I saw a post from an author today, telling others not to identify themselves as Indie or Independent when they were trying to promote their books. It was, she said, the kiss of death, as most people didn’t know Indie Press from mainstream. Her thought was that for most readers, Indie meant something less. Readers who knew about it would identify it as inferior.
It could be true. I’ve seen reviewers, who knew better, put down Indie books for lack of proof reading if they found one tiny grammatical error which they would have ignored in mainstream. Many Indie presses employ proofreaders and editors and have a turn down rate that rivals New York for the fiction submitted to them. And any writer who has been around the Indie publishing scene for a while could tell you how the whole thing has changed from its inception.
Unfortunately, many of us who write believe that readers know what we know. It is seldom true. There were writing wars about who could be included as published authors in many of the author organizations such as Sisters in Crime just a few years ago, with some bad feelings on both sides of the fence. But the average reader knew nothing about them. Readers might know that a book is only available as an e-book rather than having both paper and e but even that division is becoming less of a hurdle as more people read on their tablets and phones and as some NY publishers make some writers earn paper publishing by how many e-books they sell.
I have never identified with the Indie label because I never really thought of my books that way. And I’ve always seen e-publishing as just the latest form of the written word. Anything that has gone through as many changes as writing has, from cave walls and parchment scrolls to moveable type and paper back novels was bound to evolve some more to fit our time. Are e-books the way our grandchildren and great grandchildren will read? Time will tell.
In the meantime, maybe Indie isn’t the way to promote. But then neither is tweeting your log line over and over and over on Twitter. But authors still do it.