Why we should use “indie” instead of “self-published”

Self-published. I hate that term. It’s dirty and carries negativity even now with so many writers publishing their books themselves. Many people think if you’re self-published you’re not a real author. You weren’t good enough to hack it with a publishing company so you published your book yourself. I’ve read the comments. Some were from authors who “self-published”.

“I know I’m not a real author because I self-published…”

Let’s get one thing straight. An author is an author no matter what publishing route they take. One is not superior to the other. They’re just different, each with their own set of challenges.

We call a musician who writes, records, and sells his or her own music an indie; an artist who sells his or her own handmade items online or at craft sales an indie; and someone who makes his or her own movies an indie. But a writer who publishes his or her own book is called self-published instead.

Publishing your own book is challenging. You write the book, find and hire an editor and/or find beta readers, and find and hire a cover designer. Or if you’re a designer, you create your own covers. You need to either format your own book or hire someone to do it. Then you need to upload your finished book to the various retailers (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles etc) or to a third party company (Smashwords) who distributes it for you. If you’re doing print copies of your book you need to plan for that. Decide if you want to print a bunch ahead of time or go with print on demand. Then you need to market the book. Or hire a company to help you with editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing.

You are your own publishing company. And you need to fund it yourself. Either from your own pocket, sales from your other published books, or from fundraising campaigns (Kickstarter, Patreon etc). And that’s a whole other challenge. If you want your books in a physical store, you need to convince the store to carry your books. And there’s more than what I described. All while writing the next one.

So it’s time we stop degrading writers who publish themselves. It’s time we stop thinking they’re unworthy. Start using the term indie. Call them indie-authors. We need to give them credit for the work they do. Because they deserve the same respect other indie-artists get.