Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
About ten years ago—God I really am getting older—something changed in the world of music. YouTube was born and around that time, iTunes became popular. This changed the face of music forever. Suddenly, indie bands no one had heard of (possibly for lack of being able to seal a deal or lack of trying to get a deal, or even lack of relatives in the music business to get them a deal) started popping up everywhere.
I would not have written The Lonely without Bon Iver, one of my fave indie bands.
But instead of saying, “Hey good job!” to those indies, mainstream music tried to make it sound like a phase, something that was going nowhere.
Poo was flung here and there.
Indies were labeled garbage garage bands that couldn't get labels, or who didn't even try to make real music, and blah, blah, blah.
Mainstream musicians shit all over the indie artists we know and love.
Well, I don't know about you, but for me, since indie came out, that's been my main source of music. I adore indie artists. The music is more unique, less cut and dried to fit into a box that will sell to the masses.
It isn’t some Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus bullshit music that is force-fed to us with fake publicity stunts we are supposed to believe were not fully intended to get downloads and hits on YouTube.
No. Bon Iver and The Lumineers are not dry humping each other or sticking foam fingers where they ought not go for hits on YouTube. They are making beautiful music that inspires me on a daily basis and makes me respect them even more for it.
When I put The Lumineers, Ho Hey in my book Born nearly two years ago, very few knew who they were. When the song hit mainstream, I started getting hordes of emails about how the song made people cry in their car thinking about Will.
That was an indie song. That love you felt from that song came from an indie book.
Now we get to the bread and butter of this post.
When indies owned the bestsellers ranks last summer, (I know I had two books that were top ten in the world for weeks) we were the majority of bestsellers in most genres. But slowly authors started vanishing from the rank of indie.
Suddenly, those indies who had vanished came up as the newest signed kid on the block in the big six.
It was great news for them, they chose their fate.
That is the best part of being indie—choosing.
Houses were snapping up anyone who made the lists or sold 10k a week or more. It was a fun time to be indie. I felt special.
We were offered fun things like being hybrids and better royalty rates.
Then suddenly something changed. The world of writing started to get dark. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry had an opinion of how wrong it was to be indie.
I heard it everywhere I went.
Facebook status wars, Twitter poo flinging, Instagram hate photos.
Mean comments like:
-Everyone can write a book and self-publish.
-Indies slap a book together and publish it with very little work.
-Indies don't work as hard as trad-pubs.
-Indies are the McDonald’s of the literary world.
-Indie are self-indulgent (secretly my fave)
-Indies are all unpolished and fairly bad writers.
So what does that make the readers of indie, I ask?
Are the people who love indie books second-class citizens? Are they dragging their knuckles about on the floor and drooling everywhere they go, for lack of the brainpower to stand upright and buy a paperback from Barnes and Noble.
I believe to make broad statements like those ones, you have to be very certain that you are very perfect.
Yes, you read that correctly. I want to see perfection from the naysayers of the world.
I expect anyone who calls me a second-class citizen had best be squeaky fecking clean. They better be so perfect it makes me a little nauseated.
Because I read indie all the time.
I don't think it makes me less intelligent. I don't think it means I exclusively shop at Walmart. Truth be told, I actually get anxiety attacks in Walmart. It is just too much stuff—I get spazzy and freak out. And another thing, who cares who shops at Walmart or not? When did buying things on sale become tacky? When did getting a good deal on a book become tacky?
My mom goes to Walmart every Friday. You don't want to tell her she’s second-class.
Le sigh, I am digressing. I do that a lot. It’s the WADD.
Anyway, my favorite indie authors are a random and weird list, generally people I like.
But whether I like them or not, I don't judge their books—mine are not perfect.
Authors rating and reviewing other authors works is a murky pond I dare not step into.
Who the feck am I to say whether a book is good or not?
What do I know?
Am I bloody Shakespeare?
Are my books so perfect that I dare write bad things about others’ books?
For me reviewing other people’s work is a hard pass.
I can’t talk shit about anyone else’s work, because I don't know shit. I know what I write. I know what I like. Who cares what I think? Not me.
But again, that's a personal choice.
I made a personal choice to stay indie several times this last year.
Contrary to popular belief, I do not slap my books together. I write them, I rewrite them. I edit them. I back edit them. I give them to beta readers who hate them so I fix that. Then I give them to an editor who redoes everything I just did, twice.
I get my covers made by the same people who are with the big six publishers.
I am now employing a second back editor.
And because we all feel like we have learned a feck of a lot in the last year and half that I have been an author, we are taking the summer off and rewriting all my prior books. All of my books, with the exception of the latest couple, will be getting a rewrite. I think I could have done better. At the time? No. Now—yes.
I have learned so much in the last year and a half, it’s sort of scary.
My flow is better. My vocabulary is better, though I still punk my books with my mad urban dictionary skills. Today I learned that an “airplane bath” is when a guy does a quick wipe of his pits and groin with a wet facecloth before going out for the night. Ladies take notice, not everything is as clean as you think it might be!
So my thoughts on the indie versus trad-pubs are this:
We can all benefit from a share and a like, regardless of our status in the book world.
We can all choose to be kind or be asshats, it's a personal choice. I choose kindness, but I won’t lie, some days I’ve worn my asshat. No one is perfect or evil all the time and that one screen shot you saw of their hissy fit is not who they are. Until you are perfect don't judge others for their hissy fits.
Today I am carb starved. I could get out of hand.
We can all benefit from support. The gossiping, backstabbing, cruelty, lying, and God knows what else, needs to stop.
If we were in an actual room with each other, we would all be crying and hugging.
Let’s be real.
I say we try to stay classy, say nice things and act as if this were a work place.
Remember the old adage, “Don't shit where you eat!” This is my workspace and I eat because of it.
Thank you to my readers for sticking it out with me; we second class citizens have done quite a lot this last year and a half, and I love you all for allowing me the space to grow in. I feel like I am blossoming, and I have you to thank for it!