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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RIP: "Indie" Lit


Here lies "Indie Lit."

Not small presses, which for a few years, before the untimely death of the term "indie," were attempting to brand themselves as such.

They're alive and well and thriving and publishing all kinds of interesting (as well as uninteresting) writers. What has died is the term "indie, lit." Dead of misuse. It now lies in a cemetery next to "Bling Bling"--dead the moment white people started using it--and "The Dougie"---a dance, not a "term" per se, but likewise dead, also because of white people.

This death, however, can't be blamed on white people, not entirely at least. Since it became easier to self-publish, more people are doing it. Therefore more people are talking about self-published books. And somehow, people stopped calling self-publishing self-publishing. Somewhere down the road,  self-publishing became "Indie Lit." Every self-published author is now an "indie author." And small press authors instead of being "indie" became ________.

Tired of misuse, "Indie Lit." threw itself out the window and died.

This is an association that small presses, surely don't want. The small presses currently have a decent reputation and self-publishing, kind of doesn't. Many self-published books--not all--are self-published because they can't get published any other way. Some have egregious plot issues and have a reputation, not entirely undeserved, of being riddled with typographical and usage errors. Major reviewers ignore them as do bookstores and they oftentimes smack of desperation. That's the reputation at least. That's not to say that many self-published authors aren't taking the care to craft good stories and hire proofreaders and copy editors. Many are. And as more people self-publish, that reputation has begun to change. But until now, self-published and "indie" were two entirely different things.

No one is sure when "Indie Lit"--the term-- was born, but it couldn't be more than a couple of years old. It was always a pretty lame and imprecise phrase. Small presses didn't need a new name. Especially not one that attempted to apply a false layer of hipster cool over a bookish enterprise. Designed to make folks conjure up images of indie punk bands and the cool independent movies of the early 1990s (bring them shits back). It was sort of like if Screech started calling himself T-bone. We all remember the nerd who started listening to Black Moon, not because he liked them, but because it was cool to like Black Moon. Back in the day, I had news for that nerd. I told him, I listen to Black Moon because I like them. It hasn't made me any cooler.

Naw, I just made fun of him.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, that's right. RIP "Indie Lit."

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