Monday, March 21, 2011

Kindle is the iPod of Books

Sorry, I've been holding this in for a while, but man, I've gotta say something now.

The darling of the indies, Amanda Hocking, is about to sign a book series deal for at LEAST a million bucks with a major publishing company.

The blog article, as it was posted on Kindleboard's Writer's Cafe is here:

So now, I have to ask... does this make self-publishing a legitimate form of publishing yet?  Are they still the bastard children of the book world, relegated to Kindle Bestseller lists or will someone finally start talking about the fact that there are some great writers out there that are not getting published, that DO have an audience and ARE worth reading?

Sorry to sound snarky.  If it's a matter of me, well, I could care less.  I'm not the big seller here, no way no how(I've cleared about 500 total so far).  And unlike a lot of indie writers, I don't run around comparing the evil publishing companies with the brave, stalwart indies.  Let's face it, a lot of them aren't worth reading.  I've read them, I know.

But as a reader, I have to say, I resent the silence.  I do.  I've read some of Amanda Hocking's books (the .99 cent ones, since I'm on a tight budget) and they're great.  The kicker here is, I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Look at the woman's sales.  Holy Crap.  I think there are some NYT bestsellers who would kill for her numbers (not to mention the 70% royalty she rakes in, compared to the industry standard of 25%).

So now that she's going to be published by a "real" publisher, will the others who are doing well get some credit?

Look at John Locke, self-proclaimed .99 specialist.  His design is to never sell a book higher than .99.  Okay, that would never happen in the real world, I know.  But the guy is making it a big success and I think at last look they were ALL on Kindle's top 100 (I think they're even all in the top 50).  Are they worth reading?  They're cheap, but I certainly enjoyed Saving Rachel.

I guess it could be argued that he is selling so well because he's cheap.  Fine, okay, look at Karen McQuestion... totally self started, sells her books at a reasonable price, just got her book "A Scattered Life" optioned for film, and now she's been snatched up by Amazon Encore (their new publishing branch).  Wow.

The thing that cracks me up  about these examples... there are so many more!  I mean, when I wrote Six Keys and started my own accidental indie journey, I thought I was one of a few.  I was totally mistaken.  And not only that, but I was shocked to find out how many authors are selling well enough to make a living.  I was shocked to find out how GOOD their books were.

I think, as a reader, that it SUCKS that I didn't know about the good stuff sooner.  I resent it, I do.  I've read plenty of crap in the "real" publishing world.  There are several books I stopped reading, or didn't enjoy or thought, "How in the hell did they ever sell this?"  So why do we act like indies have nothing to offer?  Why do we act like ALL of them are crap, with typos and bad plotlines?

I want to be able to read indies at the library.  I want to open up the NYT bestsellers list and see ALL the authors who are selling well.  I want to read NYT Sunday Book Review and see indies get praised or slammed, based on the quality of their work, and not on whether they are part of a publishing house.  I want to read about indies on book blogs.  I want to hear about them being picked by Oprah's book club or others.

The only other thing I want to add, and then I will probably shut up about this FOREVER...

Let's remember back a few years... I'm going to pick 2003, because that is when I first noticed, really paid attention to, the iPod.  Does anyone remember when the iPod came out?  Before the iPod, when you wanted music, you went to Music Warehouse or wherever and that was the ONLY way you could access  music.  Unless you were really really trying, you never heard about the indie bands.  They weren't in major stores.  Walmart certainly didn't carry them.  Maybe you could listen to them on public access radio or whatever.  And if you were an indie artist, you just had to keep playing and PRAY a record company would love your demo.

Then iPod came out, and with it iTunes.  iPod did for indie music what no one else could.  It gave them legitimacy and a voice.  Because of iTunes (and other mp3 companies that came along and then Pandora) I know about Regina Spektor, Rilo Kiley, The Ditty Bops, Tegan and Sara, Butterfly Boucher, Keren Ann, and the list goes on and on.

I can't think of a world where we don't have instant access to indie music.  It would be so boring if all we had were what the major music companies considered marketable, don't you think?  All we'd have is Justin Beiber wannabes and Katie Perry lookalikes.  (Not to slam Katie.  Love her music.)  We'd have 3 kinds of music and everything else would be waiting around, hoping to get noticed and be the next big thing.  Instead, we can have whatever style we want and find whatever new music we like and BOY can we be specific.  There are music groups and artists out there to fill every niche.

This is what Kindle is doing for indie writers.  It's true and it's happening and ignoring it is silly.  I just can't WAIT for the rest of the world to get on board.  I want more variety in what I read and seriously, LESS VAMPIRES.  Because to me, vampires are the Justin Beibers of the writing world.

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