Going to live shows and internet exploration allow music fans to discover talented artists within their communities and from around the world. Indie music has gone hand in hand with the development of the internet. Bands and individual artists can share and sell their music online, and big companies, like Apple, Amazon, and Google, have enabled musicians to reach global audiences who want to download music.
It's easy for a person to sample almost any indie artist and make a decision about whether or not he or she likes the music. Within a couple minutes, a person can judge if the sound is pleasing or not.
It's not so easy for indie authors. It takes time to evaluate a book's potential. Usually someone wants to read at least one chapter, which could take several minutes or even an hour.
For this reason, I think it's harder for authors to market their work online. We don't have sound bytes to share. Someone might be browsing online during a work break and not have time to read an excerpt. And authors can't really put on live shows like musicians can. Yes, an author can do a reading at a bookstore or other venue and perhaps attract maybe a dozen people. Contrast this to almost any gig at a bar where musicians can potentially be seen by scores of people, maybe even a hundred. More successful groups can do shows at venues that seat thousands.
All indie artists struggle though. Musicians might even make less money than authors. Too many people only want free downloads. Even when they love the entertainment, they attach no value to the hours and years that the creators put in to it.
This reality makes that minority of people who genuinely appreciate good content and pay for it of even greater importance. Reaching them is the goal, and it's a difficult one.
Indie Fiction Rocks Too
If you appreciate indie music but have yet to try indie fiction, it's easy to expand your choices. Apple iBooks is available just like iTunes. Thousands of indie authors give away and sell their stories there.
To start finding new authors that you'll never see in a bookstore but who may be very talented, start surfing around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus. Search for terms like "indie authors" or "indie books" within your favorite genres.
When you find authors that interest you, seek out their ebooks at iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, Nook, and Google Play. Many of them will even have free ebooks. Most ebooks will be priced under $5.
Most indie authors produce paperbacks of their novels too. The company Createspace integrates with Amazon. This print-on-demand service allows indies to create books at competitive prices.
Why Seek Out Indie Authors?
Just as with music, a lot more talent exists than there are large corporations that wish to produce it. Mainstream producers and publishers want content that will have broad appeal. They'll take few risks on anything different, and they'll be especially adverse to content that might veer from mainstream views.
The publishing industry in particular is very cemented to the status quo. You might not think this applies to fiction, but consider the point of view offered in this Salon article. It presents the opinion that the Game of Thrones franchise represents a right-wing paradise with war, inequality, and violence against women. Of course, those books show violence against everyone, but it does portray a grim world, and it's rather lacking in the usual fantasy trope of salvation through a good and brave main character who'll strive to do right by people.
In the Song of Ice and Fire series, as far as I can tell, the narrative is just one bloody disaster after another with no hope in sight. True, this represents our world and makes for compelling reading, but it's not fiction that will inspire a society to seek its better angels. Or help a single reader find the personal inspiration that great fiction can inspire, such as is found in The Lord of the Rings.
Because no one with a marketing formula and shareholders is deciding who publishes indie books, you have an opportunity to discover authors who for one reason or another never got a publishing contract. Some don't even really look for a publisher because self publishing is accessible and sometimes profitable. Most want to retain creative control and the ability to collect their full share of profits. For example, I have worldwide rights to my novels and I receive a portion of every sale on every legitimate site I distribute through around the world.
Since becoming an indie author, I've read many indie authors. I've encountered many great books that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some have been powerful and brilliant. Some have just been fun, weird, or interesting. Those that passed muster with me were in no way inferior to books produced by large companies.
Indie authors have gained substantial market share among ebook readers in recent years.
According to Author Earnings:
In two short years, the market share of paid unit sales between indie and Big 5 ebooks has more than inverted. The Big 5 now account for less than a quarter of ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45%.
We've got some good stuff out there that is resonating with paying readers!
Next time, you're looking for something read, especially if you limit yourself to only brick-and-mortar bookstores, consider seeking out indies. Many of them have paperbacks available in addition to ebooks. Your local bookstore might be willing to order an indie book, but if you'd like the author to actually get more than a few cents, order the book yourself online from Createspace or Amazon.
Buying ebooks from indies is quite easy if you like ebooks. Our novels are everywhere.
If you'd like to sample my fiction, all three of my series start with a free ebook. Visit Brave Luck Books to download one.
Also find my fiction at:
Google Play Store
A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.