So the other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook (the absolute definitive source for foot-in-mouth syndrome) and I came across an author avidly defending a tweet in which she compared self-published literature to the slush piles of major publishing houses. This author spewed out about 24 paragraphs on Facebook to explain away a mere 140 characters on Twitter. I’m not here to cast stones, so I won’t reveal her name or go into all the ways I both agree and disagree with her. I will say that I was a little offended. She let the air out of my tires, so to speak. She also got me thinking.
You see, I like to indulge in the fantasy of comparing my own budding self publishing efforts to that of unsigned musicians. Don’t judge me. I like the idea of emerging as an underground artist having struggled to get my ‘demo’ into the hands of discriminating fans, most of whom obtained it at bass pulsating smoke filled clubs. Independent artists have ‘street cred’. They come up the hard way and they have a fan base that makes the industry labels take notice. Indie artists have more control over their work and the respect of their peers since they’re able to focus more on authenticity and less on commercialization. All that being said, the overall goal is to get signed. Because when you get signed, you have a money machine behind you that’s able to reach far more people than any unsigned artist ever could in clubs across the nation. The difference is that the independent artist doesn’t wait for the labels to give them permission to make music. They make the music, and put it out there to succeed or fail. Then, if they’re lucky, the labels come to them.
I’m not a musician. Please don’t get that confused. I was just momentarily caught up in an analogy that went on a little longer than I anticipated. But, I’m a writer who’s new to the game. I believe I have something to say that other people need to hear. I believe that what I have to say is relevant whether a major publishing house agrees or not. Self-publishing is changing the publishing industry in ways that have authors, editors, agents and publishers up in arms. Writers now have the privilege of putting their work out there and letting readers decide if they want to see more. Writers also have the responsibility of producing quality work that makes readers ask for more. Publishing power has shifted. More of it belongs to writers, however the majority of it belongs to readers; and that’s exactly how it should be.
Macklemore said it best:
Money, stay on my craft and stick around for those pounds,
But I do that to pass the torch and put on for my town
Trust me. On my I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T s**t hustler,
Chasing dreams since I was fourteen with the four track bussing
Halfway cross that city with the backpack, fat cat, crushing
Labels out here,
Now they can’t tell me nothing
We give that to the people,
Spread it across the country
So let’s put our pens up like the ceiling can’t hold us.
- Modern Day Geniuses (inklingofasylum.wordpress.com)
- The Major “Exposure” Of Macklemore And The Myth Of The Indie Artist (hypebot.com)
- Traditional and Self Publishing (ravenpierce.wordpress.com)
- Should self-published authors create their own publishing house identities? (therealjacquelinesweet.wordpress.com)