NOTE: Let me add to this post that I am a BIG FAN of indie writers and indie fiction. This post is totally pro-both! My hope is add to the discussion of how to help indies who are serious about their work compete in the market place and not be unfairly branded as junk.
Earlier this week, while preparing for Tuesday's I HEART YA Blog Carnival, I was dismayed to see that my list of exciting, upcoming 2012 YA releases did not include many indie authors. There have been predictions that 2012 would be the year of the indie author. And maybe it will be. Or maybe Amanda Hocking and and John Locke are anomalies whose success won't be repeated.
Are readers becoming more discriminating with their dollars? Do they expect a fully-edited manuscript even if they only pay a buck? One can hope so. There are some authors out there who tout the lack of a need for editing indie books. I've even heard it said that editing means nothing more than removing an author's voice. I won't make that an exact quote, but I will say I think that it is pure rubbish.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I believe every manuscript deserves to be edited, and no author can edit their own manuscript. The author already knows what happens next, or what the main character is thinking. There is just no way they can see the flaws of their own story. And you can quote me on that.
IndieAuthors.com recently gave four reasons for Indie Authors not getting respect. I suggest reading the full article, but I'll make a quick summary:
Reason #1: Bad editing. See above.
Reason #2: Quantity over quality. Boy is that a problem. The search engines will find you if you have more than one title. Solution? Blow through titles and get them out there. Mega-millions will follow. Just ask Amanda. Problem is, not many of us mere mortals have the ability to put out quality work in a matter of months. Even if we could develop and write a story, it takes time for beta-readers, editors, and formatting. Quality takes time. Always has. Always will.
Reason #3: Lack of Gatekeepers. This is often a sore-spot for indie authors. Agents and publishers have traditionally been the gatekeepers of good books. Now it is readers and reviewers, which is as it should be. The problem is that indie authors aren't always the best judge of when their book is ready. And there's nothing readers or reviewers can do if a book is put on the market too soon. A published book with more potential than polish is a sad thing.
Reason #4: Crappy Covers. I saw some beautiful indie covers last year, and I'm counting on seeing more this year. But since we do judge books by their covers, that's something every indie should take to heart if they want to be taken seriously.
It will be interesting to see where 2012 takes the new world of publishing. Personally I'm cheering for the indies--especially the ones that are polished and prepared.
What do you think? Have indies flooded the market, or are the best rising to the top?