I've been a writer in my heart since I was old enough to hold a pencil and a professional writer for nearly 20 years (writing as William Stanek and Robert Stanek). Over the years many would-be writers have asked me for advice about breaking in, and I've helped more than a few people get their first book/pro papers published (Butch, Charlie, Dan, Mike, Tim, Paul, Lisa, ...) Lately, more and more people have asked me about going indie as a fiction writer. My reply, straight up truth, hasn't always been well received, but it was always well meant. Being an independent is a tough road. It can be a lonely road. It can make you feel like the proverbial falling tree in the forest or the cat in Schrödinger's box.
Few people support independents the way they would support a commercially published author of equivalent status, and even fewer organizations. As an indie pioneer in digital and an indie voice, I've been helping to lead the way since 2001. To say the road has been a tough one would be a colossal understatement. Competitors set their teeth in almost from the start, and no few of them resorted to dirty tricks to boost themselves while pushing me down. For you see, it's easy to break something small, and it's easy to bully your way up. It's much harder to show compassion, to lend a helping hand.
I doubt those who have done these things have ever felt a moment's remorse. They've certainly never apologized. Some, given opportunity to do so, have instead added more injury. And others? Well, they've acted in ignorance, adding equal injury in their attempts to either maintain the status quo or lash out at something they didn't understand. They did so because the system is broken, and while they know this, they prefer what they know to what might be.
The broken system is changing--balance is coming. I for one welcome this change, and I can't help but be optimistic about what's happening in publishing today. I think it's a braver new digital world today than ever before, and I'm hopeful for publishing's future. For sure, there are many, many details to work out, but there just might finally be a time and place where all the world's dreamers have a voice.
Undeniably a tipping point occurred around November of last year. For the first time, people everywhere stood up, took notice, and heard the voices of the indie movement. Since then, more than a few indie voices have taken flight and launched into the stratosphere, not just selling thousands of books, but selling millions. That feat--the equivalent of moving mountains--is one no naysayer can deny. It happened. It's happening now. It just may represent Day 1 of publishing's new future.
Back to the trenches....
William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com
Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/WilliamStanek
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