Is there even a line to be drawn? The debate is endless. With the latest editing software and a few tricks learned at a writing convention, anyone can self-publish. Does it mean your story will be worth the reader’s time? Absolutely not. Traditionally or self-published books belong to the same basket – ask and you shall receive a crappy story from a big 5 publisher or an indie author. Or, you’ll find a beautiful gem buried in the millions books available today on Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords.
Writing, like anything else, needs time and work. Poor grammar, spelling errors, lack of plot, unrealistic characters, the list goes on and on, make for a crappy story. That’s where the line should be drawn. I’ve read books published by big houses, and they sucked balls. These same books that were made into movies, and collected millions of dollars in merchandising, I’m sorry, but in my opinion, they were shitty as hell. Now, I dug through Amazon’s listings, and paid a couple of bucks for indie books, and bam! My day was made.
We’ve come to a point where reading is accessible to everyone in any format – but the time to read is becoming less and less, as we are busy with work, family and life in general. I agree it’s easier for me to sit through a two-hour motion picture than read a book, especially if the story doesn’t appeal to me. I rarely stop watching a crappy movie, I just don’t pay attention but the images still distract me. A book on the other hand…once you lost me, you don’t get me back.
So here we are – authors flourish and blossom at every street corner of Twitter and Facebook and Google + and so on, claiming they have finally found the story that will catch your attention. Marketing is key. Getting to know the author on a semi-personal level helps a bit too. I will read your book if I think you’re a cool chick or guy, with ideas and a style I identify with. Yet again, I will buy a book to be supportive, and behind closed doors, cry myself to sleep because I can’t finish reading the darn story. And then I can’t bring myself to review your work on Amazon or Goodreads because I don’t want to be a dick. And when you ask me, so did you read my book? I nod energetically, yes yes absolutely, loved it! Oh gosh. At this rate, I’m going to get struck by lightning and vanish in a big poof of smoke.
Seriously, it’s not always like that though. Very often I’ve bought indie gems, and have raved about them on every platform possible. Talent and creativity cannot be manufactured, no matter how any marketing strategy works. And I’m saddened when I fall upon a great book, and notice the author doesn’t sell much because no one really knows his writing is so good, you want to stuff your face in it until you can’t take it anymore – just like a big piece of cake.
Today’s competition is extremely tough, but the secret is to hang on no matter how many hurdles we have to jump over. If you’re an author and decide to write commercial stuff because your goal is to sell, go for it. If you’re more inclined to write about what really makes your skin crawl and gives you goose pumps, go for it too. It doesn’t matter in this day and age what path you take, the journey will always be worthwhile.
I find it refreshing to see so much art and inspiration on a day-to-day basis. And next convention I’ll go to, I’ll enjoy it because I’m part of a process that makes me feel good about myself. Remember, writing is all about finding your voice. Just like painting, singing, tattooing, or designing clothes. To each his own. And the debate on traditional v. indie publishing should stop once and for all, because honestly, who gives a flying monkey banana?
Just write, read and have fun.