Indie Baby

Thursday, August 28, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-



I used to be a nut studying trends in the movie industry. I used to record the Oscars to see what was popular in the voter's minds (that didn't last long, believe you me) but my Oscar night was the Indie Spirit Awards. I always looked forward to movies and entertainers that weren't talked about by the mainstream. I loved the laid back look of the attendees and the cool, relaxing Santa Monica beach tents that hosted the ceremonies. After awhile I stopped watching movie trends and migrated to books shortly before I dove in to writing professionally.

I've been sensing an awesome trend in the blogosphere lately. Zoe has been posting a wonderful sequence of blogs on going indie. IndieBound.org is finally open with a huge group of book lovers and independent bookstore lovers striving to keep the stores open amidst the giant corporate takeovers (sounds like a Tom Clancy movie) and one of my favorite directors, David Lynch, has taken the indie road with his latest film, documentary and book. It's indie, baby, and I'm so jazzed to see so many avenues of alternative publishing being available for authors to bring their work to readers.

If it's anything I learned while studying this industry is that: 1)nothing is a sure thing, 2) almost everything is subjective and 3) focus on writing the best story you can. I, for one, can't wait to see how far the options will open up for us authors in the near future.

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8:12 PM delete

I agree with you. The viewers and readers are fickle. You never know what's going to become the next hit thing. It's best to focus one's energies in writing the best story one can, and feel proud for doing so.

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Heather
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8:27 PM delete

I agree, much of the most exciting art endeavors (books, film, music, etc.) come from truly independent sources. Love the shot of David Lynch--his work is on my keeper shelf.

I commented on the May 24(!) post, but I wanted to stop by here as well and extend my thanks for adding The Galaxy Express to your blogroll. I will return at a more sane hour and peruse your site at length. It looks exciting!

Take care, and thanks for supporting TGE!

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Rae Lori
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11:55 PM delete

Definitely Tempest! And it's a definite treat for the reader with all sorts of different stories coming out. I know I'm having a ball discovering new authors myself. :-)

Hey Heather! Thanks for stopping by (hope you enjoy the site!). Sorry I missed your earlier comment (eek!) I'll have to dash back and respond. It's always great to meet a fellow Lynch fan (his brain is so awesome hehe). Happy to add you on the blogroll. I love that TGE merges my two fave genres: the speculative and romance!

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Heather
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11:50 AM delete

I only just left the comment the same day as the first one here, so don't sweat it!

I agree, they don't build 'em like Lynch anymore.

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Zoe Winters
AUTHOR
12:03 PM delete

Hey Rae, great post! Because of low entry barriers now to publish something, I think in some respects it might get a little worse before it gets totally better. Since so much crap is put out by indie authors when it comes to books now, there is going to continue to be probably a Sharks vs. the Jets syndrome going on with the "real pubilshed" and "fake published" writers.

because being published by a traditional house is a status symbol that few want to give up. To even contemplate the idea that it's truly just as valid to go indie, and that over time, if you've written books that connect with readers and brushed up your marketing skills, you can do just as well for yourself.

I think the odds are so bad for indie authors in large part because most don't have a head for business. One has to know how to run a business, and how to market, and be able to be wise enough to know where to spend their money. And a good cover is definitely one of the places you want to spend it. Unless one is themselves personally a professional graphic designer like Jeremy Robinson.

Or they want to hire out for interior layout, unless they're a whiz at that sort of thing and have a strong eye for fonts and what looks clean and most readable on a page.

There are so many little decisions along the way and an indie has to be REALLY sure of what their strengths and weaknesses are. And learn to exploit one's strengths, while lessening one's weaknesses by the people they put around them to help in those weaker areas.

With going indie, you call all the shots, so there is no one true way, but if you screw up some where, it's all you. I'll never be able to say: "Well my publisher gave me a bad cover design" or "Well my publisher didn't get me wide enough distribution" etc.

It's all on me. I think for some the comfort of the blame game is too high a price to pay to go it alone. And I think some people know they aren't business minded and have no interest in becoming so.

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Rae Lori
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3:55 PM delete

Hey Zoe! Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback.

That's so true. There are a lot of factors in going indie, many of which make it a business with in itself. Some don't want to go the route because they feel much of that behind the scenes can be used writing. So they try to get repped or pubbed the 'traditional' way which is cool.

Like you said the person going in has to have a head for business and marketing all that entails going from taking your written manuscript into the hands of the readers which is definitely a lot harder than it sounds.

I do think it's a great experience for one to go through because that's probably one of the best ways to learn about the publishing business and what your book goes through after it leaves your hands into the publisher or agent's hands. The industry is changing in a lot of ways and many of the big pubs have started to adapted because they know they have to keep afloat. Tor and Harlequin have my props because of this.

I have a feeling the gates are going to get tighter if the economy continues this way because the amount of books produced are probably going to be cut. It's good to know that there are still other ways for authors to get their work out. But I think the rules remain the same for authors going traditional or self pubbed: do the homework and know what one is getting into before committing oneself.

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