What Makes an “Indie” Writer?

Okay, I admit, this entry is a bit later in the posting than I might have liked. I’ve been sitting on it since May 21st, when someone retweeted a comment from agent Sarah LaPolla. Other worthy topics kept coming up that required my attention; in particular, the posts about standards, and blah blah blah. Now I’m ready to climb up on the soapbox.

Let’s start with the tweet in question:

Indie writer = published w/ a small press who gave you a contract & had an editor & packager who wasn’t you or someone you hired separately.

I’ll own it: I saw some red when that came up in my feed. The whole thing smacked of the sort of dismissive attitude that does absolutely no-one in publishing any good, even those who work through the traditional system, though they don’t always realize that. Not having the greatest of days, I tapped out a scathing reply and hovered my finger over the trigger.

Nah, I thought, best to give yourself a second. No need to fly off the handle.

So I allowed myself a moment to calm down, and as I did so, I realized that she might be quoting a source, perhaps a writer. I didn’t agree, but I’d like to see the source  I asked her where it came from, and if this meant that writers like JA Konrath and/or John Locke were not “indie” – the idea seemed patently absurd, but what the hell, she might have been pulling it from somewhere.

Not so much. She sidestepped John Locke altogether, but replied about Konrath:

Both are used because people misuse “indie.” He’s self-pubbed & proud. Self-pubbers shouldn’t hide behind a mis-label.

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Are We In A Bubble?

Today will be another short entry – I will be back on my standard schedule on Monday, once I’ve gotten through the editing of The Corridors of the Dead.

Back in September, I started writing a blog detailing my questions about the then-current self-pubbed market. I never got around to writing it, but the central question was whether we are (or were) in a bubble, and whether that bubble was about to burst, along with some ideas of how authors could weather that bubble and come out even stronger on the other side, in a few years. As time passed, I felt that I just didn’t know enough about sales figures one way or the other, and would cover it more once I had actually self-published a full-length work.

Well, turns out I no longer need to, as JA Konrath’s guest post today adequately covers exactly what I wanted to say, especially his five points, as I think they’re really key to weathering what may be to come with self-publishing and the glut of ebooks. Check it out here: Guest Post by Stephen Leather.

See you all soon on the other side!

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The Shadow of Doubt: Three Steps to Face not being a Best-Seller

I’ve seen some posts recently about how to game the system at Amazon and other web sites and become a fairly successful author. At first I read these ideas as sacrificing quality at the cost of getting more “product” out there faster, but I think that I’m understanding that the question is more about how much quality one is willing to accept. The author in particular had eschewed an editor and gone for self-editing, while throwing together his own covers.

But the whole thing made me question what it is that I want out of this: am I looking for a business, or am I aspiring to something different? Not that I say different, not more. I’ve talked about how I want some sort of lasting fame, but getting down to brass tracks – practically – not a pie-in-the-sky possibility of fame or prestige – what is my ultimate aim? Do I want to be the guy cranking out 80 stories in 8 months so that I can subsist on those works? Putting out robotic prose that sells but never quite satisfies me?  Continue reading