Publishing labels are important and using them properly is critical
I often use the terms of self-publishing and indie-publishing interchangeably. I shouldn’t.
They mean different things. So what’s the difference?
That’s a great question. I turned to my friend Google to investigate. It turns out Google doesn’t know. It simply confirmed a lack of consensus. Here are the findings of my research:
- Self-publishing and indie-publishing are not the same thing. However, the difference is a matter of perspective.
- Self-publishing and indie-publishing both emerge as alternatives to traditional publishing. And we need those alternatives.
- Self-publishing may be a subset of indie-publishing.
- The difference between self-publishing and indie-publishing may boil down to attitude.
Here are my thoughts on the matter.
- Self-publishing finds its roots in vanity publishing, a pay-to-be-published model. (Though four years ago I asserted that attitudes have changed and traditional publishing is the new vanity publishing, offering a stamp of validation that I, for one, want.)
- Self-publishing is all about art, and making money from art isn’t the point—or so they say.
- The motivation of self-publishing is making books available to the public.
- The hardcore self-publisher does everything, from cover design, to editing, to interior layout, to marketing. Unfortunately it shows in the final product. And for that reason I hate reading self-published books.
- Self-publishing finds its place with the writing hobbyist.
- Indie-publishing finds its roots in the entrepreneurial spirit.
- Indie-publication is a for-profit endeavor with a clear objective to monetize the value of books as a business.
- The motivation of indie-publishing is profit from the art of books.
- The indie publisher assembles a team, tapping others to assist with the publishing process, from cover design, to editing, to interior layout, to marketing.
- Indie-publishing finds its place with the writing professional.
From all this, I realize that when I say I plan to self-publish some of my books, I really mean indie-publishing. Though I view my writing as art, I also see the results as a business opportunity. And I’ve been an entrepreneur longer than I’ve been a writer—though not by much.
Yes, I still have a goal to traditionally publish some books. I also plan to indie-publish other books. Together they will help me to one day make a living writing full time.