I’ll be honest, when I took over as Book Review Editor, it was a selfish attempt to get free books. I had been reviewing books for other places and my thought process upon seeing the call for an editor was simple. It went, editor…more free books…must do. I will not now or ever claim that what goes on in my brain is anywhere near complex.
That being said, I had the usual epiphanic moments most of us have when exposed to new things (mind exploding, colors and sounds everywhere, angels singing…the usual). I’m not going to try to make it sound fancy or new. Becoming the editor allowed me access (mostly by throwing the title Book Review Editor behind my name and hoping that people would respond to me much in the way that a seventeen-year-old shows a fake ID at the liquor store) to meet a slew of new writers, editors, and publishers in the indie lit world.
I was exposed to all the hard work that people put in day after day after day to ensure that good, quality literature got out to the reading public. I was amazed and awed by it all and, in the few months that I’ve been lucky enough to take part in this widespread community, that feeling of awe has continued to grow.
There were plenty of end-of-the-year lists declaring that 2014 was the Year of X or Y (Electric Literature, for example, had writers call it the year of the debut and the essay). Piggybacking off these pieces, I’m going to make an assertion:
2015 will be the Year of Indie Lit.
I don’t think it should be the year of This Press or That Press or This Author or That Author, instead it should just be the Year of Indie Lit. All of us here. The literary novel writers and the poets and the noir publishers and the translation houses and everyone else I haven’t specifically mentioned. Especially those I haven’t mentioned. All of us, together.
That may sound campy, but hear me out.
Yes, obviously there is competition for sales and all that and that will always be a part of it, but I think as a group we can look beyond that, at least for a little bit, in order to push the envelope against the big houses even further. It can be argued (strongly, I say) that the quality of the work coming out of indie presses is stronger than that of the Big 5.
Supporting the authors that are exploring new territory with every new book and the publishers open enough to let these authors experiment is key to making 2015 the Year of Indie Lit. Call it Indie Lit Citizenship. Call it being a family. Call it whatever you want. Whatever you call it, do even more of it. Like, comment on, share writers’ posts. Engage in dialogue with other readers. Go to indie bookshops and buy writers you’ve never heard of. All of this is easy and all of it is essential.
For us here at Atticus Review, one way we’re going to contribute to that is by beginning a monthly book review package. We already feature book reviews on a consistent basis, but I felt that was not enough. Why publish two or three a month when we could do four or five (or even six)? That’s two or three more writers, publishers, and reviewers entering the indie lit conversation each month. I want our book review section to be your monthly shotgun blast of indie literature so please, read, share, review. Enter into the conversation in some way. 2014 was a great year for indie lit, let’s make 2015 even better.
Editor’s note: Repeat after me, good people:
2015 is the Year of Indie Lit.
This month’s book reviews:
Photo By: Evan Syme