From a reader’s perspective: How indie authors can contribute to storytelling

Hello! Nicollette here, an official unemployed college graduate, Reader Views’ reviewer and now guest writer for the editorial! As an avid reader, I’ve read books from all over the world in three different languages. As an avid writer (on and off), I’ve experimented with writing poetry in both in English and Spanish, essays, and short stories. However, I really didn’t know much about the publishing world, especially independent publishers and independent authors, until I started working for Reader Views. A lot of my previous misconceptions have been challenged over the years, and I wanted to share what I think indie authors can contribute to the world of storytelling.

I’ll admit that a misconception of mine about independent authors was that the reason why they were publishing independently was because they hadn’t honed their storytelling skills well enough to break through the mainstream. I always found it particularly insulting when people would simply decide to write a book because they thought they had something important to say and that writing a book was no big deal. But writing a book is a huge deal; the craft of a writer is something to take seriously. However, I’ve realized that mainstream publishing companies really do not take the art of writing seriously. I mean, look at what’s been published: Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, etc. After Twilight was published, a bunch of teen-vampire novels came out. After The Hunger Games was published, teen-dystopian novels were being published like no tomorrow, and to be honest the stories in most, if not all of these books that are simply jumping on a money-making trend, in my opinion, are not the greatest contribution to literature. I realized that mainstream publishing companies care even less about good writing and more about making money, the fact that Snooki from The Jersey Shore is a published author is mind blowing and is enough evidence of money being more important than skill.

However, I started appreciating independent authors much more after watching Chimamanda Ngozi’s TedTalk, The Danger of the Single Story. A Nigerian novelist, Ngozi talks about how when she was little she would write about blonde princesses living in castles and eating apples, none of which is a reality in Ngozi’s country or life. She wasn’t writing from experience, but rather simply repeating a story that has been told thousands of time. And this is the danger of the single story: it excludes a vast majority of people who don’t fit into that archetype. The beauty of independent publishing is that a wide variety of stories get told and shared, and while there will always be the threat of the single story, I feel that independent authors minimize this threat. Sure, I’ve read some independent books that were just jumping on a certain band wagon, but most of the independent books that I’ve reviewed were diverse, interesting, and great stories. To my independent authors, please ignore the mainstream and keep blazing your own trail. The world doesn’t need another vampire love story, it needs your story! So please keep working on your skills or get a team to help you out, but get your stories out…I will be reading!