USA Today just posted their May Books Preview, which includes four very familiar authors (John Irving, Toni Morrison, Rick Riordan, Charlaine Harris), the continuation of three series (Sookie Stackhouse, Percy Jackson, Spenser–albeit by a different author) and part two’s of previous books (Bringing Up the Bodies, the follow-up to Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and Are you My Mother by Alison Bechdel, a follow-up to Fun Home). Last but not least we have The Family Corleone by Ed Falco, a prequel to—of all things—The Godfather.
While I’m sure this list has some bonafide gems (personally, I swoon for Toni Morrison and John Irving), would it really kill the fine folks at USA Today (or The New York Times or Vanity Fair) to include an indie or two? Yes, we get that indie authors don’t pay for big fat ads that support these fine publications like the trad publishers do. May we suggest that, in lieu of an ad, a sales link could be added so that income can be generated in that way? After all, today’s bestselling indies—many of which can be found on bestseller lists of the aforementioned publications—are already out-selling their trad pubbed counterparts.
Fact is, by the end of the year, the books listed in USA Today and their authors will have made the rounds ad nauseam. Don’t the powers-that-be at the trad media outlets have the duty (and the stones) to once in awhile offer up a book that, dare I say, is something new? Don’t they have the obligation to share John Shekleton’s brilliant gay/bi/mystery-thriller, or Joanne DeMaio’s terrific novel, Whole Latte Life? Or how about Wish List, the first paper book by John Locke to be distributed in-stores (courtesy of Simon & Schuster), rendered virtually invisible because not one reviewer at one trad media outlet has even mentioned it?
We can say with absolute conviction: It’s not that there aren’t great indie books out there. It’s that the traditional media is all blind, deaf and mute to their existence. Yes, we get that what’s currently happening in publishing in unnerving. We get that there is an unspoken allegiance between trad publishers and the people who cover their books (talk about collusion!), but does that really mean, with so many other great books and authors available, that the media has to behave like lemmings and continually fall back on the same list of books written by the same group of authors?
Obviously, here at IndieReader, we think not. So until the Jeffrey Trachtenbergs (The Wall Street Journal) and Julie Bosmans (The New York Times) and Lev Grossmans (Time magazine) realize what they’re missing, you can count on IR to be “the essential guide to self-pubbed books and the people who write them.” And when they finally do catch on to the quality, potential and downright coolness that is indie books, we hope we have the self-control not to say “we told you so”.