a rate that, I’m sure, takes away the breath of even the most savvy user
Yes, of course all these people charge for their services but they’re not all hugely expensive and a lot of them maintain websites and blogs and Twitter feeds which give you all sorts of hints, pointers, suggestions, and links all designed to assist you to produce a product that doesn’t scream “WHAT KIND OF LAME-ASSED, AMATEURISH, CLUELESS BUMBLER VOMITED UP THIS PIECE OF HOMEMADE DRECK????
There are two over-all messages I’ve absorbed while cruising around all these websites. The first is that many, many people are keen to lift the game of self-publishing so that it loses its not-unearned rep of being a mine field of second-class also-rans. The other message is that we are now entering an age where the literary middle men (i.e. literary agents and Big Six publishers) are becoming obsolete. I’m not sure that I totally buy that–even though all those literary agents rejected me, I’m sure they’re still very, very good at sorting out the garbage from the gems–but clearly, for people like me, the options of getting published are shifting from Very Few Indeed to Anything You Want. And that’s a good thing.
Now, if, in between all this surfing, reading, Twittering, blogging, emailing, negotiating, reviewing, linking, platforming, networking, Facebooking, sleeping, pooping and generally having a life, I can only find the time to actually write my novels, everything would be a great big slice of double dark chocolate fudge cake. And that’s a very good thing.