Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The IndieReader on "Being Indie"

On "Being Indie" is a monthly feature that will be hosted here on TNBBC. We will meet a wide variety of independent authors, publishers, and booksellers as they discuss what being indie means to them.

Meet Amy Edelmen. She is a publicist, author, and founder and editor of IndieReader.com. She self published her first book "The Fashion Resource Directory" back in the 80's, and has also authored two traditionally published books - "The Little Black Dress" and "Manless in Montclair". 

She understands how difficult it is for all authors to get exposure. Her website was born out a need to create a more level playing field for authors who choose to go it on their own and to give book-lovers the opportunity to discover great works that they might not have otherwise have found. And today, she shared with us how she defines the term "Indie".

What does “Being Indie” mean to me?  

The term “indie”, to me, has always been an indicator that something (and until recently that “something” was usually a movie or a band) was the product of a person with a singular vision.  Not something spit out by a corporation wanting merely to make a buck, but something that speaks of its creator’s blood and sweat and talent.  And while the end-result of such visions sometimes felt a bit “rough around the edges”, the absence of a certain “slickness” tended to make the final results—two hours in the dark or a four minute snippet of music—completely and totally worthwhile.  

The term “indie” has come late to books.  I chose the name IndieReader for my website, way back in ’09, in the hopes of creating an alternative name for “self-publishing”, a term—to most people—that suggested a last-ditch option for authors without any talent.  We stole IR’s goal from Sundance: to promote, brand and legitimize Independent books and authors. 

The reasoning?  As an avid reader, author (both self and trad pubbed) and long-time publicist, I believed that there were a great many books not making it into the traditional publishing system.  Not because they were bad, but because their authors didn’t have a good enough "platform," or the subjects of their books didn’t have enough mass appeal.  Especially these days, when traditional publishing is all about dollars and cents, an author’s inability to get a deal is less about their talent and more about the trad publisher’s inability to showcase that talent.  And when you think about it, that’s really a crappy way to decide which books are “worthwhile” and which aren’t. 

So, now the door has been opened so that thousands of authors can get their works out there, which is really great news for authors.  But for the book-buying consumer it’s tough because—especially with the advent of the ereader—the world of indie books—while beginning to look inviting—has all of the sudden become overwhelming. 

How does one sort the good books from the not-so-good?  What are the bestsellers?   IndieReader was created to be the “essential guide to self-pubbed books and the people who write them”, offering discriminating consumers a place to discover the world of indie books, along with professional reviews, author interviews and more. 

So what does “being indie” (and “reading indie”) mean to me?  It means that you’re taking a chance.  You’re stepping out of the mainstream into a world where anything is possible.  True, you may sometimes end up being disappointed.  But the rewards when you experience something special and unexpected are totally magic.  

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