Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A little rant about "Indie" Authors

I am an indie author!

So why am I ranting about indie authors if I am one?

If you read my blog post last week, you know I spent this past weekend at the Lori Foster RAGT in West Chester, Ohio. While I was there, I ran into an author who said she was indie. Okay. No problem. So am I.

But, wait. According to her...and many others like her...I'm not.

Why? Because I'm with a small publisher. I'm not self published like she is.

This isn't the first time this has come up. A friend of mine went to an "indie" conference last year. On the website it was very welcoming and said all authors were invited. If you contacted the organizers, however, you found out that this wasn't the case. The conference was only for self published authors.

It seems that for whatever reason some self published authors have decided to banish those who are published with small publishers from their ranks.

This makes no sense to me.

Whenever I think of indie, or independent, when it comes to films, records, and more recently, book publishing, I think of stuff not with the big boys. Given my recent encounters, I decided to do a little research.

Growing up, I was always taught to go to the dictionary first, so that's what I did.


  [in-dee]  Show IPA Informal.
an independently owned business: to work for an indie.
(of a person) self-employed; (of a business) privately owned: an indie film producer.


Notice self-employed is only one of the listings. To my knowledge, most, if not all of the small indie publishers are privately owned. According to the definition, this makes them indie as well. 

Most small publishers have had to go through the same challenges and struggles self published authors go through. And yes, the small published authors do have their publisher behind them, but in many cases that is maybe one or two people. How is this different than the co-ops that many self published authors have formed? Not a lot. 

Why are we segregating? Many were upset at the RT convention this year when traditional publishers and indie publishers were put in separate rooms. How is this different? We all do the same thing. We write books.


  1. Actually, she was wrong. An "indie-published" author is one with a small, non-traditional (ie non-indie) publisher. Someone who publishes their own stuff is self-published. I don't know why self-published authors (and I'm one, as well as indie-published) started calling themselves "indie-published" unless it was because of the past stigma of the "self-published" label.

  2. I agree thtat we're all writers and we should stop putting ourselves in little boxes. But I do understand why they do this. There are opportunities at conferences to hang with your publisher. When you're with a small publisher, you belong to a small group of authors. I think these people are simply trying to replicate that kind of group for self-published writers. That is one of the drawbacks of self-publishing. I'm a "hybrid" with a foot in both camps. I see their point-of-view. It doesn't bother me to be excluded. I get that they need to be part of a group, like I am with Secret Cravings.

  3. *(ie non-traditional) not (ie non-indie) Shows what happens when I don't have enough coffee. LOL

  4. The terms seem to be used pretty much interchangeably in the music business. I'm not sure why publishing has gotten so contentious over it. If you're self-publishing, you're a small publisher. You do all the work--hopefully seriously and well--so why aren't you an indie along with all the other self-publishers? Just like so many small press pubs have only one or two people on staff, and so they're indie, as well, in addition to fitting the definition of not belonging to the publishing conglomerate. Writers as a whole seem to have a weird need to categorize everybody--not just for shelving, but to create an "us vs. them" mentality that I find pretty useless.

  5. Pfft. A writer's a writer's a writer. (and I say this as a professional editor) What matters is the strength of the vision, the craft of the writing, the ability to touch a reader, create a living character... all the things that have nothing to do with who publishes you.

    If we all (myself included) spent more time on the craft of writing and less time on the how/where of the hierarchy of how it gets to a reader, we'd all be reading better books.