Sunday, March 08, 2009

Indie Bands, Writers Perceived Differently -- Eric Danton

Independent Bands, Writers Perceived Differently
By ERIC R. DANTON The Hartford Courant
March 1, 2009

New York indie-rock act Clap Your Hands Say Yeah built a considerable fan base without help from a record company.

There's a curious divide in the pop arts world over the do-it-yourself ethic and the different, and opposite, ways it applies to books and to music.In music, DIY is a source of credibility for acts that take pride in circumventing the music machine and the compromises often required to release an album through a record company, especially one of the major labels. With books, by contrast, do-it-yourselfers are usually regarded with skepticism, if not outright derision, when they pay to publish their own work through what is disdainfully referred to as a "vanity press."

"In the book world, it's so fragmented, with so many publishing houses out there, that somebody doing something on their own has more of a stigma because it suggests that everybody else passed on it," says Josh Jackson, editor in chief of Paste magazine, which covers music, film and books."
I am and have always been a huge fan of Indie Bands, Indie Film, and Indie Art in general. If music can rise above the stigma, I find it difficult to understand why Indie authors face such resistance. It can't be entirely about quality simply because I have read some exceptional Indie work. I think where some of the stigma might arise is that in a practical sense indie authors are perceived as niave and easily taken advantage of in their quest to circumvent the system. Any serious Indie author knows that is just not true. Not all of us are looking for shortcuts, and really, are there any???? considering that some of us take on the entire enterprise from front cover to press release. But,with the rise in subsidiary presses who are more than willing to part a novice author from their money with gimmicks and unrealistic claims to fame, it's easy for the rest of the world to assume we are all illiterate idiots willing to pay ridiculous fees for crap editing, stock cover art, shit layout, and marketing services that only amount to spam email. I don't think there is an easy answer to this dilemma, but a first step could be for all Indie authors to be on their game, produce a quality product, and have faith in your art. We all know what the second step is, and that one is not for the Indies to take. I have met quite a few people willing to give Indie authors the time and respect so many other artists enjoy, and I can't thank them enough. Now I am not saying that all vanity presses are bad -- I do hate that word vanity, mind you -- some of those presses are very good and have qualified staff on hand to deliver, but some are no better than many DIY sites. An Indie author must be diligent in their research. Are you really getting what you pay out the nose for?
Full Article can be read here.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

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