That’s not a kneejerk yeah well you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny response. Ask any writer, traditionally published or indie, our books are the children of our brains, and we’re protective of them.
A traditionally-published writer puts that baby into the hands of professionals who whisk it away, do cosmetic adjustments, dress it, raise it, choose its schools, and, sometimes, hand it back after a while saying hey, we’re as sorry as you are, but the kid ain’t gonna cut it. Of course quite often (not always) the kid does good and the publishers are yammering at the door – make more babies. Fast. One a year. Go go GO.
Traditionally-published book-parents are proud to the point of arrogant about their progeny being Chosen, and they are enraged when an indie book baby does better than their own Improved By Professionals offering because it just isn’t fair. The indie parent had all the fun of producing exactly what they wanted, AND success?
What generally happens is they write scathing blogs, as Laurie Gough did with ‘Self-publishing is an insult to the written word’. No idea who peed in her cornflakes, but she’s cross. She thinks indies bash out a book in 24 hours, read it through once and think ‘good enough’ and publish.
I’ll not lie to you, I sometimes wonder myself. Book parents do range from the over-processed squeeze-it-into-a-fashionable-mode through to those who pop out a book in a week and stick it out into the world in a dirty nappy, snot running down its virtual face.
But not all, Laurie Gough. Not all. Some work on their books as hard as you do. They write them, rest them, edit them, polish them, send them to beta readers, edit and polish again, send them for professional editing, they find the money and they pour it in willingly and only then do they publish. For an indie, that’s just the end of the beginning. There’s no handing over. There’s placing the book in the right places, trying to find the right readers.
There’s no easy publisher-provided dollop of paid reviews, no publisher-provided salesperson working the shops, nothing on tap. Just a writer and a book, trying to make it in a largely indifferent world.
So when an indie does make it, when their readers loyally buy every book they put out, when they make a tiny niche for themselves in a giant market – suck it up, Laurie Gough. Don’t be ugly, because it makes you look ugly.
If no-one could ever sing unless they had a record contract, there’d be no live entertainment in pubs, no bands entertaining parties, no wedding singers. Buskers, eek. You’d shoot them on sight.
If no-one ever offered their art without a professional contract with, random example, an advertising agency, this would be a poorer world. The professional artists do a slick, pleasing, and efficient job, but the life and vitality poured straight from the artist’s eye into your brain, that’s the real deal. Love it or hate it, from piece to piece, you deserve the choice. Van Gogh wasn’t to public taste in his whole lifetime. Laurie Gough would completely approve of that. If he couldn’t find a dealer to handle his stuff, he was obviously useless. QED.
What if no-one ever had a baby unless it had been commissioned with high expectations and a mapped-out future? Well, there’d not be 7 billion people on this planet, for sure. Yes indeed, we tend to be ruled by the elite who were propelled expertly through the system into the top jobs. And yes, some babies are a complete waste of space – for the most part, they live and die and their lives make very little impact. Sometimes, though, the elite fail horribly, and sometimes the great unwashed change our lives. Actually, very few inventions, very few of the things that change our world, ever came from the stuffed shirts taught how to think and behave from the start.
To be validated by a money-machine that sees potential for profit in you is wonderful, well done Laurie Gough.
To be validated by loyal readers is better. Had a look at your book sales. Hope they pick up soon, and soothe that anger of yours.