Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Perceived Image of an Indie Author

Ah, the wonderful world of the internet. It's great for networking, wonderful to keep in touch with families, and it breeds drama, but it can also be a great place for open discussion. I tend to lean more towards conversations with indie authors, but occasionally I cross over and talk to traditionally published ones too when it comes to talking shop. My favorite is to talk to other hybrid authors, which Mia are now considered hybrid authors. That's important, because I'm getting ready to break down somethings that I found and or experiences on the internet this last week. I often like to pretend that there is no more perceived image of an indie author, that we can walk amongst traditionally authors with our heads held high, and no one will pick on us. Yeah, right. (Though to be fair, we pick on traditionally published authors.)

So let's quickly define indie authors, traditionally published, and hybrids.

Indie authors: Normally this refers to authors who have no affiliation with a true publisher. There are authors who are considered indie who have combined to make their own press, or even just one author who made their own press so there was a publisher name, but it's not a publisher that caters to other authors.

Traditionally published authors: Authors who has a publisher, regardless of it's a big five publisher or not.

Hybrid authors: Authors who are published both ways.

So now to the fun stuff, now that we're all caught up. On a Facebook post a traditionally published author poised a question in regards to the possibility to produce a large amount of writing as an indie author and it being quality writing.

When I was an aspiring author, I was completely against self-publishing, and this was one of the reasons why. I saw a particular author releasing something almost every month and I thought, there is just no way that it's polished enough. My Hubby tried to play devil's advocate and questioned me as to why it wasn't possible. In the end I shrugged my shoulders and thought, 'we'll see.' Now that I'm an author, under two different names, one which is indie and one which is hybrid, I know it is possible. Everything I'm writing, with the exception of A Demon's Heart, are things that will be published next year. Everything I'm planning on releasing this year is written and either just waiting on covers or is currently being edited. Under one name, I'll be releasing six titles, three that are novels, and three that are short stories. Under Alexandra, I'll (hopefully) be seeing the release of two books with Ellora's cave and two indie releases. At a convention, I met several authors that work this way and now that I know how it works, I know it's possible.

So naturally...I jumped in wanting offer the perspective of a indie author. I wrote a well though out response that invited conversation, did not bash traditionally published, and was hoping for a well thought out response. What I got instead was a simple thanks for responding. Hm. So I continued to follow the conversation, one person pointed out that I had valid points, and we continued to discuss, but the conversation ended basically with this: Traditional is better because edits take time and the publisher is the best at that.

That is an age old argument. Indie books are not edited. That is not true. Granted, there is stuff out there that is not edited, but that is not the whole lot. Just like people tend to think: Traditionally published have better story lines and knows what sells. No. I've read some awful Traditionally published books and though they follow trends, they can't switch as easily. (I'm not saying write towards the trends people, just pointing things out.)

Now as for the editing. Worried about downloading an indie book and having it been unedited? Check out the sample first, that's a glorious feature right there. It saved me $10 on an indie e-book the other week. On a book that helps give indie authors a bad name. But back to the point, traditional authors still hold that idea that they are better because they are with a publisher, that their editors know more than editors we can hire or our betas, who are normally made up of our target audience. Am I saying that indie authors are better? No, what I'm saying is that we are all authors, and yes there is good and bad writing out there and good and bad stories out there, but they aren't exclusively indie. There are those indie authors who think that they are better, though and that is the wrong attitude to have. We can all learn from each other here people, so knock it off!

That brings me to my next point. There was an article going around social media that had mentioned how different hybrid authors are. It talked about how we aren't indies, which is partially true, and we aren't really traditional, which well, is kind of true as well. We have a foot in each world, but here's the thing. We are still indie, we still know and do all the work for some of our projects. In the article it talked about how the only way a hybrid author could survive in this world is if they were a New York best seller before they 'turned indie' like we're vampires or something. Turned. According to the author of the article, if the author was not a NY best seller, than they were no better than the indie authors.

Hold up. That gives hybrids  a negative image too. Again, can't we all be just authors? Can't we all get along? Probably not, because this is how life goes, it's a uphill battle for us all, yes even traditionally published authors. The perceived image of an indie author is still a negative one in some people's eyes. What we need to do is find a way to change this, regardless of the category that we fall in.

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