The technophobia, true and angry anti-technology, the complete fear of new things, shocked me at Word on the Street in 2011. As part of my role as Regional Vice-President of the Crime Writers of Canada, I took a turn running our booth, and for fun, I put two e-readers on display so that people could do a side-by-side comparison.
I expected that people would comment on whether they preferred my brand new Kindle or my older Sony Reader. This was wa-a-ay back in the days before the Kindle Fire, and even the I-pad was so new that some pundits were still surprised it was turning into a success, counter to their predictions.
What I ran up against at WOTS was a visceral dislike of the new technology. One woman looked at e-readers curiously, and when I asked which she would prefer, she looked up with contempt and stated, “I’ll never own one of those.” The expression would have be more understandable if I had asked her which sex doll she would prefer to take home.
This, sadly, wasn’t an isolated incident. I turned up at an event sponsored by a different mystery writers organization (they shall remain nameless to protect me from their anger) and a panel turned ugly when I and another author suggested that some of these mystery authors should try indie-publishing. We were treated as the unknowing, upstart, young kids in the room, practically shouted down in defiance of change.
Fast forward three years and what a difference. I moderated a panel about indie-publishing at the Bloody Words Mystery Convention, and to my surprise there was a very good turn out. Even more surprising, established, traditionally-published authors attended and several eagerly came forward to collect my hand-out of links that can aid Indie-publishing authors. A sea change has taken place. It’s no longer rude to talk about indie-publishing, and as Hugh Howey suggested last week, you can even say self-published without cringing. In fact, you can say it with pride.
But what I have discovered is that there is a hunger for information about how to go about self/indie publishing without hiring a computer whiz kid to do it all for you. There’s also a need to connect writers with a support team: editors, cover artists, web designers and publicists. In fact, what we need is a community based publishing house–a wiki of independent publishing.
A lot of this is available out there in the ether, but what I want to start is a community that can meet face to face and share experiences, leads and ideas. I want authors, editors, and cover artists to be able to establish business relationships, make referrals, and generally make indie-publishing a better experience that produces more professional books.
So I’ve started the Toronto Indie-Publishing MeetUp group. My hope is that as this group grows, we’ll encourage other established and aspiring authors to take the plunge and independently publish their novels/cook books/fun books so that they can reap the maximum royalty and maintain the most control over their writing work of art.
If you’re local, join the group and come out to meet up. If you’re not, you can still join the group and I’ll keep you in the loop. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be in town.