We are, as I type, in the midst of a publishing revolution and therefore a reading and writing revolution. The invention of the e-Book has blown open the closed-shop exclusive, it’s not what you know it’s who you know, hope you get lucky world of traditional hardback publishing. Blogging has been challenging it for some time, with eloquent and erudite writers able to express themselves freely – in all senses. Readers are now able to access uncensored, unedited content – with mixed blessings but that is the price of freedom. We, as readers and writers have freedom at last to write and read things that truly inspire us even if they are ‘not commercial’. We can seek out themes and push limits of fiction and journalism without the ‘right people’ having their final ‘red pen to correct and censor our views’ say on the matter. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword and much of this free content is puerile, poorly written, derivative or dull – but (apart from poorly written) these are grossly subjective qualities. Sure, Indie authors are more prone to textual error due to the fact they are less likely to have been able to get professional proof-readers – but people who buy first editions will tell you that spelling and grammar errors occur frequently in popular commercial fiction too. However, freedom means we take the rough with the smooth and this sudden tide of writers will carry on its waves the kind of artistry that may well have been overlooked by publishing houses seeking the next million-seller.
As readers and writers we need excercise our freedom – download indie author content, read and talk about it. Post about it on social media, tell colleagues and friends – recommend e-books in the same way we recommend favourite novels. We need to stick together – without readers writers know that they are little more than diarists. Without new writers, readers are left looking at the back of the corn flakes packet wondering whether they can be bothered to reread Catcher In The Rye. This is the biggest revolution in fiction since the invention of the mass market paperback. We need to take the initiative and make e-books and indie authors popular and important – by talking about them.
To this end, and as a first step reblog this post and see if we can start a tide of positive awareness of indie authors.