The Day the World Turns Upside Down
Just read this awesome comment from a KBoard member, DDark, in a discussion about dropping the word “indie” when referring to self-published authors:
I love being Indie. It’s like saying I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve never personally felt a negative connotation with it. To be honest, that tide is changing with readers, and in the past year, I’ve never seen so much “indie awareness” among readers who love to support the indie community. It could be genre specific, but they are falling in love with indie books and are letting go of those old stereotypes, realizing ways they can support the community. I love the label in other areas because I intentionally seek out indie movies and indie music.
And it reminded me of a blog post I put up a couple months ago where I predicted that we would soon see a day when traditional publishers do things with books to make them appear self-published.
Let that sink in for a moment. I’m saying that major publishers will do things to make their books look indie in order to appeal to readers who enjoy discovering new and underground works, who like supporting artists directly, who enjoy being part of a movement and a new cultural trend. It’s because of what DDark is saying about a changing tide with readers. It’s happening. I know people who read almost nothing but indie books. Their number is growing. That’s a demand, and major publishers will (another 2014 prediction?) start working to satisfy that demand.
We will have gone from the day when self-published authors tried to blend in with the big boys to a new era where the major publishers attempt to emulate us. We’ll see lower prices, perma-free, faster publication, e-book first windowing, more print-on-demand, cribbing our covers and fonts (!!), making shelf space for genres we invent (NA, anyone?), and urging their authors to “act more like a self-published author.”
Heresy? I don’t think so. I think it’s inevitable. Look at what major food producers do to make their products appear to come from a smaller, more intimate source. Look at Etsy and the rise of the maker movement. Look at the desire to “shop local.” Or the love of things hand-made. We are seeing a return to the roots of art where music can have pops and static and films can have a few sloppy cuts and books can do a little head-hopping, because it’s all about finding something new and exciting and ours.
The thread asked if we shouldn’t drop the “indie” label and just think of ourselves as authors. I’m going the other way. I use the word indie a lot, but I try to remember to use the word self-publishing. Why? Because I’m damn proud of what I do. Sure, I enlist others to help me make the best product possible, just as a small business owner can rarely do everything on their own. Just as a painter needs someone to manufacture their brushes and their paints. But I’m at the helm of this sad-looking ship. I can run it on a reef or discover some land nobody ever dreamed of. I’m a self-published author. Watch out for the pretenders.