Well, I was with you until you said "pretentious things like that." It sounds like anyone who challenges the status quo is perceived as pretentious. I'm not sure I think my suggestion is pretentious. And I don't believe all writers enter the market as equals either. A debut traditionally published author is most likely going to get more exposure than a debut self-published author. Yes, it's hard if not harder because you have to avoid the minefield of being cliche, trending familiar ground too much, being predictable, etc. etc. I think it's actually very hard to write epic fantasy without being too homogenous to the point in which every story stays the same. Those writing epic fantasy that I admire buck the tropes or turn them on their heads. That's why they're successful. I've said several times that it would just be nice to have more choices when it comes to fantasy. Self-publishers have more a chance of doing so than traditional publishers is all I'm saying because they don't have gatekeepers telling them something won't sell. It's up to them if they decide it's worth trying to sell or not. Forums factor into what I meant about advance reviews and social media, although I didn't mention that. Unless every single book you read is told to you by someone else in person. In any case, we're talking in circles. You seem to have strong opinions on the lack of need to distinguish indie writers, while I have strong opinions that they do need to be. You think my suggestion makes no sense, so let's just leave it at that. You're not going convince me and I'm not going to convince you. I have enjoyed trying to convince you though. I don't normally find myself passionate about anything enough to have the energy to argue it.