Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Indie Life Blog Hop: Lawrence Block's Gone Indie!!!

Written for the Indie Life blog hop. Visit the link if you'd like to participate in this monthly blog event.

Being an indie writer has been making great strides in respectability lately. Especially now that famed mystery author Lawrence Block has gone indie for some of his books.

  He'd done an indie book before, Write for your Life, to go with some seminars he was then conducting. But he also decided to go the indie route for a collection of Matt Scudder short stories. (Link: Anne R. Allen's Blog: Lawrence Block talks self-publishing.)

And now, he's self-published a Bernie Rhodenbarr novel--- the first since 2004. I didn't know it was self-published until my own copy arrived. (Links: Lawrence Block: Look Who's Back, Mystery Fanfare: A dialogue between Bernie and Larry on Self-Publishing.)

Lawrence Block, I would say, is doing indie right. He has his credentials as a writer well-established through years of traditionally publishing his books. He has a reader base for both the Matt Scudder series and the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, both of which have fans looking for more.

Sometimes the new indie author forgets that the first thing he has to do is establish those writing credentials--- to prove to the world that he really can write. There are too many books and ebooks out there written as a get-rich-scheme or by a tag-along NaNoWriMo writer, that show no skill at all as a writer. Readers who pick up such books come away with the conclusion that the indie writer, like the old-style vanity press writer, is someone who just cannot write well enough to do the job.

Traditional publishing--- somewhere, somehow, in a forum with a gatekeeper that doesn't publish dreck, establishes those writing credentials. So would a well-written blog that has sufficient traffic to make it authoritative. Or being invited to post articles on a well-regarded website.

Without these credentials, most indie authors don't sell well. By continuing to write well and publishing many novels and short stories, eventually the good indie writer will pick up fans.  In time, success at the level enjoyed by Hugh Howey may come along.

Lawrence Block's indie books:
The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (Bernie Rhodenbarr) (Volume 11)

The Night and The Music: The Matthew Scudder Stories

Has your initial opinion about indie (self-published) fiction changed recently? In which direction? What factors led to the change?

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