A stranger walks up to the reception desk at Fountains Court. ‘I’d like to buy a voucher’, he says …
‘certainly’ says I. (ignore the budgie, though do take note of books by the salt lamp)
… ‘for my wife,’ he says. ‘For her birthday, £50 please.’
I beam and take his card to make the transaction, from the corner of my eye I see him looking at the small stack of Homo spiritus lying on the counter. He picks one up, turns it over, sees my photo and glances at me.
‘You’ve written a book,’ he says.
‘Yes’, I say and hand him the card machine.
‘What’s it about?’ he asks, tapping in his pin number.
I pause, never an easy answer. Then I say, ‘it’s about you … and me … and every human being on this planet.’
He flicks me a ‘look’ and hands me back the card machine then continues to study the back cover. ‘Who are Farthing Publishers?’
His voice is pleasant enough; however, I feel a prickle of defence so quickly switch to Homo spiritus mode; dropping my shackles I breathe, smile and tell him they are a small, independent local publisher.
‘Did you try any of the big publishers?’ He asks.
‘No’, says I. ‘Never considered it, not for this book.’
‘Why’s that, then?’
‘You gotta be kidding,’ I say. ‘Finding an agent? Years to get it into print, if ever? Besides, I want to keep control, from conception to delivery and I’ve loved every step of the way.’ (Okay, just slightly defensive.)
I hand this mysterious man his voucher and he takes it and says, ‘aah, so you’re an Indie author, then.’
It wasn’t a question.
I blink. ‘I’m a what?’
‘Indie’ … it’s been around a while.’ He spells it for me. ‘Look it up.’
He reaches out to me and we shake hands.
He smiles. ‘Good luck, Helen Marriott.’
So I do look up Indie and it is short for ‘Independent’; it means following your own mind; it means being original; it means ‘going it alone’ despite what the mainstream does; it refers to music, film, fashion, books, or just being you.
I then realise two things, Indie can also mean Transformational Change because that too starts with the individual; secondly, so many of my friends on face book and twitter are Indies … florists, crafts, jewellers, film makers, astrologers, poets, music and song writers, or individuals with a unique sense of dress, cake-bakers …
Lastly … despite low or zero profit, Indies do what they do, anyway.
I salute you ALL.