Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Year of the Derivative Title

Scene: Marketing room at a Major Publishing House
A boardroom with five white middle to upper class people, discussing a title change in order to launch a book
Rodney: Brainstorm guys!
Lucinda 1: Thought shower Rodders, Thought shower.
Lucinda 2: Yeah, Roddykins think of all those poor darlings with epilepsy or ADD or...ooh, shoes. (Lucinda 2 stares off into the distance.)
Lucinda 3: I’ve got it...(Lucinda 3 stands and walks to the flip chart, grabs a permanent marker and writes, The Girl. She sits down clearly exhausted.) Phew...blood rush.
All three Lucinda’s laugh and for some inexplicable reason Rodney turns red from the neck up.
Piers: Is it enough?
Lucinda 4 enters the room carrying a tray with a bottle of Bolly and six glasses: Have I missed anything?
Rodney: Lovely Lulu has come up with a spiffing title for our new thriller but Piers is concerned.
Piers: Is it enough? I mean with Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
Rodney looks puzzled
Piers: Not one of ours Rodo! Savage Girl, Wartime Girls, Girl Interrupted, the list goes on
Lucinda 2: What about?...(stares of into the distance once more)
Lucinda 3: The Gone Girl On A Train With a Dragon Tattoo On A Saturday Night
The whole room turns to look at Lucinda 3, seriously contemplating her title idea
Piers: But what’s it about?
The 4 Lucinda’s respond “Who cares, who has read the bloody thing anyway” and cackle
Piers: shrugs and sweeps his foppish hair back from his eyes: Open the bloody champers, time to celebrate!
Rodney: We’ll print a million, chuck a few hundred grand at it and see what happens eh? Tube posters everywhere, lots of bus advertising and let’s give away 40,000 to generate word of mouth buzz. The buyers will love it!
Lucinda 4: It always seems to work Rodder’s!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Why I Want to Draw a Distinction between Self publishing and Indie Publishing

The term indie publishing appears to have been hijacked by the loose fitting collective that is self publishing. So where does that leave true indie publishers like Caffeine Nights and a host of other small but passionate publishers striving to make a difference and an impact in this industry?

If you use the term indie publisher these days many people often think you mean self-published, and like it or not along with that comes the baggage of the old days including vanity publishing. There is a growing consensus of opinion that there are some excellent beginners and professionals out there who are self-publishing very successfully. Sadly that also leaves around 95% of the self published market which is still happy to churn out unedited, unproofed drivel for pennies or free and congest an already swamped market. 

Whatever way they wish to look at it and indeed even some parts of the industry has started labelling these successful writing entrepreneurs as indie authors, they are and always will remain self-published authors and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just please don’t hijack the term indie

In this rush to embrace self published authors I think the true indie publisher has had to endure a difficult time in the market. On the one hand trying to compete with the big boys and on the other seeing what market forces brought about by the gold rush of everyone has a book in them has done to the hard fought for ground established by true indie publishers. Seeing that ground eroded by readers keen to devour or download every free or cheap self-published ebook available has made it an exciting but also frustrating time. 

Personally I don’t think many of those free books ever get read, but what they do is skewer the market affecting sales rankings and damaging sales. Readers need to be able to distinguish good from bad and by diluting or confusing terms such as indie publishing it becomes harder for readers to make informed choices especially with eBook purchases until they actually start reading what they have downloaded. 

Indie publishers provide that stepping stone between unpublished obscurity and often the next step for many authors in their career. Small enough to care big enough to produce lovely crafted books and occasionally win a small battle, gain a victory, garner a national review, persuade a buyer to take a book on in their stores, win an award or being short listed. 

Indie publishers deserve to keep their moniker and not have it stolen by an equally worthy set of self –published authors albeit a significantly small proportion of self-published authors who are doing the right thing in the right way.