Friday, March 23, 2012

Pride, and Prejudice: An Indie Author's Plight

My grandmother often said that the poor "had nothin' but pride." She didn't mean it in a demeaning way. What she meant was that even though they may have difficult circumstances, heads were still held high, and no matter how little they had they were strong enough to fight for a better life.

I view indie authors the same way. We have no marketing department, no publicist, no editor under roof, or webmaster. We are rarely touted in great literary journals. And while most of us have full-time careers in other fields, we still manage to write, and we find time to reach out to others and market. We fight to share our stories with the world.

While pride is prevalent, unfortunately so is prejudice. I love that readers and bloggers are willing to embrace indie stories, but sadly, staunch conventionalist are not. They use words like "trash" or "vomit" when describing indie work. They scoff, lumping authors not published by established houses as frauds and shysters. I've always thought that writers were some of the most open-minded and intelligent people I know. But recently I've read a slew of articles by established writers which serve as a reminder that even the most intellectual minds can succumb to prejudice.

It's true that some people write slop and throw it on the market to see what sticks. I resent being lumped in with them. I think we can all agree that there are stories out there that have massive plot holes, hideous grammar, and weak, flat characters. And while the ease of Amazon, Smashwords, and Create Space has has flooded the market with new books, we shouldn't assume that they are all substandard.

I guess years of teaching has taught me to never assume a thing. Every child that is free and reduced lunch is not below grade level. Every child that comes from an upper class neighborhood is not spoiled. Every two parent home is not happy. And every indie book is not crap.

I know I am preaching to the choir, it is my hope that if indie writers continue to have pride in their work the world will become less prejudice.