I’ve invited a number of people who have published in indie press and gone on to become professionals in the field to write about their experiences. First cab off the rank is the wonderful Trent Jamieson, whose first novel only came out last year but has already been joined by three others out in the world!
The indie-press has been a part of my entire writing life from the fanzines that I first started writing poetry for like Ron Clarke’s The Mentor – cranked out by hand, the magazine, and the poetry – through to the newer presses like Twelfth Planet Press, Ticonderoga, Fablecroft and Coeur de Lion.
Oh, and Aurealis Magazine and Eidolon were my first loves as a writer and a reader. They were the magazines that I aimed for, the authors within them giants to me. You see, I never felt there was a place for me in mainstream publishing, I always felt that it was the indies, and the SF indies at that, which would take my weird little tales. Most of the time when no other literary magazine was biting they did.
Without the encouragement of editors in the those presses I think I would have given up – it took me roughly twenty years of trying before I sold my first novel, and it’s hard to keep that going without the occasional publication credit. It was the indies that gave me a place to get my stories on the page.
Sure there are many types of writing career and publication paths. But that was my way. And I want to stress that I don’t think the indie press is somehow lesser than mainstream publishing houses, or just stepping-stones on the way to a career. How could I? It’s where I feel at home, every sale has been a delight, every story in print is still exciting to me.
I’ve also worked as an indie press editor for Redsine. I published some of the earliest works of fabulous writers like Kim Westwood and Cat Sparks. I know the slog that goes behind every indie press, and just how much love goes into each and every story and issue. The indies rise and fall with that labour. And no indies means you’d see far less short stories and novellas being published in this country (two of the most vital and important forms of fiction) and you probably wouldn’t see writers having the confidence to submit to markets overseas, and you certainly wouldn’t have writers that other younger (and older) writers can look at and say, hey if they can do it so can I.
It’s like indie bookstores really. Before a book (without a “celebrity” author) ever really gets to the bestseller list, it’s had the support of a damn lot of indie booksellers, pushing it, talking about it, sharing their enjoyment of it. Big fish start small, and that goes for writers, and publishers too. And as a reader, I know my reading life would be all the poorer without our wonderful indie publishers – how else would I have developed my fan boy crushes on Sean Williams or Paul Haines or Ben Peek or Marianne de Pierres or Lucy Sussex or Tansy Rayner Roberts? And that’s just a few of the many wonderful voices I’ve encountered reading indie presses.
As a writer, there’s so many indie press publishers and people that have been important to me that I’m bound to forget some of them (so if I miss you please send me a stern email) but I don’t know where I would have been without Ben Payne, Alisa Krasnostein or Keith Stevenson. They’ve been some of my biggest supporters, and publishers. And if I sound like I’m name-dropping, I’m not really; just thanking them and every other indie publisher for putting their time and energy into something that enriches writer and reader alike. They’ve all made me very happy.
SF writer and Silent Motion Picture Actor, Trent Jamieson should be 108 years old, but is only 38 on account of TEMPORAL RADIATION. He lives in Brisbane with his wife, Diana. His first books were a series of novels called Death Works. The first, Death Most Definite, was released in August 2010, the second, Managing Death, in December 2010. The third, The Business of Death, is due for release in September 2011. They’re about Death – you know, the Grim Reaper.
He is currently working on a duology for Angry Robot Books the first of which is called Roil (due to be released in September 2011), the second of which is called Night’s Engines (due for release in 2012). If you like the steam, and the punk, you might like `em.
When not writing, he works at The Avid Reader Bookshop in West End- the best indie bookshop in the world (he’s not biased or anything). Find out more about Trent and his work at http://www.trentjamieson.com/