I recently responded to a blog post from someone who was accusing all Indie authors of foolishly “banding together,” even though some of their fellow Indie-authors’ work was crap. Well…
As I see it, Indie authors are just like any other group with common goals – they tend to congregate together and support each other because they are people who share many of the same aspirations. They can empathize with each other, because they understand the common struggle. And you’ve got to admit, the collective voice of a huge group of people gets more attention than each of their individual voices. This is what I see as supporting others in a similar circumstance – you’re walking the same path, and know how the bumps in the road are sometimes very hard to navigate, so you want to help those traveling the same road have an easier journey.
However….I don’t think this is the same as giving praise for a job well done, and making recommendations regarding the author’s work. No one should do that unless they truly enjoyed the read, and truly feel that the writing is worthy of recommendation. I wholeheartedly agree. But on the flip-side, I don’t think people should discount an Indie author’s work just because they’re an Indie author (and this sad discrimination happens all the time) – they should actually read the work and then critique it, just like they would for a traditionally-published author.
Just to give an example to prove that many, many Indie authors take pride in their work, there was an article on a book review site recently which gave a very lacerating review of the work of a prolific Indie author, and there were a number of comments by other Indies who were appreciative of the negative review, and were glad that someone was finally distinguishing that particular author from the Indies who were truly serious about their work.
But I think it’s not just the Indie author community that our observations relate to – it’s really any community of people with the same occupations, hobbies, or goals. Look at the traditionally-published author community. I would bet that most authors would give support to other authors. But recommending their work might be something totally different. As a matter of fact, I read a quote by one very famous, successful author which slammed another famous, successful author because he thought her writing skills were sub-standard.
And the commentator mentioned a cover “cover-up” (in which other self-pub authors were praising a horrendous cover) brings to mind the same thing happening to me, but for a new book being published by a major publisher for an author represented by a very well known literary agent. The agent was publicizing the cover of the book, and commented on how awesome it was. His comments were then echoed by about 200 people in the forum on his blog. I HONESTLY THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE!!! I thought my eight-year-old kid could have drawn a better cover, and I seriously hoped she hadn’t shelled out too much cash for it (actually, I couldn’t believe she had shelled out any cash for it). But after a little more research, I realized……it was no joke! They were VERY serious. So go figure!
So, I don’t think we’re all covering up for each other just to sell books. I’m an Indie author and I’m not going to recommend a work that should only be called a book because it’s typed on paper with a binding. But I might kindly suggest some workshops that you might find helpful. :o)