I'm an indie author and I'm proud of that. To quote a little Twain, I've “... fought and struggled and succeeded...” to get where I am—which includes creating covers to editing to formatting to marketing. And I'm damned proud of myself for learning how to do those things.
I know about paying dues, getting passed over by agents, and I know about losing a contract and being left out in the cold in the publishing world. I cry when my book isn't selling many copies, I wonder what the hell I'm doing and of course I second guess myself for choosing the route. But when I got my first payments from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I was so incredibly proud. Aching hands, crossed-eyes, throbbing brain, numb legs from sitting too long, all of it was worth it.
I didn't make as much money as Jodi Picoult last month. Not anywhere close. I've been on a best seller list with a free story that everyone on Goodreads hates even though it gets good reviews at Amazon (go figure). I've never crossed that threshold with my steampunk romance novel The Treasure Hunter's Lady. But I still believe in someday. I could argue that it's because it's kind of an odd genre. That my fan base is pretty limited and I'm virtually unknown. Someday I could be the Next Big Thing.
You don't need me to tell you that in this day and age anyone can get e-published. Or that the publishing industry is on shaky ground. But let me tell you this: I'm glad I self-published and no one can take that away from me.
So when I read articles like this one, I feel like a dirty old sock with a hole in it. She probably didn't intentionally dis the indie author world, but still.
I've read Picoult. I don't have anything bad to say about her. But I do have a question (okay, more than one). Please tell me, Ms. Picoult, how long should I wait to get published? How many rejections can someone go through before they should throw in the towel. Answer that those of you who have rejections in the double and triple digits. You can only keep a brave face for so long. Especially if you're an award-winning writer. You can have lots of trophies and still get passed over by even small publishers and lesser known agents.
An indie author pointed this news out: Ms. Picoult has co-written a book with her daughter. It's true. Congratulations Ms. Van Leer. I know you'll be a success. I'm sure she's talented, I mean look at her mom's record. And Picoult points out how she admires her daughter's creativity. It's nice that she encourages it, I don't know where I'd be if my parents hadn't done the same for me. I'd read the book if it passed through my library.
But in the interview where she says, “Don't self-publish”, she's not standing on the edge of an uncertain publishing future. She has her niche and she's comfortable. And to be perfectly frank, she won her battle to get in with the Big Six, but it feels a little like her daughter is riding her coattails. I pulled this quote from the announcement to illustrate my point: “And I love knowing that parents who've enjoyed my adult fiction will be able to share an age -appropriate story of mine with their kids."
So whose story it is? Why didn't Van Leer venture out on her own? People would buy the book if she so much as linked her name with her mother's, because that's how people work. There's not a lot of need for Picoult to steal the spotlight the way she did with that line.
I think what bothers me most about the whole interview is the quote, “There's a lot of crap out there.” How dare a published author say that? Maybe I'm being sensitive, but all the indie authors I know have worked hard. Many of them are best sellers and they make careers out of what they do. To call books that are “out there” “crap” is a little strong given a lot of books published by the Big Six aren't worth the effort it would take to wipe my t'other end. I don't believe an author should ever call another author's work “crap”. Thank God we don't have to take that oath doctor's take. You know the one. First do no harm.