I enjoy discovering new authors, and I love to support indie authors in particular. I applaud their entrepreneurial spirit and admire the courage and hard work that it takes to launch their book into the world.
I recognize that there is a great deal of talent out there. But I have to admit, in reading their works, that I have noticed one major flaw. It isn't that indie authors aren't as good as traditionally published authors. It's that they are not pushed to the limits of their talent.
In traditional publishing, you get the dreaded rewrites. Your agent loves your book, but based on his years of experience, he knows what sells and doesn't sell. He zeroes in on a few weak points – raise the stakes here, too repetitive there, strengthen the voice and arc of your character – and sends it back to you. That process, I believe, stretches an author to her fullest potential.
The final product may or may not be that good, but it is the best the author had to give. When I read a novel by an indie author, especially someone I'm familiar with, I can see spots where they just missed the mark. And it makes me sad, because I know that with just a couple of tweaks, that book could have been amazing.
So, is this indeed a fatal flaw for indie authors? No. It's not fatal at all, as Ms. Amanda Hocking can attest. Most readers are there for the story, and if it's a good story, they are willing to forgive an awful lot. They take it at face value and most likely won't even notice that it could have been better here and there.
But as an author, that's not good enough for me. I want to be pushed to the limits of my talent, I want to be forced to eke out just a little bit more, I want to grow. I want my books to be amazing. I don't want to be the next Amanda Hocking, I want to be the next Kathryn Stockett.