Indie Publishing is the new term for Self-Publishing. But don’t be fooled by that fancy name. It still means the same thing – mostly shite, with a lot of dragons and six-packs. And that’s how it’s always going to be.
That’s not to say that trad publishing isn’t also full of dragons and six-packs (and terrible writers). It’s just to remind you that there’s more of it in the unregulated world of digital vanity publishing. And, if you’re an indie writer yourself, you may be laughing along with this, but also thinking: “Yeah, but not me!”. Yes, you. Yes, me. Yes, all of us. Because taste is subjective by its very nature. And even the greatest books ever written will still have a 3% in the 1 Star part of their Amazon reviews. Stop reading this now, and go check. I’ll wait.
You back already? Told you so, didn’t I?
No matter how great you think you are a writer, someone is going to hate your book. Someone else mightn’t really ‘get’ it. Another person might just think it’s racist. It doesn’t matter. You can’t please everyone. And, unfortunately, the people you fail to please are always the ones more likely to take the time to bang out a review, explaining why you’re so shit. You should never take this personally. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how, as the old song goes. Songs from the late 90s are ‘old’ now, mate. Welcome to middle age.
I’m not just buttering your biscuit, by the way. It’s true. People get very cross if the majority likes something, but they don’t. You see it every day. And we can’t just let it go. We feel like we have to make a stand – to reach out to the rest of humanity and tell them just how wrong they are for daring to like something that we thought was stupid, had plot holes in it, or decided to portray Moriarty as a gay Irishman. Whatever it is, we have a platform now (thanks, Al Gore!) and we tend to use it. A lot.
That said, if 90% of your Amazon reviews are negative, you might just be shit. But you also mightn’t. You could just be way ahead of your time. Like early Bowie. Or Jesus. Or the Sega Dreamcast. You’re probably just misunderstood. Future generations will appreciate your werewolf & Frankenstein watersports slash fiction, and you’ll be laughing heartily down at the naysayers from Heaven.
Everyone who sits down and writes the novel they want to write, from the heart, with integrity (rather than looking at what the market wants and trying to create to order, I mean) is a good writer, as far as I am concerned. Even if they’re a really, really, really shit writer. Even if their covers look like they let someone with Parkinson’s loose on MS Paint. Even if I wouldn’t be able to get through the first page of their book without shoving a wet bath towel down my own throat and ripping out my own intestines. (Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of 24 recently). So, if you’re one of those writers, writing that sort of book, I salute you. I’m still not going to read your books. But I’ll download them when they’re free, and delete them a fortnight later. Because that’s what being an artiste is about – solidarity.
God bless all of you, and long may you continue to clog up my inbox, with your terrible hackneyed blurbs, and your stolen photographs of men’s glistening abdomens.