I’ve been seeing a trend over the past couple of years (maybe longer) where self-published authors are beginning to cast away the title “self-published” in favor of “independently published author,” or “indie author.”
I love the title “independently published author.”
Now, this isn’t to say I’m opposed to the term “self-published.” In fact, I use this word in the title of one of my books: The Essential Self-Publishing Guide: How to Publish Your Book On Any Budget! Now, the reason I use “self-publishing” in the title is because I want to be able to get the book into the hands of people who are looking for the information I provide. Within the book, however, I go on to use the term “independent publishing” and to further encourage the use of that term.
So, is there really a difference between “self-published” and “independently published?” Yes and no. For most of us, I think the “self” in “self-published” is a little misleading. No one really publishes a book alone.
Writing the first draft of your book is usually a solitary endeavor, but after that, your book will likely wind up in the hands of numerous people before it is published. From beta readers to editors to proofreaders to cover artists, there are many people who will help you on your publishing journey.
There’s an entire village of people available to help you along the way. Self-publishing isn’t about doing everything yourself. No, not at all. If you’re
self-publishing publishing independently, it means you’re in charge of the process. You choose your team. You keep your royalties. You’re the boss of your own business.
As an independently published author, I have enlisted the help of dozens of people in order to get my books published. I have also had the pleasure of being part of many publishing teams as a beta reader, critique partner, or editor.
If you’re a writer who is working toward publishing a book (whether traditionally or independently), the best thing you can do is to network with other writers. You can join a local critique group, or join one of the thousands of groups on Facebook. Reach out. You don’t have to write – or publish – alone!
Check out my Author Resources page to find of list of promotional sites and other helpful places where writers can go to find help.
3 thoughts on “It Takes a Village to Publish a Book”
I have been an independent publisher since 2012. I support an editor, a Web guy, beta readers, and a narrator – when I can afford to publish an audio book. Initially, I have been helped by you and other bloggers. You opened the door. You are my village. Word of mouth is my main advertising. Still, there seems to be a stigma against calling us independent publishers, although, when musicians follow the same process they are independents, as are independent movie makers bankrolling their own films. It’s frustrating that we the keepers of the words, who rather make it on our own, are punished with antiquated labels and scorn. I do have hopes that maybe in my lifetime I’ll see a push away from the big six (or is it five now?) publishers. Maybe then we can carry the title that we have worked so hard for.
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I consider you part of my village as well, Alexie. I feel proud and honored to have read your books and to know you, at least online.
You’ve made some very good points. It seems like there is a stigma no matter what we do – unless we follow the old publishing model where the gatekeepers (agents, big publishers) run the whole show.
As far as most readers are concerned, we can just label ourselves “authors” and that’s all they need to know. They don’t care if we’re indie or traditionally published. They just want a good book.
There’s a new set of gatekeepers, though, who force us to “out” ourselves as indie or self-published time and time again. These are the brick-and-mortar bookstores, the reviewers, the bloggers to exclude all indies without giving any of us a chance. Most bookstores don’t have room for indie books. Really, they don’t have room on their shelves for most traditionally published books either. But it’s always the indies who are excluded first. It’s the same with reviewers and bloggers – they have been inundated with “review my book” requests, and so the easiest thing (for many of them) has been to adopt a “no self-pubbed author” policy. And, so, our books aren’t judged solely on their merits – they are judged, first, on the fact that they are self-published.
(Wow, we could probably write an entire blog post on this subject alone!)
I agree with you. I hope I live to see the day when we are “just” authors. We’ve earned it.
Great point! I certainly didn’t do the editing or the cover art for my books. I had to hire people to do these things. When I think about it the way you presented, independently published is a much more fitting term.
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