I’ve been having a nice chat with Francis Guenette regarding the long road of stigma and criticism to be overcome by the self-published author, individually and as a group.
The chat reminded me of my son…
and his passionate support of Indie Bands from 2004-2008.
His reasons for the ‘why’ of it all made sense.
He was a guitarist and composer with his own dreams…
But he knew he could contribute to the Indie Band’s place in the world just by being a fan.
- He spent his dollars on their merchandise instead of elsewhere.
- He shared his love of their music with anyone who would stand still and listen.
- He posted status reports at MySpace and pics of him and some Indie Band’s lead guitarist with their arms draped over the shoulder of each other, in camaraderie, during an intermission at last night’s show.
He, too, was playing a part in giving the Indie Bands their step-up in a world that still scoffed at these ‘no-record-label’ losers…
You see, at heart, we are a trendy, industrious, go-get-em culture –
Nothing gets a new-fangled way of doing things out of the gate faster than throwing some support dollars at it and passionate fans who ain’t scared to speak up…
If one or two self-published authors are dragging down a 5 or 6 figure income per year and one got a publishing deal/movie deal after she self-published – not quite good enough yet –
The local Library Collection Manager, the CEO of that ginormous publishing company and the Big Newspaper Book Critic will all just scoff and admit,
“Maybe those few, but they are the exception – most of those folks are losers who weren’t good enough to land a publishing deal.”
Nope, we gotta support each other –
I worked in a Library for awhile last year and I used to be a member of two book-clubs.
3 times a month I would sit with a group of people who eagerly shared the latest greatest, browsed the book-of-the-month catalog to pick their next title, etc., etc.
When I had to read the same book everyone else read, I managed to trigger some heated debates about how the author, while obviously well-researching the time in history she chose to place her story in, threw in too many characters and didn’t develop any of them enough and just how does she continue to be on the bestseller list for this okay-but-could-be-much-better stuff?
I quit one book club because it became apparent there were a lot of her fans in the club and I would be signing up to read at least 6 titles of her drivel every year….
When I was allowed to share my own pick, which only had to meet topic/era/genre criteria for the month…
They would listen politely to my report, then ask,
“Who was that author again? I’ve never heard of them.”
And every…stinking…time I answered,
“You can Google it – you can find their blog here, their website here and their Amazon Author page is here – they are self-published….”
The reply came,
“Oh..(insert snooty look) one of those….”
…and the tablet waiting for the Google search word to be entered, was laid down, with definitive, though unspoken,
“Shall we move on?”
I’ve always hung around with folks older than me. When I was 13, my preferred circle was 18 or more – When I was 21, my best friend was 42 – in my 30’s, the gals I liked best among my co-workers were in their 50s and getting ready to retire –
For the most part, my circle now includes those in their 70s or 80s – who have all worked diligently to learn to operate the Kindle some offspring or grandchild gifted them, but still hold on to the cherished notion that self-publishing is for those who aren’t good enough for the ‘real book’ world….
Most of them have a college degree – or a Masters – a few also hold a PhD….
To my way of thinking, they’ve been corrupted by the whole Academic Snobbery Worldview just a tad too much…
To their way of thinking, I’m just a young whippersnapper who will eventually see the error of dipping my toe into the cesspool of second-raters –
I’m out to prove them wrong –
They’re content to simply wait for Time to show me the error of my ways – because everyone, but me, already knows…
You Didn’t Know I was a Self-Published Author?!?
I frequently hit the blue “Publish” button here at Bally Bin… at my client’s websites – what other proof is needed?
I’m also, at times, the following:
- Press Release Agent
- Fundraiser Copywriter
- Political Campaign Web Communications Director
- Technical Writer
- Efficiency Expert
- Staff Trainer
- Policy and/or Standard Operating Procedure Manual Developer
Am I Officially Any of those Things?
Nope – not to the eyes of many in the world.
And to those who are are wriggling in their seats, fingers itching to hit the comments section and tell me why I’m wrong to use their label – how I don’t have their education, experience, public kudos and acknowledgement, etc. etc.
Two Words –
So – What?
I know I am each of these because:
- I often get stopped on the street to hear about how happy folks are with the easier to navigate, more up-to-date info on the local website.
- I watch staff members excitedly race to see who can clear out their email inbox of 1,562 messages the fastest, now they know how to label/archive stuff – and laugh when they discover they actually only have 3 things in their “To-Do” folder.
- In the past month, 3 fundraisers and 2 charity drives were very successful and I received a “Thanks so much for all your help!” missive
- I was informed the brother of the running-for-Sheriff candidate called, from out of state and said, “Hey! looking over your website – it’s great and it sounds just like you, but I know you suck as a writer – what gives? How are you doing this?!?”
- I’ve left behind me a trail of, ‘here’s how I streamlined myself out of this job” and “here’s how to do this” missives in neat, little organized training binders over the last 20 years…that I’m sometimes contacted for the original digital copy, because they are ready to go ‘paperless’ now…and lost their copy – or screwed up the Table of Contents formatting –
All I have to be is good enough, for what is needed, now and either know how or can do faster than someone else who needed it done yesterday.
I learn more, gain more experience, try out new things – every day –
Does that make me an expert in the eyes of the world?
No, but it fills a need, that people pay for, just the same.
Back to the Original Point
I consider myself part of the self-published author community – whether others think so or not – so, it’s my job to support the community:
- I’ll brave the sighs, eye-rolls, etc., and continue on attempting to educate others who are holding on to old/misinformed opinions.
- I purchase self-published works all the time – and don’t whine and cry when I ended up with a stinker – I have a change jar if I need it before the end of the month.
- I support the independent business community whenever I can, however I can – through purchasing, blogging about, linking to, or introducing two folks I think might be just what the other one needs to each other.
So there ya go – what are you waiting for?
Is the cover you designed for your book better than your story?
Offer to ramp up the awful cover of that indie author you love in exchange for some feedback on how to fix your innards –
Inform your book club buddies that what the visiting author said regarding, “You have to have a publisher” isn’t really true – introduce them to the wonderful grassroots world of the self-published community and why it’s oh-so-much-better.
Start calling your local Library Reference section, once a week, for information on how to self-publish – or about the tools to do so – or to locate a copy of your favorite Indie Author’s latest book – just put a weekly reminder in, say Wednesdays, at 9am – have your kid, your best friend and your mom pick another day/time of the week.
Guaranteed, it won’t take long before that librarian is saying at the monthly staff meeting,
“You know – I really think we need to start investigating this self-publishing thingee – I’ve gotten over 150 calls, just this past week – it’s a real and growing need in the community”
The library world may be suffering some growing pains while emerging from stuffiness – BUT they are all about meeting community needs….
It’s a #1 item in their mission statement – 🙂
And who do you think is trying to find their way past what the Big Boys want to charge them for offering an eBook section for their patrons?
Your local library is your best friend – and you are theirs – even if they don’t know it yet…
While you’re at it, take one of your wholesale-cost-to-you copies of your book down to your local library, find out which librarian is in charge of the book club that is relevant to you/your topic/your experience and offer to do a ‘Guest Local Author’ visit, at their convenience – and donate a copy of your book to their collection.
(Don’t forget to include your local School Librarian either, if your genre fits their collection – They love to stock their shelves despite having a small budget AND have local guests who share how it’s done)
Let’s See…What Else….
Oh yes, we’re just going to side-step the whole corrupted self-published label all together –
Kneel Down –
Yes, it’s a sword, don’t worry, it’s not a real one….
“For your service to the writing and reading realm, I bestow upon you the title,
Sir/Lady Indie Author”
What are you waiting for?
Check out the original post “Go Ahead – Take a Chance on a Self-Published Author” and then,
Don’t you have a call/trip to the library on your to-do list?
Acknowledgements: This post inspired by Indie Author Francis Guenette.