Last week, the article in the Wall Street Journal, “Cherish the Book Publishers—You’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone,” created a bit of furor around the internet and indie publishing circles. I mostly talk about writing in this space, but since I am an aspiring publisher, as well, I thought I’d offer a bit of a round-up for those who are interested, as well as a few thoughts of my own.
Yes, the article smacked of pretension, but that’s not anything Joe Konrath can’t tackle better than me. It had a lot of misinformation, but that was refuted by Kristine Rusch. I subscribe to a great site by writer, David Gaughran (who I can thank for the Rusch link) and he also chimed in with some great points about all the positive developments for readers and writers in this era of indie publishing.
I wanted to link to these articles to give you a little perspective on the whole indie publishing phenomenon (which isn’t all that much of a phenomenon if you ask me, it’s been around for a while.) I’d also like to add that my husband and I are both independent artists. He’s a filmmaker, and I was bitching on twitter about him leaving this weekend to go film a documentary in Omaha, but really, I’m ridiculously proud of him and his work.
Why do I bring this up? (I’m past the bitching now.)
Well, it’s always struck me as rather absurd that indie filmmakers and musicians are afforded a level of respect and admiration from the artistic community that indie writers are still struggling to attain. Why is this?
I’m genuinely baffled. Do we actually think the industry that gives book deals to television phenomenons and failed politicians is some sort of guardian of artistic enlightenment? Haven’t people working in the publishing industry said for years that they deplore how much quality work is going unpublished because of economic constraints?
Honestly, I don’t even understand why anyone thinks it’s a big competition. I think Eric Felton, when he wrote in the WSJ, was completely wrong in at least one thing. Book publishers aren’t going anywhere. There will continue to be writers who prefer working with a big publishing house just like there are actors, directors, and musicians who prefer the resources of larger studios.
But let’s give a little respect for growth!
Publishing isn’t a dying industry, it’s a growing industry. And there’s plenty of room for everyone. There is room for traditionally published writers (both great and horrible) and room for writers who, for a myriad of reasons, choose to publish independently. This is not the death of anything except a monopoly!
And that, my friends, is amazing and exciting and worthy of lots of articles being written in all sorts of forums.
But let’s skip the pretension, shall we?