Indie Pride Day Musings

July 1 is Indie Pride Day.

Did you know that? Bet you didn’t.

Indie Pride Day, as far as I know, is a day where independently-published authors — i.e., authors who either self-publish or have their work produced and distributed by smaller, independent presses — can show pride. Not just pride in their work, but pride in what they’ve been able to accomplish in an industry that was once nearly impossible to break into.

The Internet has made several things easier, publishing among them. Amazon, as well as outlets such as Draft2Digital, have all but eliminated the middlemen and the gatekeepers from the publishing game, and the result is more people telling their stories for the world to see. Some will argue that’s not the best thing in the world, but I fervently disagree.

And not just because I’m one of the beneficiaries.

It’s true that publishing is easier than ever before; writers no longer need to query for agents and publishers and suffer through dozens of rejections just to get their work noticed. They can still pursue the traditional route, and I admire those who do for their tenacity, but that’s no longer the only way to get in the door.

That’s not to say being an indie author is easy. It’s not. I wrote last time about my frustrations with a lack of sales and other issues, but those aren’t issues unique to me, nor are they unique to indie authors (being traditionally-published doesn’t guarantee you anything, either).

Being an indie author is a lot of work; I not only have to write the book, but I’m also responsible for the editing, revisions, rewrites, cover design, manuscript formatting, promotion and marketing before, during, and after release…as an indie author, I’m so much more than just a writer. But with that responsibility also comes control.

I only answer to my stories. If you buy one of my books (which are on sale all July long on Smashwords), rest assured you’re getting exactly the story I wanted to tell, exactly the way I wanted to tell it. I control the timetable and the content, and I honestly believe my storytelling is better because of it (even if my productivity might not be).

That’s not to say I’ll never pursue the traditional route. I might, and there are several indie authors who also have gone the traditional route. But I feel a swell of pride in being called an indie author, because I know how much time and effort and care goes into being one. It’s no coincidence that since becoming an indie author myself, most of my favorite books have been from other indie authors. R.R. Virdi, E.A. Copen, S.E. Anderson, Darby Harn, Madeline Dyer, Kelly Blanchard, Mary Head…those are some of my favorite writers, they’re all indie, and I don’t know if I’d know who they were had I not taken the publishing leap myself back in 2015.

So forgive us if we appear to be thumping our chest every July 1. We’re proud of our stories, we’re proud of our fellow writers, and we’re proud that we’ve found a way to bring the stories that mean so much to us to the rest of the world. We may never have the name recognition (or the bank account) of a King or Patterson or Connelly or Rowling, but our stories are just as good, just as worthy, just as valid.

(In some cases, indie authors might even be better.)

Please support indie authors whenever you can, even if it starts with something as simple as buying your best friend’s new book. You might just find your next favorite book — but just know the book in your hands (or your Kindle or your smartphone or your tablet) is a true labor of love.

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