By Mark Coker, Smashwords

As an indie author, you’re participating in a global cultural movement that’s turning the world of book publishing upside down.

Today on the Smart Author Podcast, I take a fresh look at the indie author movement by examining it within the context of the centuries-old struggle for free expression.

Back in 1450, the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press enabled mass production and communication of the written word. The printing press sparked enormous social, cultural and political upheaval as those in power sought to control free expression by controlling the printing press.

In this episode, I carry the story forward to the present day and explain how ebooks helped democratize book publishing by putting the printing press in the hands of all writers. Ebooks empowered writers to reach readers without running the gauntlet of agent and publisher gatekeepers.

I end the episode by reading and dissecting The Indie Author Manifesto, which I first wrote and published here on the Smashwords blog back in 2014. Back then, The Indie Author Manifesto was my attempt to articulate and celebrate the ethos behind this emerging class of writer – the Indie Author. It was fun to revisit the Indie Author Manifesto almost four years later.

When we look at the indie author movement through the lens of history, it’s fascinating to consider how gatekeepers in various forms have come and gone over the centuries, yet the battle over free expression continues.

History shows that words have value, and whenever something has value there will be those who try to control that value in ways that aren’t always aligned with your free expression.

Who are the new gatekeepers? Maybe I’ll tackle that question in a future episode.

Enjoy!

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