Indie publishing might be making waves and splashes in the big business world of publishing, but so many still won't let go of the stigma attached to self-publishing. I'm taking it upon myself to quit using the term "self-published." No, not because I don't like it or because it means a bad and dirty thing.....No. It's because it still has the stink of stigma attached to it.
Let me expound. I was a fairly successfully published author by one of the bigger traditional, lesbian publishing companies, Bella Books. Yep, they are approved by the MWA. Imagine that. I requested and opted out of my contract. I had decided to independently publish my own books. It was MY own decision to break my contract with a well-established, traditional press.
For those who don't know, I write the Brenda Strange Supernatural Mystery Series. Bella Books published the first three books, THE BURNING OF HER SIN, TANGLED AND DARK, and THE MISSING PAGE, in trade paperback (I now own the rights and have published them as eBooks available in Kindle at Amazon). The second book, TANGLED AND DARK, was reviewed and featured as a recommended read in the mystery community's highly praised magazine, Mystery Scene. The column was the Small Press Review by Mary V. Welk. It was an honor to be featured in the Holiday issue #87, 2004 with the honorable Tony Hillerman on the cover. Mary Welk is sadly no longer doing the column. Betty Webb has taken the mantle.
What is my point in all this? I am still writing the Brenda Strange Mystery Series. I am a better writer since TANGLED AND DARK got recommended in Mystery Scene Magazine. What has changed is that I am no longer part of a traditional publisher. I am an indie author. My latest Brenda Strange book, XIMORA, is as good or better a book than TANGLED AND DARK. It was edited by the same editor that did the work for Bella Books. But my own publishing imprint, Black Car Publishing, published it. Mystery Scene Magazine refused to accept my book for consideration to be reviewed because I am an independent author. Their policy is to not accept independently published books. It made me very angry. I couldn't understand why an author is stigmatized by the mere fact that she chose to independently publish instead of give away her rights to a publisher. What difference does it make? Mystery Scene didn't know how good my new Brenda Strange book was. How could they.....they refused to even consider it. Just several years ago, I had one of my books recommended and reviewed in their magazine. And now, because I opted to take control of my writing future, my fiction must have gotten worse than before....not even worth a look at? It doesn't make sense and it is unfair. Why adopt such a broad and negative brush toward indie published books? Maybe if I'd hidden the fact that Black Car Publishing is my own imprint, I'd have gotten the review. Why does it have to come to that?
Time to wake up and realize some very good work is being published independently. Continuing this practice of discrimination smells of prejudice and something worse. I don't want to point my finger only at Mystery Scene Magazine. I love the magazine and sometimes can afford to buy an issue here and there. They aren't the only ones who need to come into the light of the new publishing paradigm.