What if the only movies you could see were big Hollywood blockbusters? What if the only food you could eat was the stuff found at those big franchise places? And what if the only books you could read were those over-stuffed bestsellers, pumped out by traditional publishers and pushed by the big-box bookstores…for $8.99 a pop?
The fact is, there’s nothing wrong with mass produced food or books or movies, but sometimes people want something different. Sometimes they want to see a movie or eat a meal or read a book that doesn’t follow a formula. Something that’s unique…something that will surprise them.
That’s where indie (aka self-published) books come in. Books created like handmade goods and produced in small numbers. Books that are often Print On Demand, meaning no trees are killed until after the books are sold. Why is this so important? Because today more than ever, almost everything we make gets co-opted by corporate culture, turned into a business model, reformulated and churned out like soap to appeal to as many people as possible. In a world where almost everything is packaged by committee, indie books are written with a single voice: the writer’s own.
It’s true—and frankly, unfair—that self-published authors are often considered less talented than their traditionally published counterparts. Their books are ignored or looked down upon, not carried by most bookstores and shunned by reviewers. But that is slowly changing. After all, if the work of indie musicians and indie filmmakers command respect, why not the work of indie writers (who, incidentally, published 1/2 million of their own books last year, alone)?
And these books are not just about vanity. More and more of them (Daemon, The Shack, The Lace Reader) are making it to the top of the national bestseller lists. It also helps that successful authors like Stephen King and Dave Eggers are giving self-publishing a go. Not only that, but the legacy of self-published books is unusually rich, encompassing works by poets e.e. cummings and Walt Whitman and novelists Leo Tolstoy and Marcel Proust.
So, where does a book-lover go when they want to find something that’s not on already on everyone else’s night table? IndieReader.com (www.indiereader.com), where every book is reviewed prior to acceptance, guaranteeing that book-lovers find—from yummy cookbooks to gorgeous coffee table books, kids, self-help and fiction—the “cream-of-the-indie crop”. In its simplest sense, IndieReader is a venue where consumers can find and purchase books published and produced by the people who wrote them. As opposed to other sites that cater to writers, IndieReader was created for the discriminating consumer (although writers will find tons of helpful information, too). Our monthly, online magazine, The Indie Reader, has featured contributions by designer Isaac Mizrahi, writers Joel Stein (Time magazine), Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader), columnist Dan Savage and singer/songwriter Joshua Radin and more.
At a time when DIY filmmakers and musicians are proudly proclaiming their independence, there could be no matter time for indie authors to do the same. Like Sundance for authors, IndieReader is the place to find the newest and brightest writing talent.
Amy Holman Edelman is a public relations and marketing professional with twenty years of experience in consumer and book PR. She is also the author of three books, two traditionally published and one self-published. She launched IndieReader in September ’09 because she believed that it was shortsighted to brand all self-published books as trash, especially in light of the many mainstream successes that were initially rejected by traditional publishers.