As you may have noticed, there seems to be something special about today...
Is your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/MySpace (is that still a thing?) clogged up with indie author posts?
Well don't worry, for one day only, we're getting vocal on social media.
This is the third annual Indie Pride Day.
And this is the perfect time to find some new favourite authors, and to snap up all the goodies and prizes on offer.
I would recommend stopping by the Indie Pride Day Facebook party that is having author takeovers scheduled for the next 24 hours.
What am I offering today, I here you ask:
The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter#1) FREE to download any time, any place. (Amazon.com link)
The Lost Soul (Enchena #1) FREE to download at Smashwords for the rest of July.
What is #IndieBooksBeSeen?
#IndieBooksBeSeen was started by Mark Shaw (the author of Keeper of the Wind) on Twitter three and a bit years ago.
He brought together indie and small press authors with a new idea - we would work together to promote indie books in general and to improve the image of indie publishing.
Not everyone got it, and a lot of writers were so programmed to keep shouting "buy MY book" that we had to knock their heads together until they realised that this wasn't about selling books within the group.
This is about creating a strong group and a solid foundation that we feel able to go out and face the world, helping others up along the way.
I have loved the last three years, and I feel that I would not be in the same stage of my writing career without them.
I have four well-received published books; two short stories; a very popular blog and a fantastic following on Twitter.
It would be foolish of me to say that #IndieBooksBeSeen didn't have a hand in that. They have been a source of advice and support every step of the way, and I look forward to the next three years!
Oh wait, I don't hug people.
Why should I read an indie author?
Because they're too badly written to be published traditionally.
This is probably the main stigma. And in some cases it is true. There are books out there that could be the rambling nonsense that Aunt Betty wrote when she was bored Sunday morning; or little Sally wrote in the margin of her school book; or the story that Derek-down-the-road is adamant should be a masterpiece (and can't fathom why no one wants to read it)...
These still exist - anyone can publish a book for Kindle through Amazon - just look at the guy who published a picture of his foot!
And there are countless vanity publishers for those that "just want to see their book in print".
A) Agents and traditional publishers get thousands of manuscripts every week - no matter how good your idea is, it's a needle in a haystack. What are the actual chances that you will be picked up?
Even J.K. Rowling was rejected for years!
B) Where do you think ideas come from? Sure, most need polishing before publishing, but anyone that has a niggling idea can be a writer. I think that is pretty awesome.
C) It is easy enough to weed out the unprofessional books. Does it have a good cover? Is the sample that Amazon/Smashwords etc offer free from spelling mistakes and readable? Does it have some honest-sounding reviews?
Well, if it is a yes to all three, I'd say you have as much chance of being onto a winner as with any traditional book.
Because they are badly edited.
Isnt it teribble when a Perfectly gud story is ruined by bad speling. punctuation. and wrong wards.
I think it's depressing to admit that all the above actually matters to us now (my old English teachers will be thrilled).
The good news is there is a plethora of editors out there. And even the most basic Word documents have snazzy editing features. You can ping an email to your editor 5 miles away, or half a world away, and get a professional response.
And the minor mistakes even an editor misses can be picked up by readers. I have had several lovely readers pass on mistakes in my books.
The best part about being an indie? It takes about half an hour to correct the error and upload the new file for future readers.
Traditional publishers...? Well...
They are expensive.
Just seriously not true.
Paperbacks used to be much more expensive for indie writers, because they had to buy in relatively-low quantities and spend a lot of their time trying to push them into shops. Compared to traditional that could do a 5,000 book run and have book shelf space across the country.
But now there are print-on-demand options that means if Joe Bloggs in Devon, or Mary Sue in New South Wales wants a copy, it will be printed and posted in no time. Pretty cheaply, too. For example, The Shadow Rises retails at £6.99, which includes a profit margin.
Traditional books are just better.
If you really believe that indie books just aren't as good, please do two things for me:
1) Check out my list of Top 20 books that I have reviewed. They are awesome.
2) Get onto Twitter and search the #IndieBooksBeSeen hashtag - it's impossible not to find something that catches your attention.
Indie books and indie authors are awesome.
They are some of the nicest people you are going to meet.
Sure, there's the odd one that's rotten, but most of them are very chatty and friendly and love hearing what you think of their books (even the negatives!).