I was talking to a gentleman a few weeks ago about my books. (I always talk to anyone who’ll listen about my books!) As inevitably happens during this type of conversation, he began to tell me about his friend who also writes. “But he just self published his book.” He tells me dismissively.
This man didn’t know I’m an independent author.
For many people, it seems that there is a stigma associated with self publishing. Writers who have spent years cultivating a career in the traditional publishing arena cast a wary eye in our direction. We haven’t slogged it out the way that they have. Readers, as well, often are hesitant of our books. There appears to be this belief that if our books were any good, they would have been picked up by a traditional publisher.
It’s interesting that many people today don’t realize that some of the classics of literature, the pillar stones of required reading were once independently published because the major (traditional) publishers of the day wouldn’t accept their work.
Could you imagine your childhood without The Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter? Perhaps James Joyce should have never published Ulysses. Surely the works of Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Carl Sandburg, and Henry David Thoreau would have been better left on the shelf. And what about the social and political insights of such greats as Benjamin Franklin and W.E.B. DuBois? We certainly don’t need those anymore.
Everyone of these greats published independently despite what the experts said. They believed in their stories. They believed in their ability to write. And more importantly, they believed in their readers. They knew their readers would appreciate their words. All that was needed was an introduction.
The simple truth of the publishing industry is that it is a business. It is designed to make a profit off of every single product it produces. And books are products. If the powers that be decide a book doesn’t meet the required profit potential, it simply isn’t picked up for publication. It’s as much a business decision as it is a creative decision.
And that’s why so many people are now turning to independent publishing. Are all of these books destined to become future classics? No. Many will have limited appeal and may never achieve success.
But for those readers who are adventurous, independent writing can open up an entire new world of writing gems. Independent writers are not bound by industry word counts or genre limitations. We can cross the lines and create wonderful works that traditional publishers don’t know how to market because these works don’t fit into the preconceived ideas of success. And we can write for readers who may feel left out of the modern publishing arena.
You may not find our works on the shelves of your local bookstores. You generally have to order our books or get them in ebook format. Your library may not carry our books although we greatly appreciate you requesting our works from these sources. Most importantly, you may not find the next Twain, Kipling, or Thoreau but you can have a lot of fun while you try.