It's been a long time coming but indie spirits like myself are starting to see signs of hope that our books are finally being taken seriously.
To be honest, the decline of quality books from "traditional" presses has helped. The crap currently polluting the "New Release" shelves of your local WalMart or big box store would make Grub Street hacks and penny dreaful-ers wince. Crack open one of these "New York Times Bestsellers" to any page at random, scan a paragraph or two. Shudder. As tuneless as a dropped piano.
Anyone reading Dan Brown or James Patterson is performing the equivalent of a self-lobotomy. Shame on you.
Whatever the root causes, in the past five years we've seen self-published efforts escape their vanity roots and achieve something like credibility.
-Terris Fallis's novel Best Laid Plans, published through iUniverse, wins a Stephen Leacock Medal
-high profile N.Y Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani critiques her first self-published book
And maybe I'm blowing my own horn but I think it's pretty cool that my New & Selected Poems (1984-2011) was recently shortlisted for a 2013 ReLit Award.
I've said it before, I'll say it again:
Yes, the majority of self-published books are godawful--semi-literate and amateurish and pathetic. I completely agree.
But there are exceptions to that rule. Authors like me who became utterly disenchanted with the stupidty and arrogance of traditional publishing and decided to follow the example of artists like Ani DiFranco and "go indie". D.I.Y., baby. Empower yourself and screw the Big Bosses, the corporates and their boot-licking lackeys (sorry, I mean agents and editors).
I published my first book back in 1990. Since then, I've endeavored to only release volumes of the highest possible quality: scrupulously edited, intelligent prose, accompanied by beautiful cover art and design.
I'll stack my work up with the best of what's being released by any publishing venue.
And I'd say from this month's ReLit nomination for my verse that there are other folks out there who would agree with that contention.
Causes Cliff Burns Supports
The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Community Radio