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Come Over to the Indie Side – we have cake!

March 19, 2013

Many will have read Writer-ly’s recent blog on the top 5 reasons to publish independently: and their reasoning certainly rings my chimes.

Rather like the tobacco companies, whose drives to recruit new smokers become increasingly desperate as their product kills off existing customers, traditional publishers are losing not only their customers and their outlets but, more importantly, their product (as supplied by us writers).  They do not however see the folly of killing off the goose before she has even laid that golden egg for the pancake batter. 

The ‘trad’ publishers blame both online retailer Amazon and the advent of e-books and e-readers as they weepily watch bookstore chains fold and their own profits shrink. Meanwhile, in Amazon’s shiny windows, a growing patisserie of Indie goodies sits alongside the shrinking  selection of trad-pub lardie cakes.  On that particular bring-and-buy cake stall, no big bakery has total control.  And the public like having a wide and varied choice of goods. 

In the current climate, the Trad publishers restrict their lists to demonstrably ‘highly sellable’ authors, thereby rejecting many writers of great future potential. They no longer offer big advances and insist on submissions being accompanied by a list of ‘5 big sellers which are just like your book’. Frequently, they throw out the baby and the bathwater. They are not encouraging innovation or fresh thinking. Perhaps this is necessary to fund those big, plush offices and big-lunching editorial staff.  So where is a writer of great potential to go?

Coincidentally, self publishing has never been easier nor the retail market more accessible – the non bookstore chain market, that is.  Those writers of future potential are now left with no option but to self publish and, once they taste the honeyed cake of self-determination and achieve sales solely through the quality of their product, they are unlikely to be attracted by the paltry biscuits on offer with the declining publishing houses. Literary luminaries such as Shakespeare, Twain and Hemingway historically chose to self publish and now we hear of modern giants such as JK Rowling forsaking the big publishing house and coming over to the ‘Indie side’.

Food for thought, eh?  Oh, by the way, if those guys at HyperPressTransCosmos Publishing are reading this, I’m just kidding, okay?  Oh, and that victoria sponge I included with my latest submission – you know the one that’s currently in your slush pile – is going to attract mice if you don’t open it soon!


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