Okay, this is not about writing, but the parallels are striking. I’ve been a fan of Lindsey Stirling since I first saw a few of her videos. Part of her appeal is her back story, the one she shares in this video. It sounds a lot like the way unknown writers struggle to become known.
Like us, she says that when she first got serious about it, she “tried all the very traditional routes, because I didn’t know any other way.”
After gaining experience through discouragement and rejection, she ultimately has to face the sobering fact: “I don’t have the kind of money that it takes to make it in this world… I don’t have the connections.”
I am one of those new age freaks who honestly believe being an artist is something inborn. I know that all indie writers can relate to the same sentiment she expresses: “I had a voice to share, I had art I knew could work and yet nobody would believe in my project.”
Yet, today’s technology offers us an opportunity to circumvent the exclusive, high-walled garden of success for the first time in history. It’s the same in the music industry as it is in publishing: “Here was a world where I didn’t have to wait for somebody else to tell me I was good enough.”
Yes, you still face rejection, discouragement, and you still have to work harder than you thought, but “all the tools were there where I could invest in myself.”
There is something to be said for having total control over the publishing process. It’s not strictly a business decision, it’s also a moral decision. The entire paradigm changes. When people say “the slushpile has moved online” they are absolutely right. But to believe that the public has the ability to sort through that pile themselves and find their own gems is to have a profound faith in the intelligence of your constituency. A lot of people fall by the wayside and remain obscure, and only a handful will really succeed. That hasn’t changed. But that gateway is no longer guarded by an “expert,” and the tearing down of that wall represents the very great moral advantage of self-publishing.