Most of us have embraced the term and have some idea what we mean by the concept. But there's a lot of confusion out there, with people using the term ‘indie' interchangeably with ‘self-publisher', and people meaning wildly different things when they use those words.
Here at The Alliance of Independent Authors we gave great thought to terminology when we were setting up. Were we going to be an alliance of self-publishers or independent authors? What was the difference, anyway?
Here are the conclusions we came to:
- Indie authorship and self-publishing are not quite synonymous but an independent author will have self-published at least one book.
- Going ‘indie' is, more than anything, an attitude of mind.
- ‘Indie' does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only' and even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers.
- Indies are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriat, so long as the author's status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
- Indie authors expect this equal partnership model to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
- Because it involves us in every part of the process, self-publishing is the most creative choice a writer can make, and very empowering.
- It does, however, require the writer to develop a variety of skills and aptitudes and keep up with a demanding and fast-changing environment. It is thus best suited to writers of an entrepreneurial bent.
- The shift from the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider') to author creative director of a book, from conception to completion and beyond, is revolutionary and is prompting trade (nonwriting) publishers to rethink what they do and how they do it.
- All of this is very good for writers. And what is good for writers can only be good for readers.
- Self-publishers are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider') to respecting the author as creative director.
- Self-publishers are now proud of the indie label, which they carry into all ventures, negotiations and collaborations for their own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.
That's how we see it. What do you think? Are you an indie? A self-publisher? What do those terms mean to you?