What is an independent or “indie” author anyway? Think of it like an indie filmmaker or indie musician. An indie author is someone who assumes full responsibility for the publication of their books, including editing, formatting, cover design, distribution, and marketing. Indie publishing is a form of self-publishing, but it shouldn’t be confused with vanity publishing or with individuals whose only goal is to write a book and make it available.
Indie authors are often called author-entrepreneurs because they handle both the writing and business side of their careers, taking on the roles of author, agent, and publisher. They usually don’t work alone, but build a team of professionals to assist them with various tasks (that’s where businesses like Goldenwood Press can help). Some indie authors go “hybrid,” using both self and traditional publishing, depending on their goals for their work.
Being successful as an indie author requires a great deal of professionalism and hard work, as well as perseverance. Not only does the indie author write and publish, they must also handle all the distribution and marketing for their work. The benefit for the indie author is full creative control and keeping the rights to their own work. Books will never be back-listed or given covers the author doesn’t like, royalties are better, and the author doesn’t have to worry about earning out an advance or being dropped by their publisher.
The publishing world is changing, slowly shifting away from large traditional publishers as more authors choose to publish independently or with small presses. Traditional publishing will always have its place, and may be the best choice for many writers, but no longer is it the only choice. That kind of free market benefits both authors and readers, who are no longer limited by what an agent or editor thinks is marketable.
If you’d like to learn more about indie publishing, here are some great resources:
The Creative Penn website – https://www.thecreativepenn.com/
Alliance of Independent Authors Self-Publishing Advice Center – https://selfpublishingadvice.org/