Monday, July 25, 2011

The Worlds of Indie and Self Publishing are Colliding

The face of publishing is changing. Traditional hardcover, original paperbacks, trade and mass marketed paperbacks are suddenly finding themselves competing with eBooks and POD publishing. The days of worrying about submission policies and fretting over rejection letters are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With sites like Lulu, Blurb, Booksurge, and Createspace, the ways in which a writer can become a published author are seemingly endless.

In this new era of publishing, the line between true indie authors and self published authors is becoming extremely blurred. The word "indie", as we know it, is evolving. No longer is it exclusively used to describe small press and not-for-profit publishing houses. Self published authors are now appropriating the word to describe themselves.

Which, if you look at the definition of "indie", may actually make a fair bit of sense:

1. One that is unaffiliated with a larger or more commercial organization
2. An artistic work produced by an independent company or group

A few months ago, in an effort to better understand this movement or evolution of self published authors who suddenly began referring to themselves as indies, I created a monthly series for my blog, called On "Being Indie" - where I invited traditionally published authors, true indie authors, and self published authors to define what being indie meant to them. Here's what a few of them had to say:
  • Self published author and owner of Lorena B Books, Lorena Bathey: " I like the moniker Indie author because it fits the definition more than simply self-published. As an Indie author you must be writer, editor, printer, sales, marketing, publicity, and promoter all rolled into one."
  • Self published author and owner of {Tiny TOE Press}, Michael Davidson: "Indie writers create their thing on the outside, prepared for a litany of small failures...There's infinite hope".
  • Self published author Penelope Fletcher: "To me, an Independent Author is a creative soul who understands the fundamental need to be business orientated".
  • (Upcoming) Traditionally published author James Boice: "The term indie... connotes something, and it is this: underdog".
  • (Upcoming) Traditionally published author David Maine: "..indie writers... can be trusted to know their own work, and their own talents, and their own strengths as storytellers, as well as or even better than the editors and marketers in the publishing industry".

I could post these definitions all night long, and I guarantee that no two would be exactly alike. But I think you are catching the gist of it, right?

The interesting thing to note, the thing I've been seeing more and more recently, is the self published author's tendency to create their own publishing company - which I've read is quite cheap and easy to do. Pay a fee, fill out a few forms, think up a unique name, and voila... you are no longer a self publisher, but owner, publisher, editor, marketer and independent author!

I want to introduce you to two wonderful independent presses that were created by authors who wanted to publish their own work, but who also willingly took on the responsibility of all other aspects of publishing for other writers:

Artistically Declined - Owner and independent author Ryan Bradley
Curbside Splendor - Owner and independent author David Victor Giron

I recently attended a local book expo at my library, where I had an opportunity to meet Mary Shafer of The Word Forge, and listen to her speak about the pros and cons of self publishing. She explained that we are on the cusp of a major paradigm change - the world of "dead tree" publishing versus POD and Digital publishing. She likened it to turn of the century, when the world made the change from horse and buggies to automobiles.

There are those of us that cling to the traditional ways, that appreciate the book as an object, while the younger generations are moving forward with digital technology. They recognize that with this new digital technology comes a whole slew of advantages, some of which have created unlimited advantages for the self publishing crowd.

Here's an informative video that lays out the pros and cons of self publishing....
So whether you are a true indie author, published through an independent press where you went through the traditional submission, rejection, and acceptance process - or you decided to self publish via LuLu or Createspace - OR you decided to meld the two by creating your own publishing company and self publishing to the tune of indie author.... there is a growing space for you out there in the publishing world. And it's expanding every day. And there are more and more bloggers and book reviewers out there, like me, who are willing to support you and help spread the word.

And when the dust from those worlds colliding has settled, will self published and indie authors be standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder, on equal ground? Will the public start to see self published authors as more than editorially and compositionally inferior to true indie and traditionally published authors?

Come find out as I discuss this in even greater detail at the Indie Book Event this coming Saturday (July 30th) in NYC at the New Yorker Hotel!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lori,

    Such a comprehensive post you made here. You're creating quite a discussion. I love what your doing with this series. Really glad to have been a part of it and I can't wait to see where it goes. These are exciting times for self-published/indie writers to say the least.