The internet has changed just about everything, and the Indie author scene is no exception. While small groups existed before, these weren’t to everyone’s taste and definitely had severe limitations as to just how useful they really were. Now, while many Indie authors are still living on the outside, as it were, the internet has definitely given the whole scene a new look and feel, not to mention increasing the effectiveness of what now truly equates to a “Movement”. Of course, there’s another significant factor involved: the emergence of ebooks as a genuine option for readers. This combination of empowering self-publishing at minimal cost (ebooks) and excellent communications facilities (the internet) has created a true sense of community amongst Indie authors.
Personally, I now ‘belong’ to various groups. The top level of this is doubtless Goodreads, which is a social network for authors and readers. Goodreads also includes many groups, which I guess could be regarded as the modern equivalent of ‘cliques’. Some of these groups are, however, far too broadly based to be regarded as cliques. I, for example, belong to the Indie Book Collective:
This just happens to suit me! There’s no political foundation to it, or anything sinister!
The truly important point I’m making is that Indie authors are better off now than ever before. The superb communications offered by the internet has seen to that. The appearance of networks dedicated to writing, and others to bringing writers and their readers together, has made it possible for us to satisfy our love of writing, and sharing what we write with others. In a sense, we’re also in a position to challenge the traditional publishing industry, but that’s a potential trap too!
Yes, we can get our work out there in the form of ebooks but publishers can actually drown us out in the ebook charts by releasing ebooks themselves – ebooks, moreover, bearing the names of well known and popular authors! The reader can, thereby, be seduced to continue buying into the establishment’s view of popular books. Even by releasing a number of Indie ebooks to be downloaded free, we can’t overwhelm the establishment’s offerings, as they can combine offerings of heavily discounted ebooks and free ‘classics’.
But still we are, for the first time ever, a real community! What’s more, there are many successful authors in that community who are willing to help their fellow authors to achieve a good quality standard with a reasonable chance of some degree of success. I remember the disappointments and frustrations of having only two options – literary agents and/or publishing house or ‘vanity publishing’. I was fortunately never able to afford the latter, so never accrued box-loads of unsold books! Sadly, I did acquire a number of the infamous rejection slips… I feel fortunate to have seen the birth of new hope for new authors in the form of ebooks!
Whatever ‘evils’ unleashed by the internet, there can be no doubting that, on balance, far more ‘good’ is done. It is great to see Indie authors enjoying their share of that good!