I’ve noticed this trend over time in the Indie author’s online community to latch onto individuals and give them the authority of a leader. Oftentimes, this leader isn’t really any more educated or talented than the masses that flock to him or her.
I understand the need to find someone – anyone – who can lead us through the maze of self-publishing, but here’s the thing that bothers me. Most of us are self-publishing to avoid the authoritarianism of the publishing industry. We could not break down their barriers, cross over into blessed territory and get ourselves published under their rules. Yet, the first time we get a chance to have complete authority over what we will publish, we look to others to make our rules, decide our fates.
We seem to hand over our future so easily. There’s been talk of creating a group that will confer a “seal of approval” on Indie books. Really? I cannot think of one single Indie author I think is qualified to make that judgment. Frankly, the publishing industry has done a piss-poor job of it themselves and they’ve been at it a hell of a lot longer.
Here’s another point. Over and over I hear about all the terrible writing out there, full of errors, etc. I’m currently reading an author who is absolutely fabulous, but his book is full of errors. If I have a choice between never reading his books and reading through the typos, I would easily choose dealing with the errors. This particular author has a very professional persona and I’m sure he doesn’t realize the book needs another edit. I will let him know when I’ve finished.
If we really want to elevate our profession, let’s tell each other the truth. Hard to do, but so worth it. Consider what a real friend would do. In my opinion, creating some board of approval is a chicken s**t way to handle it and on par with joining the opposition (the traditional publishers), just not as honest. Come on, people, buck up and embrace your freedom. Let’s not look for ways to shoot ourselves in our collective feet. Get better at what you do. Free marketers live by your convictions and give this thing a chance to level out on its own. You know, there has only been a large population of self-publishers for about a year and half now.
I’d like to believe that we are not lemmings – that we are courageous people, willing to take a chance on moving forward without creating our own aristocracy.