On the 17th April, I posted an article about the six kinds of Indie published books. It raised some very interesting comments and ended up being a discussion of what constituted Indie publishing. I thought it better if we continued that discussion in a separate forum, so here it is. I’ve cppied the most pertinent comments here so you can see what’s already been raised. What we want to know is how you would define Indie publishing. Bear in mind that Indie is short for Independent, so we must ask ourselves, independent of what.
The discussion began with this comment by Nicola Slade.
I think I belong in yet another category, that of an author published by mainstream publishers who are actually Independent, ie family-owned like Robert Hale Ltd and the late Transita Ltd. There are plenty of independent small presses too.
This raises the issue of what constitutes Indie. I had this discussion with Andrew Jute and we decided that if you consider yourself Indie then you probably are. Many of us have seet up our own publishing companies, me included, mine is family run too but it only publishes my works. Indie to me means self published or Independant publishing where the author has a vested interest in the company
If you think you’re Indie, you are. Small publishers as well as self-publishers fit, at least in my definition. The Big 6 (including all of their imprints) and some of the largest houses that aren’t Big 6 (Harlequin, for example), clearly aren’t, and no author signed to any of those would consider themselves to be indie. – Booksandpals
The author has to have a stake in the business though. There are a lot of smaller publishers around that you can’t call Indie eg Carina Press. The tricky area is when something set up to publish one author’s book starts publishing others and authors have to go through the same sort of submission process. Then we have to ask, how much control does that author have over their final product and what is their relationship to the company.
Wait, are you saying that you don’t think an independent, small press that operates like a traditional/large publisher (i.e. the authors have minimal control and no ownership interest) is NOT an “indie” press? Certainly, “indie” presses that are simply an imprint/arm of a large, tradtional publisher (like Carina) fall in a “whole ‘nother’ category. LOL, this definately captures the problem of putting labels on things and of being clear when we define our terms. I just recently completed a ten part interview/guest blog post on the distinctions between tradtiional, indie, and self-publishing and my conclusion is that all these various options are a spectrum not seperate and distinct entities. Terri Bruce
Definitely a spectrum. See why Andrew said that if you think you’re Indie you’re Indie. That’s how I’m operating this at the moment. Mind you, as the Indie movement builds a positive reputation, we may have people saying they’re Indie just to get on the support wagon, so some sort of guidelines might be helpful for everyone.
I do think the distinction needs to be made between a small press and an author run press. My concept of Indie is an author publishing independantly of a traditionally run publishing house. Size isn’t what it’s about. There are new models arising where the author retains control of their work and those are the real Indie publishers eg Evolved Publishing. Even though they have a submission process, they are based on the idea of authors helping authors.
Perhaps in the end, it’s about values, not business models.
What do you think? Take it away folks.