Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old Schedules and Old Attitudes

Hey, so I'm still knee deep in editing, but I realized when I looked at the calendar... Summer's over!

That's kind of sad. But it means I'll have more time to write, make the rounds, and I'll be returning to my usual (old) blog schedule of Monday posts.

I switched to Wednesdays for the summer so I could take part in The Kindness Project, led by awesome bloggy friend Carol Miller (link).

TKP is actually on the verge of an interesting transformation that I'm excited to join, but for now, I'll be back to Mondays with some good info, some new authors, some thoughts, some randomness.

In the meantime, I was thinking about all the hullabaloo over Sue Grafton's comments about indie authors (link). Basically, she compared them to amateur pianists who learned Five Easy Pieces and then expected to be allowed to play Carnegie Hall.

She was coming down on the side of traditional publishing, talking about learning the craft, and pretty much saying indie authors had no validity in the literary world.

I used to have that (old) attitude. I used to think self-publishing was for people who didn't know what they were doing, who didn't understand the importance of editors and quality control, and who just wanted to skip the dues-paying and go straight to the head of the class. I used to think it didn't "count."

I don't feel that way anymore.

I've read too many really good indie books in the past year, and I know too many indie authors who are smart, who are committed to craft, who are hiring editors, and who are invested in putting out quality products.

They're also making a living, and they're remembering why they love what we do: getting their books into the hands of readers.

A few writer-friends and I were chatting yesterday, and we discussed how novel writing seems to be the one creative field that punishes the independent artist. In music, movies, painting, etc., indies are praised as revolutionary. Visionary. Somehow more creative than their traditional counterparts.

It's interesting. Our world is evolving. What do you guys think?

See you Monday! Have a great weekend, reader- and writer-friends! <3


Jessica Bell said...

I think we need in with the cult movie-makers and independent musos! :) It's pretty ludicrous really. When is the stigma going to lift?

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think it's sad that there has to be lines drawn between traditionally and self-published authors. They are just different roads to the same goal. Neither is right or wrong.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah pretty pathetic to think they don't count, there are some who are just lazy turds looking to make a buck, but you can find those everywhere.

Matthew MacNish said...

An author who titles their books based on the alphabet is calling self-published authors lazy?

StratPlayerCJF said...

Great post, Leigh!

Too many old-school writers see 'a book' as a tangible thing, when it is really just a physical delivery system for the real product, which is intangible and ethereal: The Story.

I think the explosion of indie authors, self-publishing, and e-publishing is actually a good thing. It's creating many more ways to deliver Stories to eager readers -- faster, easier, and cheaper. For the reader, this is a great thing. They are now only a couple clicks away from all of the world's literature.

Yes, it does open up the flood gates and can be overwhelming to the reader at times, and yes there is certainly more variety in the quality of writing available -- there is truly some schlock out there, and it can take a bit of effort for a reader to find the diamonds in the rough.

But I think that, in many ways, it's just like the industrial revolution: That brought products that used to be hand-made, expensive, and reserved only for the elite into the hands of millions of consumers at much lower cost. Digital delivery is doing the same thing for stories.

As a writer, I'm not an elitist -- I think that quality writing will still rise to the top eventually, regardless of the delivery system. Anything that facilitates getting stories to willing readers is only a good thing.

Viva la independents!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Leigh,
I read somewhere that Ms. Grafton had backtracked and offered something of an apology.

Sure, there are books out there by indies that could stand some more polishing, but I've also read some AWESOME books by indie writers.

I went down the traditional road because I wanted validation from a publisher. I got that and not much else, which I why I've gone down the self-pubbing route. It's a lot more work, but it also carries a lot more rewards.

Interesting point about writing being the only art form that punishes indies. It's strange, but true, when I think about it. Yet more food for thought.

Unknown said...

I haven't read Grafton's remarks but I plan to head over and read them. That's sad that she feels that way. I, like you, have read many great books by Indie authors. Hopefully her feelings--still felt by many-- will change.

M Pax said...

Pooh on Sue Grafton. I chose the indie route because it fits my independent nature best. Most of us sure did pay our dues. Traditionally published don't write any better. They just got a lucky break. I think the hate heaped on us by the traditional pubbed is just spiteful. She and other authors should respect our decisions as artists to do what we think is best for our careers.

I could go on with a rant, but I won't. I'm sure it's obvious which side of that battle I'm on.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jessica talked about that this morning. If a writer has followed all the proper steps with editing and such, I don't see any difference. I'm with a publisher but I don't look at self-published authors differently. Actually, I think they might have more guts than I do!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

When will "indie published" be given as much street cred as "indie music" or "indie movies"? I think about 5 years, when there's a whole group of authors that went indie, never looked back, made some serious cash while keeping their artistic integrity. The number of "Slumdog Millionaire" type books will keep growing, and with them, bring the respect that they deserve.

Kelly Polark said...

I am glad the world is evolving.
I've read so many awesome indie novels. And some average traditionally published ones (and some awesome traditionally published ones too!).

walk2write said...

Maybe the traditionally published (the snobby ones) think of themselves as priests once did--the initiated, the chosen ones, set apart, and part of the brotherhood. Once you're in, you're in like Flynn. But now the Reformation is under way and is undermining that tradition. Hallelujah!

Lydia Kang said...

There's enough room in the world for both indie books and traditional. I don't see the need to be snarky about one vs the the other--in the end, we're all writers just trying to share our stories.

Anonymous said...

The world is always ready for another great story. Who cares whether it's traditional or indie. My two cents.

Laura Pauling said...

I'm very excited to be part of this revolution! And I love cheering on my traditionally published friends too! Just more books for readers; and as a reader, I love the options!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

There definitely isn't the stigma indie writers used to have. There are still some sloppy ones, but they don't tend to have any staying power. The ones who succeed and make a good name for the rest of the indies are the ones who take the extra step, spend the extra money and get a good editor and a good cover design.

LTM said...

@Chris--I couldn't have said it better! Great comment. And I love that comp to the Industrial Revolution. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Now to get the Luddites on board! :o) Thanks!

@Clarissa--I think change is inevitable. Writers are smart, and indie authors are getting better and better! :o) <3

@Liz--You're right! And I think that's the heart of it. :o) <3

Missed Periods said...

If there are quality indie books, which there are, it's bound (no pun intended) to gain legitimacy.

Talli Roland said...

That's very true about the punishing bit, although I do think attitudes are changing slowly.

Grafton's comments are very old school and rather ignorant, in my opinion. Plus, she failed to account for the thousands of traditionally published authors now making the move to self-publishing after YEARS of writing.

PK HREZO said...

Hey Leigh! Sorry it's taken me so long to stop by. Such a busy summer!
You are so right. I love that the stigma is starting to fade for indie authors. It's so awesome that there's an avenue for authors who work hard and don't have to wait for someone else to discover them. They're making it happen on their own. I'm reminded all the time that altho agents/editors may not love our work, there is a world of readers out there who can, and we have to know who are audience is.

Anita said...

I don't even think about it anymore. I just write...I'll keep trying to get books published traditionally, while staying alert about changes in the industry. Good luck with all your stuff!

Mark Murata said...

I'm not going the indie route, but I assume the successful ones who do have great critique partners or pay for professional editing. Unless they're writing fifty shades of smut, then who cares?

Janet Johnson said...

Interesting post. I'd never compared the independents across creative genres like that, but you are so right! I really think that the main problem is that there are so many who do skip those steps, that it's hard to find the ones who don't. But like Tammara says in your next post . . . people recognize good books.