This was supposed to be a brief and jolly post, just enough to point you to this fantastic listing of independently published and small press books, available right now for your reading and gift-buying pleasure.
… but then, I was going to talk about #indieluv, as well. I don’t often talk about #indieluv (I usually just talk about books I’ve loved, on the basis that who published them shouldn’t really matter), but let’s break a habit.
You may have noticed, if you follow my links, and if you’re the sort of person who looks for this sort of thing, that a lot of the books I mention specifically, or that I remember to review, are published independently or by small presses. It’s not that I’ve got anything against traditionally published books, it’s just that I’m more likely to overcome my native inertia on behalf of the poor lonely friendless thing that is the newly minted indie-pub.
This is the point where you’re supposed to tell me that if a book was worth reading it would have been published by one of the big houses.
The thing is, I’m an accountant. Well, a student accountant. And being a student accountant makes me really, really ranty sometimes. The text-books talk a lot about shareholder value, and about how maximising shareholder value is the only morally acceptable course for any company director – not making a reasonable return, mind you, but making every last penny of profit they can. (My husband says that they must have misread Milton Friedman, but I’ll leave the philosophy to him.) I wouldn’t have such a problem with maximising shareholder value if it didn’t come hand in hand with the deification of Marketing. Now I’ve got nothing against marketing, as a servant, but it makes a really awful master, because marketing is conservative. Marketing tells you what people already like, and then tells you to make more of the same. Okay, maybe only bad marketing does that … but there’s a lot of bad marketing, and it’s got a loud voice. When you put this together, what you get is a lot of Shades of Gray clones and a fair sprinkling of celebrities writing perfectly nice competent novels that are wafted straight over the slush pile on the strength of their author’s existing profile.
I’ve got nothing against celebrities writing nice competent novels (and I’m prepared to believe that some of them write brilliant ones), and I don’t blame the big houses for publishing them. They’ve got a living to make. They’ve got shareholders to satisfy. They’d be barking mad not to use every tool at their disposal. It just doesn’t leave many slots available from the publisher’s limited capacity for great books from the slush pile, and that’s an awfully big pile. Of course great books can make it through the process. Of course great books are still being traditionally published. I wouldn’t say otherwise. I just happen to believe that there are more great books than available taking-a-chance slots.
So I’d like you to take a chance. Browse a bit. Yes there are indie-pub books that are unworthy vanity projects. Yes there are indie-pub books with inadequate proof-reading. Yes there are indie-pub books that have been rejected by every publisher in the universe, sometimes with good reason. There’s also the option to read a sample. And books that don’t fit anyone’s marketing template. And authors who never even tried to interest a traditional house. You never know what you might find.
If you start with Anna Meade’s list (here it is again – it was naughty of me to distract you from it like that), you might well find something to love.