There’s another post going around on Twitter where a traditionally published author slams indies as being awful. I’m not going to link to it, it has more than enough views as it is. The post itself is generic and unimaginative, which is rather amusing, but not the point.
My point is the final comment that the author made. They said that indies do not respect the written word the way traditionally published authors do. Now I have two problems with this.
First of all, there is this thinking that traditionally published authors and books are somehow purer artists. They produce books of higher artistic value than indies.
I want to know where exactly that thinking comes from. Of course we know it comes from fragile egos and arrogance, but I mean at a baser more logical level. The idea seems to be that if a bunch of gatekeepers, editors and the like, choose a book, it must have more artistic merit.
The thing that’s conveniently forgotten in this little argument is that those people, those gatekeepers, don’t have art in mind when they make that decision. Art doesn’t even come close to factoring into that decision. That decision is made purely on the basis of which books will make the publishing house the highest profit. That’s it.
Do these authors genuinely believe that those huge businesses, with their rather healthy profit margins, are putting out the books with the highest artistic merit? Do they really believe these supposed artistic masterpieces just happen to make these publishing houses a lot money?
That brings me around to my next little issue with this statement: Readers.
At no point during these foolish and petty little articles are readers brought into things. They’re always about how indies don’t respect the written word, how they’re killing off literature, etc etc. What about readers? Books are written for readers. Stories are told with readers in mind.
Without readers these authors in their pretty towers, wouldn’t have anything. Yet, they don’t seem to give a damn about readers. At no point do they discuss what they bring to readers that indies don’t. It’s all about their apparent worship of the written word and literature as an art form.
Screw that. As an indie my readers are at the forefront of my mind. As an author I am here to give readers stories that touch them, that have a positive impact on their life. I’m not here to worship a constructed ideal based around how words are supposed to be strung together. I’m here to give people a sanctuary, an escape, a piece of hope and happiness, even if only for a moment.
I’m not interested in going traditionally published. I don’t want to give up my freedom. If going traditionally published means forgetting about my readers, and bending my art to be something that fits into a box that other people can sell for a nice profit, while worshiping this vague notion of literature and language as a pure thing – then I definitely will not be changing my mind!
If you need me, I’ll be over here creating stories that hopefully help people, and make the world a little brighter.