Thursday, January 29, 2015

So About That Term "Indie"...

I first heard the term "indie" as it applied to musicians. The whole idea of independent artists being able to create their own kind of music was inspiring, cool, impressive. They didn't want to be pigeon-holed or market-driven or lose their creative freedom.

It wasn't about the money.
It wasn't about the celebrity.
It was about the music.
Being able to write and produce what you wanted to do, not what a record label told you that you HAD to do. To fit in. To make money. To be mainstream. To be universally liked. Maybe be generic.

Indie meant unique.

How ironic that the same term in publishing has swung so very far to the other side.

Now that "indie" and "self-published" are often used interchangeably (right or wrong), I am seeing a trend that is sort of surprising. There are a lot of "indie" authors obsessed with money, rank, bestseller lists. They employ super aggressive promotion techniques that skirt ethical issues. Jumping on the bandwagon trend-of-the-day is commonplace. Instead of focusing on unique, original material, many authors are quick to copy other folks who are successful.

The term "indie" in publishing is losing that quirky, creative meaning and instead has become market-driven, money-focused. Pretty much the complete opposite of what I see in the music industry.

So I'm taking it back.

I'm proud to be's the best thing that ever happened to me. I can write about anything I want to--and believe me, if I had submitted my love story with 60-year old characters to a traditional publisher, it would have been rejected faster than a speeding bullet.

There is nothing wrong with writing mainstream and focusing on money and trends and marketability. It's a different way to approach this industry.

But when I see readers complaining about "indie" authors who just cranked out another 50 Shades of Grey knock-off, it bums me out.

I'm "Indie" in the classic tradition--and proud of it.