The Writing Path Less (WAY Less) Traveled…
Me and the fam had dinner at a friend’s house last night, and she had a very curious take on my writing.
She referred to the popularity of all things independent these days: indie films, indie music, etc. Basically, she explained that, for a lot of people, the “mainstream” (meaning Justin Beiber, Dean Koontz, Stephen Spielberg, etc.) is dead. There is a broad movement toward the “underground”, a sort of Internet/word-of-mouth network of traditionally undiscovered talent. Indie bands and films are popular, she explained, because they are ignored by the mainstream. The moment such an entity crosses over into the light of “official” recognition, they cease to have the same appeal with their cadre of underground fans.
Do you see an idea forming here? She suggested that, rather than joining the legion of wannabe writers clambering to get the attention of a fickle “legitimate” publishing industry, perhaps I should simply embrace my current status as an ironically successful independent author. Perhaps, many of my readers, despite their best wishes for my success, deserve an author who is “theirs”, and not a branded property of Random House, Little Brown, or Viking.
In short, what if I abandon the idea of traditional publishing, not because it is a lost cause, but because I and my worldwide readers might be better served by maintaining complete control over my writing destiny? After all, I don’t need to be fabulously wealthy to keep writing. It might even be a hindrance. I just need to make enough to do it For A Living. It is entirely possible that I could sell enough books directly to you, dear reader, to make that happen. Isn’t it?
What if I became the world’s first indie writer?
OK, I doubt I’ll be the world’s first, but let me keep believing that. It feels more dramatic. And really, how many indie writers embrace being independent on purpose? How many of them merely resort to it as their ego’s last stand?
Furthermore, what if that’s what I am doing?
Either way, it is worth considering. I am considering it. Are you considering it? Would you, dear reader, like it if I was always and forever yours, accessible to you and driven by you, rather than so wildly popular that I am nothing more than a name on the cover? What say you?
Indie writer. Indie author. Indie books. I sorta like it, I admit. It lets us fly under the radar. It keeps us in touch with each other. It makes the act of writing a very personal, almost intimate thing. And besides, no publisher would ever allow me to release my books free online one chapter at a time, which is a lot of the fun for me. If I keep that up, will enough of you actually buy the books to make it financially viable for me? Can I become the world’s first indie best-seller (and no, “The Shack” doesn’t count)?
It’s going to be an interesting conversation. Chime in. I want to hear from you.