Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Excellence Does Exist in Indie Publishing

I’ve read about 10 books written by independently published authors over the past month and I’m very proud to say there is quality to be found.

Let me say, right up front, my novel Red Mojo Mama, is not heavy lifting. It is fluffy, fun reading with perhaps a few precious moments. So, I’m not judging this from the POV of a “great author.” Not even a little bit.

But, I’m a voracious reader and have been all my life. Before I started tweeting, I flew through 3-4 books a week. Unless you’re an idiot, if you read that much you have to come away with the ability to recognize when you’ve encountered something extraordinary. So, far – that has happened twice since I bought my Kindle.

The first such experience was halfway through The Killing of Train-Man Brown, a short story by Will Bevis – available on both Amazon and Smashwords. Within the first few moments, I was invested in the narrator and seconds later I was captured by Train-Man himself. Drawing a reader in that quickly is phenomenal and extremely difficult to do. The tale then took me through a life – two really – lived in one time and changed by another. I was amazed, saddened and in the end heartened again by Train-Man – the man and the story. It was 30 minutes of pure joy.

Next I discovered Suffer the Little Children by Christina Carson. In no time, I was attached to Nannie and the child she takes on, Little Bit. How their story unwinds and the changes that come to the both of them are nothing short of gripping and magical. Perhaps spiritual is a better word than magical, but at different moments both seemed the perfect word. Carson has created a novel that entertains and changes the reader. You will become a better person, if you read and absorb just a small part of the world she presents.

I write this piece for a single reason – in defense of Indie authors. We have been bashed by the publishing industry – both originally as we attempt to gain the attention of an agent or publishing house and afterwards, when so often, the impression is given that this body of writers “couldn’t make it.”

This is SO not true. These are just two examples of writers that should not have been overlooked. I don’t know that they ever submitted through traditional means, but that’s rather irrelevant. The fact that I’ve read so much traditionally published material that is pure tripe supports the conclusion that Indie authors have nothing to be ashamed and everything to be proud of.

After all, we took a chance on ourselves. We made our dreams come true. And a few of us are incredibly good writers. Stand and applaud for Will Bevis and Christina Carson. They can be our standard bearers until we have a Academy of our own!


  1. Spot on! We don't need to let the big publishers decide what is good or important!
    Thank you for the book recommendations. Two more for my ever growing list!

  2. Hats off to you, Kathy. For I think over time more excellent writers got missed than got represented, that percentage growing in recent years when seeming anyone was entering the role of agent and becoming the gatekeeper. Initially,it was hard for me to believe I didn't need their approval, for I was a product of the old regime. But this brave new world has offered writers control and in the end the cream will float to the top. But now we all get an equal chance!

  3. I've been a fan of Christina Carson since the beginning of time. What can I say about Will Bevis beyond the fact that he is a Good, good old boy? And what about Kathy Hall? She's a hell of a writer, that's what.
    If you're going to be an indie writer you have to assume the responsibility of a legacy publisher - you have to write a good book, secure the best possible edit, format it impeccably, and then market it like you'd just given the author a million dollar advance. That's the path of success for indie writers.
    Yours to count on,

  4. I couldn't agree more, Kathy. My guess is that the surge of indie writing will make all such distinctions invalid in the very near future. We will all then be talking about good writing and poor writing and not worrying about how they were published.

    Martin Lake

  5. I couldn't have said it any better. Bravo!

  6. I love that you're saying this! I was one of the people who had doubts about the quality, but now that I've become "one of them", I've been more open-minded, and I've been rewarded by discovering excellent books.

  7. I've found some super stuff out there too. Thea Atkinson for one.
    I think it's too easy for people to take a pop at us; in most people's minds indepedent publishing is synonymous with the old vanity publishing industry.
    And yes, cream will eventually float to the top....I hope!
    The problem is simply that writers are being expected to have skills other than writing well( a rare enough skill to be honest) and get to grips with marketing and techie things.
    I have recently read a mindblowingly good book, by a guy called Andrew Meek. Quintessence is a very unusual book and is genre defying, another issue with indie books. Because people are writing what comes, not automatically within a genre, it becomes hard to place a book in the category that will find the most readers.