I am an artist. I am a dreamer.
I dream of writing and sharing great stories. I dream of meeting amazing and supportive readers. I dream of interacting with and supporting my fellow authors.
I don’t care which path leads to me my dream. For me, it’s about the journey and the destination, not the vehicle in which I travel.
I personally know many “big” traditionally published authors, small press authors, self-published authors, and writers-who-will-one-day-be-published-somehow. I do not classify them by their path, or their vehicle. I learn their names and respect them for pursuing their dream.
Sometimes I read and watch quietly from the sidelines, as some (not all) authors, agents, editors, readers, reviewers and others in this storytelling business, argue or defend or scheme or belittle or throw stones, and I think, “Why?”
For the love of books, why can’t we all just get along?
I’ve heard some ambitious people talk about how they want to knock down the walls that separate traditional and indie authors and publishers. I understand the concept, but I don’t want to knock down anything—or anyone.
Instead, I want to throw a grand and beautiful garden party. Fantastic music and twinkle lights will lure everyone out from behind their walls to gather together under the same big sky. Competition and negativity will melt away as people smell the flowers and breathe in fresh air, meet and mingle, dance like no one is watching, and eat dessert first.
Name tags are optional, labels aren’t allowed, and no one cares how you were published, how big your deal was, your number of sales, how many followers you have, or the number of comments you receive. The simple fact that you are an artist, and a dreamer, and an eternal work-in-progress means that you are welcome and—as if there was ever any doubt—you are a VIP.
One of America’s greatest leaders, Martin Luther King Jr, was also a dreamer. I’m going to borrow the groundwork of his most famous speech, but adapt it to fit my dream for the world of storytelling.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the current stereotypes and upheaval of the publishing world, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this world will rise up and understand the true meaning of writer: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all authors are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the drama-filled pages of the internet, the sons and daughters of former slaves to the Big-Six-Is-All-That-Matters way of thinking will be able to sit down together at a table of readerhood.
I have a dream that one day even indie and self-published books, which currently exist in a world of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into a reader's paradise of justice and originality.
I have a dream that my fellow authors, no matter how they are published, will one day live in a world where they will not be judged by the name and size of their publisher, but by the content and quality of their stories.
I have a dream today.
Tell me, dreamers, what’s your dream?
Karen Hooper writes young adult paranormal and fantasy, and is the author of TANGLED TIDES and GRASPING AT ETERNITY. She is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. Some of her addictions include coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.