Friday, December 12, 2008

Indie Explanation

This year I've done a tremendous job at succeeding at my annual goals (mainly because they were very flexible [e.g. "Buy a house or move", "Sell your novel or publish a whole bunch of other stuff". 2008 was perhaps the year of the "or..."]). I am also pleased that I managed to meet one goal I didn't even get around to making (though I meant to), which was to read more books by independent publishers.

But perhaps life made the goal for me, however, because so many indie books found their way to me this year. I read so many through fabulous initiatives like Fiery First First Fiction, and events like The Scream in High Park and the Eden Mills Festival, and then of course by word of mouth. Reading so many independent books has made 2008 a remarkable reading year.

But then it occurred to me that my Top Eleven contained none of these books. And as I tried to figure out why that is, I came up with two reasons. First, that independent publishers take risks that the big houses don't, and so the results are more mixed, however incredible notable, important, brilliant. And second, which is related, my list is appealing to pretty mainstream tastes (such are often my own). I feel pretty sure about offering my Top Eleven up to anyone and figuring they'll hold some appeal. This is not always the case with the independent books, which I'm sure neither writers nor publishers see as a wholly bad thing.

But they deserve a list of their own, surely. Top Eleven Indie Picks, for those readers looking for something challenging, alternative, off-the-wall and wonderful. So a list is to-be-posted, but first I wanted to write an explanation of why it appeared.