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Equal But Different

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According to Michael Kozlowski's recent post in GoodeReader, "Indie eBooks Need to be Segregated."

Aside from his use of the word "segregated" in the sentence (which I think is overly inflammatory), I agree.

Self published books should be separated from those of traditionally pubbed; not because they're less than (Kozlowski proclaims, "If bookstores do not segregate self-published writers their entire ecosystems will be ruined"), but to make it easier for book-lovers to find what's quirky and different and ahead of the trad pubbed curve.

Want a short list? There's New Adult fiction (a category that didn't exist until indies starting writing it); the phenom of mommy porn (50 Shades of Grey); A Naked Singularity, Sergio de la Pava's PEN Award winner; Hugh Howey's Wool series, making sci-fi cool again, and all those "authors"--who, according to Kozlowski, can identified as such because they can now afford to be full-time writers--who have been scooped up enthusiastically by the Big 5. So much for ruining the entire eco-system (which in my opinion has already been muddied by the likes of trad pubbed books by Honey Boo Boo and the cast of Duck Dynasty).

Having spent my entire adult life as a publicist, I think the problem is mainly one of branding. Until Harvey Weinstein and Miramax came along with Cinema Paradiso in 1990, indie films were mainly just subtitled flicks you'd see in dusty old movie theatres. Now they're winning Oscars (12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, to name just two).

Pause for a minute and consider all those "hundreds of thousands of indie titles" like art house movies, some good, some not so good, but all of them with a different sensibility than those that are trad pubbed. How much easier would it be to find the diamonds in the rough if we embraced both Kozlowski's suggestion and the indie category?

Now that self-published titles are having their way with established sources like The New York Times bestseller list, let's embrace the idea of equal but different and own Kozlowski's claim that "the onslaught of self-published titles is causing chaos in online bookstores all over the world"? (and Tweet about it #indiescausingchaos)

Let's get rid of the vanity label once and for all. We're here, we're self-pubbed and we're proud.