We Americans love our independence.
We love independent realtors.
Independent business owners.
Independent political parties.
But not independent authors.
We are treated like the weird relative at Thanksgiving. Publishing people smile nervously when approached by them- and sit with the 'regular people' at the other end of the table.
As a hybrid author (books published by both traditional publishers and Indie), I'm understanding the struggle of Indie authors so much more clearly.
The rolling of the eyes.
The dismissing of the validity of my work.
The "we don't want your kind here" at stores, events, and festivals.
Never mind that my book (Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines) was honed over ten years and edited by peer and professional. Ignore that I spent money hiring a professional illustrator (Cathy Thole-Daniels). Skip over the four previous books published by traditional publishers (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne, Flux, Leap).
Some Indie published books are awful- I've read them. One book was so bad, I put a Post-It on every mistake (grammar, spelling, POV, etc.) and it looked like a George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones book where people flag when a character gets killed (yes, that many). I used it in a writing what-not-to-do presentation.
But I've read some great ones (I'm going by content, not sales, so Fifty Shades of Grey doesn't meet my qualifications). Sometimes, the author then goes on to a traditional contract, but the publishers didn't see the potential at first- until the public did and the bucks started coming in.
I understand that there are sooo many books out there and the traditional publishers can't print them all. (Hence, Indie pubbing helps with that...) But traditional publishers have also chosen so many I-can't-believe-you-published-this-crap books; like If I Did It by OJ Simpson. What the hell were they thinking- oh yes, celebrities bring in money, even when the book is awful.
So it all comes down to money (except for those coffee table books people publish/buy just to look chic and sophisticated). If an Indie author is trying to sell their book, they want to make money, same as Indie bookstores. (Gotta pay for the illustrator, travel to book events, PR.) It seems to me both sides could work out an arrangement which gives them each profits and happiness.
It's a hard road, but I'm not giving up. I believe in this project too much.
And yes, there are successes, but many more that aren't. It's okay, I'm not discouraged.
And I'm not going away...