Indie Writer 4 – The High Ground

We fellas have a tendency to look for metaphors in places like the battlefield, the boxing ring, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather … like that. It’s a testicle thing, I guess. (Ladies, give me a little space on this one.)

I don’t want you to get the feeling that the indie writer’s life is like going to war, it’s just that … it’s exactly like that.

First and foremost – you won’t ever topple the big players. You will never make more money, get more media time, or be better connected than any of the half dozen or so of the major publishing houses out there. Fact. You will just never get close enough to cut the beast’s head off, so forget this as a measure of victory.

In the long run perhaps … you, me and another ten thousand unsigned writers – producing quality material that we distribute through our own channels – could well cut a chunk out of the major players. But who cares? A falling giant doesn’t lift me up, not even an inch.

So what is victory for the indie writer?

The modern readership. A group of people who are loyal by choice, responsible by nature – who see the bigger picture and want to be part of it.

I’m distributing my work electronically. There is no way to protect it. Fact. But we’re not back in the days when people were buying car loads of external hard drives to store all the mp3’s they were downloading from the internet but never planning on listening to. Wrong time. Wrong art form.

Reading is active, and in its own special way – interactive. Stories are only really completed when the reader has done their bit by creating the images in their heads. Reading is work.

I’m not saying that there aren’t fools who won’t ‘obtain’ ten thousand ebooks they never plan to read. These people exist. But they were never buyers to begin with. Forget them.

A reader who buys their reading material invests in its continued existence.

Readers can still rip you off. Any time they want. Even if you self publish in hard copy you cannot protect your material from someone willing to copy it and put it out there on some P2P site.

Perhaps it’s time for us to stop thinking about protecting and start thinking about trusting.

Trusting that one day someone will read one of your ballsy stories on their e-book reader and send a copy to everyone they know, telling them that payment is strictly optional. You like, you buy.

This … this is victory.

It seems I’ve done a full 180 degree turn on the war metaphor.

Oh, well. My inner Zen monk has come out to play.

2 Responses to “Indie Writer 4 – The High Ground”

  1. I like your inner zen monkies. Thanks for the perspective on small time writing. Keep on truckin’

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