The Indie explosion has revolutionized the writing / publishing world. There can be no doubt about it. It has changed my life in many ways. However, everything comes with its drawbacks.
You will see a lot of people online talking about the negative impact this same explosion has had on writers. Sure, it has made getting published that much easier, but at the same time, it has become that much harder to be noticed.
I just completed an interview with T.W. Brown, and in it I broached this very same subject. In fact, it was his question that inspired this post.
I guess we could equate it to the pleasure-pain theory, or to be a little professional for once, let me reference Newton… Sir Isaac (as I am sure his friends called him all the time.)
“When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these action and reaction forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.”
or in layman’s terms.
“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”
The ease with which one can now publish their books has made it that much harder to get noticed.
The reasons for not being accepted before this ‘movement’ – to stick with a theme – would derive from a need to further develop ones skills, to better the weakest areas and to further strengthen all over. Yet nowadays, the reasons for rejection, on the scale of sales and review numbers is not necessarily based on skill as a writer, or editing abilities, but rather who can shout the loudest. In itself, this is fine, because I like to believe that those who have the true ability, those that do the grunt work, make sacrifices for their love of story telling will succeed. Why? Because good conquers evil, and those who work hard get the results. Those who cut corners will eventually fall behind.
However, the question that came to me today is, during this explosion, did anybody ever consider the reader and the effect this has had on them?
We may find it hard to find our place in the rankings lists, and feel out names are being tarnished by all of the badly constructed books out there, but what about readers. When it comes to picking new names to read, it was always a case of Russian roulette, but at the back of your mind you always knew that the work itself would be of a certain quality. Now however, there is just no way of knowing. It makes it not only harder for readers to find us, but it makes it all the harder for people convince themselves to give us a try.
This in turns I am sure could lead on to a discussion about the pricing of our books, and how the .99 cents mindset works because it is less of a gamble people have to make, but I do not want to get into that today.
As writers, we have a clinical eye, or at least we develop one. We are involved in things, and the names of those who merit a read are passed around. In short, those in the know are generally more advised when it comes to these matters. Those on the outside looking in a blind.
If I was to search Amazon (or any other book site around) I would feel completely lost by what I saw.
As the indie culture continues to develop, then do we risk pushing readers further away? It may sound strange, but the harder it comes to separate the wheat from the chaff, the more potential readers we will lose.
To this, we could all simply stand up even taller and shout even louder, but what would that achieve? Sure, maybe the reader could do some more research, but if we want them to dip their toes in the indie pool, there needs to be a way for them to find out where they should start.