The Fray vs. The Fringe

Every summer my favorite weekend activity is sale-ing. As in yard sale-ing, garage sale-ing, rummage sale-ing. I love the thrill of the hunt, the promise of treasure, and the who-knows-what-I’ll-find-next excitement. Sometimes it’s not even about the shopping, but more importantly, just being part of the fun.

But the thing is, as much I like love a neighborhood garage sale, with hundreds of shoppers packed into a blocks-long parade of bargains, I rarely enter the fray. Instead, I stick to the fringe. I’m talking out-of-the-way cul-de-sacs, hidden driveways, and non-pedestrian-friendly terrain.

Seriously. This is how I’ve discovered some of my best scores. You’d be blown away by some of the stuff people grow tired of and sell at their sales. But I’ve also struck out with my “fringe” strategy and I’ve sometimes gone home empty handed.

What does this have to do with publishing? Everything.

One year ago, I was thrilled to be part of independent publishing. THE FRAY. The whole we’re-all-in-this-together vibe felt right. Yet twelve months later, I’m reconsidering my position… from the outer edge. THE FRINGE.

And here’s what I’ve discovered about myself: I still love writing, but I’m so out of love with publishing.

Some of this burnout has to do with time and money. Now that I’m working I have more money that I could spend on promotion. If I had the time. Which I don’t. Because I’d rather spend that time writing.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

I’m intentionally not hustling books in the fray. I’m on the fringe, where it’s damn near impossible to get “discovered” by readers, let alone sell any books. Yet it’s something I’ve had to come to terms with. Because telling stories makes me happy.

Which begs the question, am I still an indie author if I exist on the fringe?

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About Jamie Brazil

Humor writer, romance novelist, Bloodhound enthusiast.

Posted on July 21, 2014, in Jamie Brazil and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. May the fringe overtake the fray, and become the new mainstream :)

  2. We’ll have to chat about the difference between “fringe” and wherever I’d be labeled right now. “It’s all about the book.” Is what I heard for many years but that wasn’t the truth then, it was really all about the sales and no one in sales had a clue about the story.
    There’s always a new buzzword too, for what’s selling.

    You’re not a one-book-wonder, you’re a storyteller. Write your books. Make money so you can write your books, don’t make money to promote your books. There is a difference. It really is all about the book. The audience will come… :D

    • This “visibility” thing has me flummoxed. I guess what I am trying to ask is… why does it always come down to money?

      • I don’t think that visibility comes down to money. Sure, if you have $100K to throw at it you can be super visible, but in the amounts most of us can afford ($100-$200) it really doesn’t make a difference. It’s all about the LONG, LONG, LONG tail and more books. It’s about getting ten more readers this quarter, and three more readers the next, and building on that month after month. At some point (I don’t know yet when that point is) you reach critical mass. Hmmm. Sounds like a survey is in the offing. :)

  3. You are a talented multi-pubbed author in my book, Jamie! When you hear a music track you love, do you check to see if the musician is on the fringe, or do you just consider them a talented musician?

    • Thanks Sarah. I’d like to be able to find the talented musician again. Seriously, with music, I hear a lot of new indie stuff I like and I can never figure out who sang what and consequently only hear a new song by a new band once. Authors aren’t the only one with this problem.

  4. It used to be that “indie” and “fringe” were synonymous in publishing. Now “indie” is becoming as normalized as traditional publishing. I agree with Jessa though, it is about doing your own thing. The main thing is to love the writing. The rest will follow IMO. I’m really happy you are writing again!

  5. Indie by definition is doing your own thing. So more power to the fringe! And if later you decide to jump into the fray, that’s cool too. And if you want to swing wildly back and forth, you go, Tarzan girl :)

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