Indie writers will rule the publishing world.
November 10, 2015
SO YOU’RE AN INDIE WRITER. What’s wrong with that?
So you don’t have an agent? What’s wrong with that?
So you don’t have a big-time New York publisher. What’s wrong with that?
However, it seems that so many writers, through conversations or blogs, want to apologize for being an indie. They are ashamed they don’t have an agent. They are embarrassed and feel like a second-class writer, maybe even third class, because they don’t have a high-dollar or even a low-dollar New York publishing deal.
They cling to the past. But the past is past. Their brain is aware that digital publishing is rapidly replacing traditional publishing, but their heart still wants and agent and a publisher.
In my opinion, the past was never as good for writers as we all think it was. It’s easy to think, “Well, my book is on Amazon. But will anybody find me?” In the old days, authors said, “Well, my book in the bookstore. Will anybody find me?”
There is only one difference. Books got lost amidst brick and mortar instead of inside cyberspace.
Novelists are in the entertainment business. So, for a moment, let’s take a look at the movies, which is usually what you do at the movies.
Two or three decades ago, there were a bunch of hotshot screenwriters and directors running loose in Hollywood. They had their fingers on the pulse of theatergoers simply because they spent a lot of time in the movie houses.
They had to. Big studio executives wouldn’t give them the time of day, much less a job.
Sound familiar? New York publishers certainly don’t give unknowns the time of day.
Did the independent screenwriters and directors feel rejected?
Did they quit?
Instead of feeling ashamed and apologizing because they did not have a big studio deal, they said, in so many words: “We don’t need the studios. The guys who run them are old and stodgy and out of touch.
“They may have clout.
“They may have the money.
“But we have the best ideas.
“We’re better than they are.”
A good friend of mine, Tobe Hooper, shopped a little horror film named Leatherface around, but no one was interested. No studio would touch a horror film unless, of course, Alfred Hitchcock was at the controls.
Tobe decided to do it himself. He made the independent film for less than $100,000, cast a bunch of unknowns, changed its name to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and grossed almost $50 million, which was a lot of money for a film, big or small, back in 1974.
Across the country, the indie directors went to work. Tobe found a crack in the door. The indies kicked it open.
And here came the raw, unbridled genius of Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, John Carpenter, Robert Altman, David Lynch, John Cassavetes, the Coen brothers, John Sayles, and Woody Allen.
They didn’t need the studio.
They didn’t want the studio.
They could write and direct movies without anyone looking over their shoulder to tell them: “Sorry, you’ll have to change the script, the lighting, the direction. And, for God’s sake, don’t experiment.”
The indie directors loved to experiment. As Tobe told me, “I simply set out to do what nobody had ever seen before.” He did. Other indie filmmakers did as well. It made their moves different and compelling. And many of the films were sold virtually door to door, movie house to movie house, small town to small town, until they captured an audience.
The indies weren’t overnight sensations. But, in time, they became sensations.
And now indie films are as widely accepted for their slick, professional quality as anything coming out of Hollywood’s studio system. Indies have figured out that they can accomplish more with ingenuity, imagination, guts, and artistic freedom than they can with money.
Even now, given the choice, I would much prefer watching a little independent film than a big studio flick.
The indie film has great characters, unforgettable stories, clever dialogue, unusual twists and turns, and is a visual thrill ride.
The studio boys deliver special effects.
No memorable dialogue.
Only special effects.
The indie filmmakers have carved a special niche for themselves.
They are who they are and are proud of it.
It’s time indie writers quit apologizing, feeling sorry for themselves, and do the same. The publishing future is in the hands of the indies.
Secrets of the Dead is the first book in my Ambrose Lincoln series.