It looks like we made it out of 2020 alive – all in one piece – none of our teeth are missing – and we still have all our hair (albeit whiter than it was in 2019).  I will bet my bottom dollar that we all welcomed 2021 with open arms.  

RRBC has landed in its 8th year of formation and we are so PROUD to say that!  Talk about staying power!  Well, clearly it lives here!

As we usher in a new year, we’d like to take this opportunity to first welcome Indie Authors from around the globe to join us.  There is no other community quite like ours, and our loyal and dedicated membership will attest to that.

Today marks the first of many posts that we will be sharing for you throughout the year, to learn from, and take the information and implement into your writing life, if you so choose.  We hope that every post proves to be beneficial to you in some way.

I received an email notification the other day from a forum that I subscribed to years ago, where someone inquired as to why Indie publishing was so frowned upon by the traditionally published industry.  I didn’t respond (as I sometimes do) because I wanted to tackle this topic here within RRBC.  One young lady did respond and I have posted her reply to that question below…

“You’re right that self-publishing is still looked down on by a lot of people. There are many reasons why—not all of them justified or accurate I might add. Common reasons I’ve noticed include:

  • The perception that self-published authors couldn’t get a traditional book contract (rather than they didn’t try), and therefore that their book isn’t good enough to be published.
  • The low barrier to entry for self-publishing, meaning that people can publish practically anything, and not all of it is of high quality.
  • The fact that many self-publishing authors don’t hire editors, proofreaders, or designers (because they can’t afford to or didn’t realise they needed to), leading to issues with content, language, formatting, and typos.
  • The reputation of traditional publishers—in having a very long and respected history—while self-publishing is still relatively new to the party and so is seen as the poor man’s publishing.
  • The marketing clout of traditional publishers in promoting their books, vs. self-publishing authors who struggle to market their book, and therefore it goes unnoticed by readers, awards panels, and so on.
  • The notion that you’ve made it as an author when you can physically see your book on a shelf in a bookshop, vs. when you can only download an e-pub version.

That said, as a nonfiction book editor, I’ve noticed that self-publishing seems to be looked down far less in the world of nonfiction than fiction. There’s plenty of respected self-published nonfiction books. I also think the tide is turning a little, and self-publishing will become accepted as the norm.

The sad thing is that I’ve worked with many nonfiction authors who have self-published brilliant books, but they still fail to get many readers due to lack of knowledge about marketing—while some traditionally published nonfiction books catch on with the public despite being pretty average.”

The comments to her response and also to the original poster’s question, were varied and wide-ranging.  Some were credible… while others were just plain ludicrous.

I’d like to make something crystal clear.  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB began as, and will end as, an Indie Author organization.  When we began back in 2013, traditionally published authors came knocking on our door and we decided to accept their requests to join, because I knew then, just as I know now, that they have to work just as hard (if not harder) than we do to get their work promoted, noticed, acknowledged, and read.

I quite often complain about the fact that Amazon gave everyone the right to publish anything – and that is where the problem lies – ANY AND EVERYTHING is being published.  It doesn’t matter if the book is riddled with typos or errors of every imaginable (and clearly noticeable) kind, Amazon says, “Hey, we can make money off of you, so, of course you can become an Author here,” which ignites the trickling of litter being repeatedly dumped on our literary horizon.  I take issue with this.

It is for that very reason that the traditionally published world looks down upon Indie publishing and doesn’t take it seriously.  It’s not because they are better, because nothing about being traditionally published speaks to that, and nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some of us are Indie because we choose to be.  I personally have never sought out a publisher or dreamed of having a publishing contract, and although I can’t speak to what I might dream in the future, I know for a fact that I’ll never go seeking a publishing contract.  That is by choice, not by chance.  Do I think I’m good enough to be traditionally published?  Well, since I don’t put the same amount of credibility or stock behind being traditionally published as others might,  I’ll just say this – I am good enough to be tagged as, and do proudly wear the label of being a Professional Author.  That’s a “real” author, Indie or traditionally published,  with writing talent.  A Professional Author cares about their contributions to the reading public as well as their reputation as a writer.  

Now, here’s my two-cents on the question that was posed on that forum (and we all know just how much I love sharing my two-cents):

Contrary to what some might believe, being traditionally published does not promise you a more thorough edit.  There are thousands of traditionally published books that sit on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and the virtual shelves of Amazon, that are proof of that.  I also know this first-hand because many of those books are in my own home library (that I’ve purchased from the shelves of Barnes and Noble, poorly edited and all.)

Being traditionally published won’t make your book covers any better than the ones I design on my own, and being traditionally published doesn’t mean that your books will sell better than any of mine.  Lastly, that coveted marker – being traditionally published is not the only way to get your books onto the shelves of brick and mortar bookstores.  In the past, two of my books have graced the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and of course, I am and have always been, an extremely PROUD INDIE AUTHOR.  (By the way, I didn’t go looking to get my books into Barnes and Noble.  Someone on the inside felt that’s where they belonged.)

There is one thing that stands out that separates my coveted Indie Author status from that of the traditionally published – I have TOTAL AND COMPLETE CONTROL over my entire body of work.  I make every decision just the way I want, down to where I’d like my commas to go, or how I’d like my paragraphs to be spaced, what I want my titles to be, and especially how I want my covers to look.  I also establish the costs of my books and  can sell them anywhere, at anytime, and however I please.  I’m not locked in under someone else’s thumb for something that I put in hard (mind) labor to create. 

So there!  Those are the reasons I am an Indie Author and I suspect my reasons are the same for many of you awesome writers.

RRBC is Indie-land!

We don’t promote traditional publishing here.  Now, listen carefully – I did not say that we don’t promote traditionally published authors, because we do.  We don’t promote traditional publishing.  If it is your desire to be traditionally published, we wish you well on that journey and stand behind your desires 100%, but what we will not allow, is for Indie publishing to be trashed, dismissed or diminished in any manner.  It is our way and it is our way by choice.  The traditionally published world has enough backing out there, so here in RRBC is where you can find that Indie backing and support that all authors, Indie and traditional, seem to rest and rely upon.  We have traditionally published authors who have been on our roster since the very beginning and they will share with you, they receive the same amazing treatment and support as our Indie published authors.

When I started this post, I invited Indie Authors from around the world to join us.  Now, since I have made our position clear, I invite more of those authors who are traditionally published to join us.

We are well aware that your struggle is equally as real as ours.

Until next time…