As an Indie author I am elated to hear others say that February should be "Support Indies Month." For those readers who still are not sure of the definition of an Indie, I will try to explain.
There are six big publishing houses and a whole lot of small publishing houses. Unfortunately, a lot of really good authors are overlooked by the big name publishers. Why? Because there are more writers/authors than the big publishing houses are willing or able to publish.
Until the ebook industry arrived, all those unrepresented authors had nowhere to turn to get their books published. Some were picked up by the small publishing houses. Others paid outrageous fees for vanity press publishing which generally resulted in limited exposure and very limited sales. Other writers just kept on writing, in spite of the fact that they'd probably never get published. Those writers stored up poems, short stories, novellas, novels, memoirs in boxes under their beds, in closets, in garages, in storage sheds and on their computers. Years and years of writing was stored away in hopes that someday those books would see the light of day.
So this is how the Indie industry came about. With the creation of ebooks, eReaders (like Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.) and Indie publishing (like KDP, Smashwords and others), Indie books became available. Amazon seems to have taken the lead in the ePub Industry with Smashwords and others following behind. I don't want to get into an argument here over who was first or best. I can only testify by my own experience that Amazon's KDP has been a boon to Indie authors.
Now here's where it gets tricky. Not all Indies are Indies. Many ePub books are backlists from authors who wrote for the big six publishing houses. Now that their book rights have been returned to them, they're ePubbing their backlists. So in effect, many big name authors are now also Indie authors. This is cool. As a reader, I love discovering old favorites being ePubbed and now available as ebooks which I'm rapidly adding to my Kindle.
Here's where I point out (every chance I get) that I love my Kindle, because it has the capacity to hold thousands of ebooks on one small device that fits in my purse. I think of it as a miniature library that I take along with me everywhere I go. If I eventually fill my Kindle to capacity (which I haven't done yet), then I can archive thousands more ebooks in the Cloud. Then I can switch the books around from my Kindle to the Cloud and back again whenever I want. Isn't that cool?
This is also where I point out that eReaders are a matter of choice. I happened to fall in love with Amazon books long before the Kindle hit the market. So it was a perfect fit for me to buy a Kindle. Other devotees of say, Barnes and Noble, swear by the Nook. Others (those with more money than me) swear by the iPad. There are other eReaders out there, so as a reader the choice is yours.
Now back to the issue of Indie authors. Some people (I won't name names here) think that Indie authors are inferior writers because they weren't published by the big six somewhere along the line. Since I'm an Indie author myself, I refute that claim. There are a lot of amazing, wonderful, spectacular, awesome Indie authors out there. Gee, I hope I hit somewhere in that spectrum, but you never know. Anyway, yes, some Indie books may not be as good or as polished as others, but all of them are books that you, as a reader, would never have discovered if it wasn't for the ePub Industry.
Think of Indie books as unpolished gems just waiting for you to discover and read. Try to overlook some of those formatting problems (believe me, formatting can be a bitch at times). Try to overlook the sometimes less than perfect editing. After all, this is a new industry and Indie authors are learning their trade. Just remember that it's the story that counts and Indie books are filled with incredible stories.
A handful of Indie authors recently decided that February should be "Support Indies Month." As I've already pointed out, since I'm an Indie author I'm elated that we should have a month of our very own. However, I'm also hoping this will grow into a "Support Indies Year." In the long run, I'm hoping that readers will finally accept Indie authors as welcome members of the book industry. Honest, we have great stories to tell and we want readers to enjoy those stories. So in the end, it's all about the readers and offering them every kind of story imaginable.So yes, February needs to be "Support Indies Month," but don't forget to support Indie authors all year long.