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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Is it a Good Idea to Call Yourself Indie?

Something struck me last week when I was in one of my writing groups. Most writers there call themselves indie when they talk about their books. And although they all write not all of them produce professionally published work.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to independent authors. Outside the writing world people think you only have the right to call yourself an author if you're backed by Penguin or Random House. People think that only those authors can produce such professional quality works.

But this is not true. Indies who are serious about treating writing as a business will be professional. They will take the time to make sure they produce quality books and they will spend the money to ensure a polished result. Their main goal will be to get their book into the hands of a reader who'll think this book is such a high standard they'll have a difficult time in telling it apart from a traditionally published book.

Unfortunately though not all self-published writers are like this. Many can't afford professional editing and cover design. Many still think they'll earn their fortune just by rushing their book and releasing what some would still consider a first draft. And unfortunately it's those kind of people who give the rest of us a bad name.

Trad-pubbed authors will already have a team of people behind them to ensure their book will reach a certain high standard. They will write their book and won't have to worry about finding money to pay their copy-editor as this is already included in the package.

So if you're an indie who takes writing seriously, why go to the bother of declaring yourself as self-published? If you're a writer then your goal will be the same as any other author. And that goal is to publish books.

Readers will look for a book they want to read. If it catches their eye then they will buy it. Readers won't care if you're backed by Penguin or not. If they want to read your book they'll read it. Whether you're an indie or not is not the point.


  1. I completely agree. When I tell people I'm an author I don't qualify it with adjectives like "self-published" or "independent." An author is an author, regardless of whether they self-publish or are traditionally published. Even the poorly written and/or edited book authors are authors, they just made a mistake by releasing the book too early.

    I do agree that the latter type of author gives other authors a bad name, but really, the good works of fiction will always rise to the top. Whether its through book reviews or word of mouth, the books worth reading will get the attention they deserve eventually.

  2. A phone message came in the other day--a fellow that found our woodwork designs on-line and decided there must be huge money in them. He designed a fence a decade ago and claims it still looks great and was convinced people would beat a path to buy "His Plan", if I were to produce it and release it through our site. He had it all planned out, how we would sign a confidentiality agreement, then he would share a photo of it with me after we worked out financial terms.

    I explained to him that if you keep what you create hidden away under lock and key--you don't really exist.

    Sometimes even if what you produce is not perfect, and you can't afford professional help, it is better to get it out there to see daylight, rather than sitting on a shelf. Honda's cars of the 60's were far from perfect, but over the years they did better.

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