By Guest Blogger, April L. Hamilton, Founder & Editor In Chief of Publetariat
And the Author of The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use
I cannot claim to have coined the term “indie author”, but I’ve worked hard to popularize it, and I’ll tell you why.
First, while it can be said that all indie authors are self-publishers, the reverse is not necessarily true. A self-publisher can be someone who simply sent a big check to an author services company in order to have that company turn her manuscript into a book, allowing the company to handle everything from editing to cover design and more. An indie author is more like the producer of his book. He may not be doing all the various tasks involved in bringing his book to market himself, but he manages the overall process, schedule, budget, and the hiring of any needed professional services for things like layout, design, editing and marketing.
This brings me to my second point: as the producer of her book, an indie author is to her book as an indie filmmaker is to his film, or as an indie musician is to his music. All three of these artists are bringing their works to an audience without the assistance, or even involvement, of any corporate middlemen.
The third reason why the term “indie author” needs to exist is the historical stigma surrounding the term “self-publisher”. Until very recently, the latter term was primarily used with derision when describing anyone who’d invested his own money to publish his book instead of getting a traditional, mainstream publishing contract. All self-published books were, and in some small circles still are, assumed to be of inferior quality. Sometimes semantics must change to reflect a new reality.
Savvy authors and would-be authors have come to understand that very often, a compelling business case can be made for self-publishing instead of going the traditional route. There’s not only more freedom, flexibility and control in self-publishing, there can be a lot more money in it for the author as well. Author J.A. Konrath, who has many mainstream-published titles to his name, has discovered the royalties on his self-published Kindle books run much higher than those for the Kindle books brought out by his publisher(s).
This is partly because the publisher keeps a cut on every sale, partly because publishing houses tend to price their ebooks a lot higher than indie authors do (which discourages numerous sales), and partly because big publishers often don’t bother releasing ebook editions of their back-catalog titles to begin with.
So don’t be too quick to assume the term “indie author” is nothing more than a cynical re-branding move for any self-publisher. True indie authors are both artists and businesspeople, and they deserve no less respect than their peers in music and film.
April L. Hamilton used the CreateSpace platform to originally publish her book, The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use