Hello Old Friend

tartt I support indie writers. Some books, I go indie myself. But one thing I’ve noticed…I don’t see many indie “literary” novels. Terry Tyler comes closest. She calls her work “contemporary.” No labels for Tyler. Not even the literary label. And good for her.

Still, lots of genre in the indies. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places? One of the things that seems most wonderful to me as an indie is I don’t have to follow any rules. I’m not chained to my romance or mystery perch like Fabritius’s goldfinch. Or am I? Are we all?

That’s the type of discussion that goes on in some literary novels like Donna Tartt’s fabulous The Goldfinch which I just finished last night. The last twenty or so wonderful pages would have been slashed to nothing had I sent them to a genre publisher. And that’s a shame.

So indies, what’s going on? I could take a guess or two. Maybe indies want to be discovered and offered huge multi-million dollar contracts like that erotica author who started out writing fan fic about Edward and Bella. So the indie genre books are calling cards, of a sort. Maybe.

Or maybe the indies who write in a specific genre just really like vampire books. Maybe they’re not thinking HBO series material at all. All I can really say is this indie, me, likes coloring outside the lines, and publishing indie lets me do that.

Why not submit to literary agents and publishers, then? Ah, no. I’m no Fabritius, no Tartt either. I know my limitations. We all have them. And so what do I hope to achieve with these indie novels? Well, some money would be nice. Although it does not seem to be happening, at least not yet, and I’m okay with that.

In fact, not making money from my writing is probably a good thing, even though it’s bad. (This ‘good but also bad’ dicotomy is one of the themes in The Goldfinch.) It’s bad because of course I would rather make art than teach. It’s good because I’ve been teaching so long I’m due for retirement and pension soon:) It’s bad because if I put my work’s value at a dollar amount, then my work is zero.

It’s good because I found out that I will still write, even at zero. That’s something worth learning. Because it brings me back to the innocence I had when I was 16, writing in a notebook, trying hard to get the feelings right, with no thought to being discovered, published, or important. The work was important. And that was all, that was enough.