I don’t normally hop onto the trending social media bandwagons. I generally avoid getting involved because 1) I don’t have anything to say, 2) I don’t understand it or 3) I don’t care. Or all three.
However, over the last couple of weeks I’ve heard of very little else but Kobo’s antics with self-published titles in their UK stores, and the actions of WH Smiths. If I’m honest, I was too busy gloating over the fact that Vicki & Lara is available to purchase, to worry about other things happening in the world.
Short sighted? Yes. Selfish? Yes. So sue me! I was excited. I still am.
But reading up on some of the tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates has changed my thoughts on more than just Kobo. It’s made me think about myself and what I want.
If you don’t know what happened, then my advice is to check Twitter for the #kobogeddon hashtag. There is plenty of chatter there about what happened and what is still happening, so that should give you a pretty good idea. If you don’t have time to trawl through all that, check out this blog instead. A J Church talks pretty succinctly about what Kobo did.
Oh, yes, okay, go read it now. Go on…. I’ll wait.
Now… my dream, since about 16 years old was to find a publishing house willing to take on my work, publish with them and roll back and forth in piles of money. Or to swim through it like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin. Not familiar with Duck Tales? Good lord, what the hell were you doing with your childhood? Take a look at this.
It’s okay, go on… I’ll wait.
Good. Consider yourself educated.
Anyway, that’s what I wanted.
Then I grew up a bit and realised that making tonnes of money was quite unlikely in this day and age – I’m not that lucky – but maybe I could secure a loyal cluster of readers willing to read my words and share them with friends. I could maybe even pay a bill or two with what I made from writing fiction and publishing it with a traditional publisher.
Then I grew up some more. I began to understand just how closed and virtually impenetrable the traditional publishing world can be. First you have to write the manuscript. Then edit it. Then edit some more. Then send it to betas. Edit some more. Proof it. Send it to agents. Have it rejected a dozen (probably more) times. Land an agent. Edit some more. Wait for your agent to submit to publishing houses. Enjoy the rejections. Finally find a publishing house willing to take you on. Edit some more. And more. Lose all control over title, cover art and selling price. Wait for your pennies to trickle in.
WHY THE HELL DOES ANYBODY WANT TO DO THIS?! ARE WE ALL CRAZY?
Yes. Yes we are. Just a little.
The dream of being published has kept me going for very many years. It pulled me through university, a horrible and traumatic breakup with a significant boyfriend, family bereavements, the birth of my sons and subsequent exhaustion, the loss of my job. But if I look at that dream properly, I find that it was never really to publish with the Big Six. It was just to be published. It didn’t really matter how.
The explosion of indie publishers and ebooks has come at a time so perfect that I wonder if in a past life I did something really, really, REALLY good. In this day and age I can write something I want to write. I can complete all the above steps right up to ‘proof it.’ And then I can publish it myself.
Kobo’s actions following WH Smith’s reaction to the Daily Mail article and the subsequent fallout against both is like the world holding up a mirror for me; showing me that many others have had the same dreams as me and come to the same conclusion. We don’t need traditional publishers any more. Yes, I admit, it would be lovely to write for a well-known and established publisher, to have them at my back, leading me along (paying for everything) and helping me promote my works. But I don’t need it. Because I’m not looking for fame, fortune and buckets of £££s. I just want people to read my stories and earn enough to enable me to keep publishing them. That’s it.
I don’t know if it is the opposite effect to what some folks might expect, but this Kobo fiasco has made me more adamant than ever that I’m going to self publish. Everything. Not just my erotica, but Ileandra’s fantasy as well.
And the comedy and the horror and anything else that falls out of our collective brain.
Yes, it will be harder. It will cost more. It will be time consuming and painful and hair-tuggingly frustrating at times, but the big names, publishers, distributors who can pull stunts like this (and it won’t be the last time either) can’t be allowed to maintain their strangle hold. Because their priorities are different. They want money. We indie authors want to share stories.
Yes, I said we. Because that’s what I am. As me, as Ileandra, as whatever name I give myself now or in the future, I am an indie author and proud of it. I’m an author no less talented, professional, real or worthy than anybody picked up by a traditional publisher. I’m just less financially well off. :p
No traditional publisher is going to get anywhere near my books. I want to do it myself with the rest of the indie authors out there; cutting a new path through the wilderness of publishing. Give me a machete and some hunting boots! Though realistically, if one of those names seeks me out then I’m not daft, I’ll give them due consideration. But I’m not going to chase them down. Not any more. I have Little Vamp Press. I have you and I have my own will. I have all I need to be successful according to my personal definition. And that is all I want.
This is why, by the way, I’ve brought forward the release of the next book in the Meeting Each Other Series. You may have seen, at the top of the blog, a milestone countdown for Carol, Niall & Lin, the next story. There will be more updates on that as time goes on, but I’m pleased to say that this should be my next release.
Anyway, what do you think? Has this blanket bad-treatment of indie authors rankled you as much as it has several others? Have you been affected by it? What do you plan to do now?
I’m really curious about what folk are going to do and what they want to happen. What they think will happen? So please… open up a dialogue with me. Even if it’s just to tell me that I’m bonkers and that this reaction to #kobogeddon is actually slightly crazy. I would agree with you…. Not changing my mind though. 😉