When an artist decides to guide his or her own destiny and become the pivotal force in releasing their art, only good can come of it, right?
You'd think so, but for years, those in the publishing world would have both authors and readers believe not. You're not a real author unless you have a real contract with a real (New York) agent, who has finagled you a real deal with a real Big Publishing House. The old guard would have you believe that a self-published book is a cheap, vain plea for attention, not worthy of an honored place on your bookshelf or in your Kindle.
So why the bad rap, especially when it comes to books? Independently produced film and music has been the pulsing to its own beat and rotating around its own orbits for years now. When Hollywood or New York deemed a project too dicey, too out there, or too expensive, the rock and roller or budding film producer scraped up their own funds to showcase their art on their own. In fact, the tradition of independent film has been around since the dawn of movies.
As for music, such labels as Sun and Rounder Records were launched as an alternative to the major record producers. Now, with the Internet, nearly anyone can become a singing sensation. Who could forget this earworm of a song, independently produced, that went on to viral popularity?
I'm a writer, and my dream is to become published. Of course, it would be nice if I were discovered a la Hollywood and Vine. I would be plucked from a writer conference crowd after a frenzied round of agent speed dating, or my stellar query letter would somehow rise to the top of the slush pile and everyone from mailroom boy to assistant to agent to editor at a Big House would fall madly in love with my manuscript. The rest, including fame and huge advance, would be history.
Wake up from the dream, writers! Sure, your project might land you an agent. If your book is outstanding, maybe even a great agent. If your book is mildly entertaining, maybe a really hungry agent meaning to make a name for herself.