In this interview, Huffington Post reporter Lorraine Devon Wilke explores what the fiction writing world is like with independent publishing on the rise. Author Mark Barry has published “an impressive library” of work through his company Green Wizard Publishing, and he says one of the secrets to the success of his writing is being quirky, original, and in Wilke’s opinion, simply a good writer. Barry says:
“Forty years ago, in the era I most venerate, I would have been quite common as a writer, with my admiration for crime books, pulp, gangster fiction, and such. But now, in the indie, PHP (Post Harry Potter) era, I am definitely unique and one-off, certainly in indie, which can be extremely conservative, concentrating on the commercial and the traditional. I try new things….Nothing disappoints me more than a book that’s identical to the last book I read and the one before that, which is an all-too-common experience for readers.”
The uniformity of traditional publishing is something he actively avoids, and he makes choices that most fiction editors would not allow, like writing in second person omniscient, using footnotes, and not using dialogue tags. While he thinks the freedom to make these choices are huge benefits of independent publishing, he wishes some things were more controlled. He would prefer that there was a limit to how many books an author could publish on Amazon in a calendar year, and ban novellas of 30,000 words or less. Barry explains, “The market is drenched with books, the review system is extremely dodgy, and everyone, talented or not, is fulfilling their I-Can-Write-Better-Than-That ideations. And fair play to them, but, in a lot of cases, they discover they cannot, yet still publish anyway.” He is also tired of using social media-driven marketing, and says he would like to create a crowdfund to send sales representatives to bookstores in the fight for them to carry more independent books.
Ultimately, Wilke attributes Barry’s success not to any special marketing strategy or superior design of the book, but to the quality and originality of the writing. Especially in independent publishing, that is where success as a fiction writer begins and ends:
“Self vs. traditional, print vs. ebook; free vs. sensible prices; men vs. women; Amazon vs. everybody —when it really comes down to what we all want, it’s simple: GOOD BOOKS.”
Wilke, Lorraine Devon. 2015. “Ultimately It’s About Good Books By Good Writers. Meet Author Mark Barry.” The Huffington Post, July 20. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lorraine-devon-wilke/ultimately-its-about-good_b_7824182.html
Posted by Lauren Gattos