Is it The End for Indies?

Amazon has decided to move their independently published books to a separate division.  This is to provide “readers a convenient way to explore and browse some of the indie selection available on Kindle”.

In addition I noticed that Amazon has removed the tiny photo of a Kindle off of the majority of the book covers on their site, further dissociating themselves from independently published books.  I think it signifies the end of the indie free-for-all.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think independently published books are here to stay, and they are generally a good thing.  Now no agent or publishing house can come between us and our readers.  We turn our noses up at the mountainous slush piles on the editors’ desks and head directly to “Go” to (hopefully) pick up our $200.  It has truly been a revolution, but like any revolution some heads will roll.  In this case, it’s our own.

By introducing a flood of poorly produced books, we have signed our own orders for execution.  In the beginning I was excited by the flood of inexpensive books by undiscovered authors.  Now, two months into my exploration I barely bother getting any new books, even if they are free. 

Stories so riddled with basic spelling errors that a high school English teacher would have failed them are populating the shelves of Amazon and Smashwords.  Plots that have the literary consistency of yesterday’s lumpy oatmeal are being presented to us as feasts.  Character’s with all the depth of Bart Simpson are being paraded around like rock stars.  Reading, once my favorite activity, has become very much a chore.

When I was a punk rocker in the 80’s I spray painted my jacket with the A in a circle along with my friends.  Representing anarchy, I thought the idea of a lawless self-governed society was the way to go.  I liked it until I realized that most of us were incapable of governing a party without having major issues, let alone a society.

I would like to see independent authors continue expanding, but not in anarchy.  With carefully plotted courses and developed characters we can change the face of publishing to benefit readers and authors alike.  If we continue to churn out garbage we will only succeed in furthering the distance between us and ‘real books’.

More reading you might enjoy:

Kindle Indie Books

Why Self Published Authors Know Best (thx to Notes from an Alien for that link)

Self Publishing by the Numbers

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third generation Uchinanchu and an award-winning American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020.
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7 Responses to Is it The End for Indies?

  1. Marina Vox says:

    This makes me very sad to hear. I hope we, as a writing community, can build a mechanism by which we can know the gems from the garbage, but which doesn’t separate us from our audience the way publishing houses used to. Still even the publishing houses gave up on quality control a long time ago. I was working at a book store around the time the publishers started laying off all of their editors. Quality suffered immediately typos and failed subplots abounded. Perhaps they learned their lesson as I feel this has improved somewhat. Hopefully we independents will follow suit.

    • :Dandi says:

      I agree Marina, I think eventually people will realize that it’s not a get rich quick thing and you can’t spew out books with bad punctuation and expect to be a best seller. I plan to send my own books thru a professional editor as soon as we change countries and settle down.

  2. Amy Eye says:

    I don’t think this could have been said an more eloquently. AMEN to your perfect blog post.

  3. I hop it is the end for poorly produced books, but that cat is out of the bag.

    What I THINK may happen is that Internet bloggers are going to become that much more important. With all of the indie books out there these days, people are going to start gravitating to reviewers who can separate the wheat from the chaff.

    I honestly think that reviewers are going to develop a following. Forget the published reviewers from newspapers (which are going the way of the horse drawn carriage anyway), they mostly pander to well known authors from large publishing houses. The future belongs to the blogger-reviewer. They are going to be a reader’s first line of defense against bad indie books.

    Amazon’s further foray into the publishing world probably bodes ill for other large publishing houses. Amazon has the bucks to sign whomever they like and they control a large portion of books sales through their retail site. The war of publishers will be fun to watch.

    One GREAT consequence may be Amazon paying big bucks for successful indie authors to sign with their publishing organization.


    • :Dandi says:

      Good points Splitter… I like the idea of Amazon going after authors instead of the other way around. Like anything, in the beginning there will be a huge influx as everyone jumps in and then things will settle and we’ll still be here ;p

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