The Free Indie Reader #1 – Vive la revolution! (Book Review)
There is no doubt now (and there was doubt for years) that publishing is undergoing a global transformation. Battles in the war for or against transformation are being held on many fields: Online v’s Real Life book stores / Small v’s Large Press / Print Media v’s zines and blogs / E books v’s hardcopy / English v’s translation and so on. These are all battles for readers – or rather for readers money (the only person who cares if you actually read it or not is the writer), and make no mistake the war is bloody with many losing jobs and careers. Readers, it turns out, are mercurial creatures, and the outright winners so far in these wars, in terms of price and variety.
The battle between Indie publishing (very small press and self) and traditional publishing (established presses) is not one of readers, it is one of credibility. Note, for example Steven Morrissey’s recent insistence that his auto-biography leap directly to Penguin Classics. Morrissey’s book will sell, but what Penguin really had to offer, and what they were forced to give, was their credibility, which is inevitably watered down now, given the ridiculous image of Morrissey’s book (perfectly timed for Christmas) sitting in sacred stands next to Jane Austen, Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The real publishing revolution is not happening in the court room between Apple and Amazon, it is not happening in your local neighbourhood between Barns and Nobel and your local bookstore and it is not happening in the battle-for-your-buck between small genre presses. It’s happening in the minds and the hearts of literary fiction writers, who for the first time have a platform for publication that find their readers, and more importantly each other across the global space. Writers need other writers in order to write great fiction, and they are gathering – not on facebook and twitter, but through private, vibrant email conversations that are transforming fiction. Now is the first time in the history of literary fiction a writer can produce work that stands separate from the consumer market. This is a great thing if you love books, good books, and if you love the idea of fiction as a work of art. All that is missing is credibility, and that comes with time, and effort. Indie writers are learning to finely tune their works. They are learning where to find good editors, that they need strong cover art (an art in itself) and most importantly that they can find these people themselves. With time, the independently published books will become the only place where truly great literature can be found, because writers will have the acumen and technology required to enable full possession of their own product – hand delivered from their heart and mind to you, the reader – without filters.
A great fiction writer fully in touch with this revolution, is Tom Lichtenberg. Tom’s excellent books are all free as word by word he builds and forms the credibility indie publishing needs by reading, reviewing and most of all writing great books, published by intelligent people who are passionate about writing, but also dedicated to creating something beautiful; and more remarkably, Tom is read (!) primarily because of the high quality of his books, no mean feat in the world of literary fiction – even Penguin can’t promise your purchased novel will be read. Tom is the kind of writer the world will be talking about in twenty years time, when we look back on this period and realise no matter how glutted a marketplace appears, talent always rises.
True to his passion for what he can see that others can’t, he has decided to produce The Free Indie Reader as a kind of launch pad for the writers he has found that fit into the revolutionary mould I’ve described above. The first of these is now available, and I am very happy and proud to announce that I am one of the writers he included. Other fine writers are: über reviewer and great writer Paul Samael, amazing sci-fi writer Carla R. Herrera, Giando Sigurani, author of the very popular Mister Mercury, flash fiction virtuoso Willie Wit (best name ever), Michael Graeme of the Rivendale Review, Judy B talented author of Stories for Airports, and of course the man himself, Tom Lichtenberg whose very great books and novellas, I am pleased to say again are widely read in the humble world of independently published high-grade fiction.
This little gem is free free free, asking only for a short taste of your time to whip up your passion for fine literature that brings you to the pulsing heart of today’s great literary counter-culture.
Tom has even whipped up a video: