I love reading. I love writing. I can't imagine ever NOT doing one or the other. And even as I'm pushing off finishing the last story I'm doing this week (so I can poke around on my longer pieces, I really need to get the next fairy tale one cooking and the next JKC AND this scifi one running around in my head...), I'm doing it because I'm reading another author's stuff, and finding I like it. There's just something about finding a story that you like, that speaks to you, to some part of your brain which hadn't been lit up before... a combination of words which evoke a certain mood or feel or image... just something about that that's sexy.
Online publishing is probably the best thing to happen to readers. You can find anything online, and usually for free. What this means is that a lot of people's secret worlds are opened up to you, worlds you never would have found before. Yeah, some of them might be disgusting--and trust me, the one I read last week was like... THIS is NOT BLOCKED?!--and some might be written stupidly, but for the most part, people put a part of themselves into these books, and they push them gently out into the world, hoping for someone to trip across them. Sure, it might be for money, or it might be just to share what you're thinking about... but they're all taking that chance and putting something out there. Let me tell you what... you can definitely tell when someone is just phoning it in too. That's not wrong, really, but it's not what writing's about really... not to me. To me, it's putting a piece of yourself down on paper and sharing that with the world. It's entertaining people.
Of course, the big authors do that, and they do that well. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and I've read every single one of his books, even the bad ones. But, you know, it's Stephen King. The man's fucking brilliant when it comes to evoking horror. A new author is going to look at that, and give up, which is a shame. If you can get even just one reaction out of people, then you've done well! Of course, it might not be the reaction you want... but it's still doing something. Something you've done is making an effect on someone else. You're making them see what you want them to see, feel what you want them to feel. It's... I don't know how to explain that.
So, with the advent of so many independent authors, it's like being a kid in a candy store. Yeah, a lot of the self-pubs aren't going to have the polish of the more "legitimate" authors, but you know, review. Tell them that. Buy their books if you like the sample, or borrow them on KU... and fucking TELL THEM what you liked and didn't like. That way, they'll get better, be encouraged, and put more stuff out there. It's a hard thing putting that little piece of yourself out there for anyone to read and shit all over. The compliments a writer gets makes it worthwhile. Even if it's smut. Who fucking cares? We're in the 21st century, I think us MURICANS should get over our prude attitudes about smut and fucking. We all fuck, we pretty much all read or watch smut. Be fucking proud of it. Stand up and tell people, "I like to read about tentacles and futa girls! I think being fucked by a werewolf is hot! Give me more finger-dicks! Give me more butt fucking raptor men!"
Well, ok, maybe don't shout all that from the rooftops, but you get the idea. Support your indie authors, encourage them to write more and give more of themselves to the world. You won't be sorry you did, and you'll make someone's day a very, very bright one. If nothing else, leave a review because of that.