I keep asking myself, "What would we do without Indies?" I mean, really, think about it. There are like a zillion indie books out there right now, mine included. Many of them are really great reads (mine included?).
I wonder how many people are born with the "writer gene." Yeah, there has to be some genetic connection to being a writer. We're wired for story telling. Something, from the moment we are born, is telling us that we have to tell stories, have to embellish the life around us. We write this cool stuff and try to convince others to read it.
Well, I'm digressing here. I wanted to write about Indies, those mysterious writers who lately popped out of nowhere in record numbers. Actually, we've been here all along, writing our little fingers to the bone. We've been making up stories from the crib. Yeah, that's not my poop in the diaper. The dog did it. Our stories started in the crib and have progressed from there.
There's a lot of controversy over Indies. Are we good enough to be published? Do we have something worthwhile to say? Well, of course we do. We've been writing this stuff down since day one. No one has paid us to write these stories. We just started writing and can't stop no matter how often the world tries to beat us down. Monetary reward has never been our thing. We just write because we have to write.
So most of us Indies have bunches of short stories, poems, novellas and novels stored on our computers, in boxes in our closets or under our beds, in stacks by the bedside, in storage in the garage. It's been said that everyone has a story to tell. Well, a number of us keep writing this stuff down, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Most of us Indies actually tried to get published through the years, but to no avail. I have bunches of rejection letters, most from my earliest years of writing. I started out with a published poem in my late teens. I was sure that would eventually lead to published short stories and novels. It didn't happen, but I kept on writing.
I remember one of my early rejections for a short story. It went something like this, "I love your short story, but short stories are no longer popular. If you'd written this before, then it would have been published." Huh? Before what? I've always wondered.
My first contemporary romance novel garnered similar responses. An agent said, "If I'd only worked with you from the beginning." The beginning of what? The beginning of the novel? The beginning of time? What beginning?
Somewhere along the way I got brave enough to let one of my college professors read a suspense thriller I was working on. I really trusted this professor. He'd read a couple of my short stories and liked them. So I figured, what the heck, let him read the first five chapters of my novel. Bad mistake. This professor slammed my novel, actually said it was the worst thing he'd ever read. Was I really that bad? Needless to say, I was devastated.
Well, I went home and gathered up everything I'd written up to that date, with the exception of a few poems. The short stories, my novel, writing notes, everything, went into a big pile. Do you know what I did with that stuff? I burned it all. Yep, every bit of it. If I was that terrible of a writer, then it all had to be destroyed.
Two weeks later my professor approached me and apologized. He said he'd been thinking about my novel for the last couple weeks and he realized that it really was good. He explained that he didn't normally read suspense thrillers, so he had a negative reaction to my novel. Only when he thought about it, he realized that I really could write, that I had a way with dialogue, etc., etc. He said I really needed to finish my novel.
Did I tell my professor that I'd burned the novel and all the rest of my writing? No! Did I try to rewrite what I'd destroyed? No! I considered it a lesson learned. Then I started on a new novel (one that is still sitting in a box somewhere). I've accepted the fact that everyone has an opinion. Some love what you write and some will hate every word.
Now fast forward by many years. Am I still writing? Yes. Did I ever burn any more of my work? No! I keep everything, all my notes, all my ideas, all my partials. I keep writing because I have to write. Oh, there have been years in between when I put aside my writing and turned to other things, like working a day job dreaming that someday I'd go back to writing.
So here's where I get back to the Indie thing again. Ask any Indie author and they'll tell you about their long road to ePubbing their books. They all wrote and wrote and got rejected and kept on writing. How can we not write? We have all these stories to tell, stories we hope others will read.
The ePub industry has been our release. After years of hard work and dreams our stories are out there. Many of these Indie books are incredible reads. If it wasn't for the ePub industry these books would still be hiding out in boxes or still taking shape in our heads.
Think of these indie books as little gems, little nuggets of gold. Read them, savor them. They may not be perfect, but they're glimpses into worlds that never would have existed if it wasn't for the ePub industry. Do we really want Indies to go away?