I know you are, but what am I?

My friend Kayla Olson brought something to my attention this morning. She pointed me to a rant, posted anonymously by someone at a book review site, screaming at DIY authors like me using the term “Indie,” as in Indie author or Indie publisher. Their contention was that Indie was a term coined by vanity presses to scam would-be clients into believing they were legitimate independent presses.

So, what’s the definition of independent press? Traditionally, it applied to a small trade press. Now, that definition has been muddied because vanity publishers have adopted the use of the term and self-published authors refer to themselves as “Indie published.”  Am I self-published, then? Well … not if the definition of self-published means you only sell your books directly, which is how some define the term.

I don’t want to insult anyone by usurping a term I’m not entitled to use. I also don’t want to slap an unwarranted negative label on my work. I am the author, publisher, book designer, and cover artist for The Brevity of Roses. It’s a first-class job on all levels. Label it how you will. I don’t think readers care. So, for clarification—I’m an AUTHOR.

Update:  You’ll notice in my sidebar over there —> that my book is now available in digital formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The print version will be available at Amazon within a week, I hope.

Support your local indie, self-published, DIY author!


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34 thoughts on “I know you are, but what am I?

  1. Your use of “Indie” has bothered me, too. I think of an independent publisher as a small group that publishers. You market through other businesses (good job on that, by the way!) but published on your own. In my mind, that makes you a self-published creator (that is, more than the author), a do-it-yourselfer, and an individual e-publisher–but not an independent publisher.

    Regardless, you are your own business. Use whatever marketing term makes sense to you.

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    1. Oh, Ann, never hesitate to point out my errors. I had no idea I might be offending, or misleading, anyone by using that term. Live and learn. From now on, it’s safer to refer to myself as a published author, plain and simple. 🙂

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  2. Just today, I’ve had it up to HERE with people setting rules about what fiction is and is not, how it should be written and how it should not. And all from someone whose output is technical journals and the most banal of zombie tosh. Add to that the discovery that life writing does not have to be true, and that there is such a thing a prose poetry, and frankly, the rule makers can go..
    Ok, best stop there! Indie means that it is independent, produced by ones own hand or under one’s direct control, in my view. Everything else is someone’s prejudicial or preferential bias. One’s product will be worthwhile or it will not be worthwhile to someone somewhere, no matter how it came into being. Stand by your quality, I say, and go with whatever suits you best.
    #nothavinganannoyingencounterwithidiotstodayatall

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      1. Ha – he hasn’t even started on me yet so I’m getting ruffled on behalf of everyone he has given the benefit of his pompous diatribes! For you though, yes, world renowned best selling author fits nicely 🙂

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    1. Exactly. Indie means independent. And indie publisher and indie author are two different things. You’re not usurping anything. You have every right to call yourself indie when you’re paying your own way.

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      1. Thanks for sharing your opinion, LK. I’ve seen the “indie publisher and indie author are two different things” statement before, but I’m still confused on WHO is an indie publisher. If you “form” your own publishing company and own your ISBNs, are you an indie publisher?

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  3. Hi, Linda. Perhaps simply “author” is the best word. There are so many strikes against writers; if someone has written a book, seen it published and gotten someone else to read it…they’re an author.
    Have a great week.

    -Jimmy

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  4. “she sent me a rant” — To clarify, the rant I sent Linda was NOT written by me, hehe. I ran across it in blogosphere land and thought I’d (rather neutrally) bring it to her attention, because it was a perspective I hadn’t heard before. 🙂 I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this, too!

    And…actually, rather than “Indie” being “synonymous with small trade press,” I kind of got the picture the ranter felt the term was synonymous with “scammers posing as legitimate small presses,” since it was a term coined by those scam presses. The ranter’s fear was that many self-published writers with good intentions were unknowingly associating themselves with, and therefore legitimizing, those scam presses, simply by using the term “Indie” those scam presses had coined.

    I’m certainly no authority on the term or its history, but I thought it was worth mentioning that this perspective exists. Since Linda is a dear friend and I have such high respect for her work ethic and her writing, I brought it up, because she IS legitimate, and I’d hate for anyone to think she’s not.

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    1. Sorry, Kayla, I didn’t mean to leave it open to misinterpretation that YOU were the ranter. I’ve changed that in the post. 🙂

      And you are correct that the rant pointed out that “indie” was coined by vanity presses to deceive, just as they also call themselves “independent publishers” deceptively. There are certainly legitimate independent publishers, small press publishers, and I’ve seen them referred to as “Indie,” so I was unaware that term had any bad reputation. I will no longer use that term to refer to these publishers.

      In short, it was my mistake to use a term I hadn’t researched and didn’t fully understand. I now have the task of correcting my usage in any previous posts.

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  5. Ooh. TOO MUCH “PC”. methinks we doth protest a bit too much. Indie music, indie movies, indie authors. I first thought they were from India. 🙂 independent is good enough for me.

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  6. Linda, I have LOVED catching up on all your news and excitement. So much to celebrate–I love your new header; it’s my favorite of all you have had. And your book–just amazing that you will soon be able to hold a copy in your hands. I’m going to order a print copy so I can hold it in mine. And over 8000!!!! hits–wow. Perhaps you will blow some of your magic dust my way…

    Congratulations to you!

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia. You always say the nicest things. Don’t give up hope of being Freshly Pressed … and if it does happen, I hope it’s when you’ve written one of your loveliest posts. I hope you’ll let me know what you think after you read Brevity.

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  7. Language evolves. I don’t mind being called indie or calling myself indie. To the public at large, it doesn’t really matter as long as I can tell a story, does it?

    Too many people in and around this publishing world get very uptight about things that really are internal debates and kind of a waste of energy worrying about. Call yourself whatever you want to call yourself, Linda–but *always* call yourself an author, because you are!

    Amy

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  8. Either way, the book is published. I don’t understand why some people put weight on whether it has been published by a big house, small house, or self-published. It’s the quality of the work that matters.
    But I’m not an expert on the publishing industry (thought I should start looking up info).

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    1. I agree, Bianca, it’s the quality that matters. And we all know that’s not something the “big house” can guarantee, but still there’s a stigma to be published any other way. I’m working on an upcoming post about that. I’ll try not to scream too much. 🙂

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  9. ::breaks into song::
    “You say, to-MAY-toe, and I say to-MAH-toe!”

    Well, now that ‘vampire’TM is a trademarked word, I understand that folks get into snit-fits over labels, but really – I think it’s possible to get carried away with who’s called what.

    As my mother used to say, “Call me anything but late to dinner.”

    And, congratulations!!!

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  10. Try as you might, you’re bound to offend someone, somewhere at sometime. Accept that now and prepare for it. And don’t let them get to you.
    You are published. Who cares about the rest. 🙂

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  11. I like the comments here and agree that in the end you’re an author, plain and simple. I’m published. Period. I published myself, and now I’m with a small publishing house. It doesn’t matter. My work is what maters – and the journey. 🙂

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  12. Come on print version! You know, published is published! It takes hard work, guts, and time to prepare a novel. You stuck with it and didn’t give up. I’m with the masses on this one, in that I don’t care how a book makes its way to my hands, as long as the story is good.

    PS – The roses did have their first full bloom. I’ll post a picture of the Memorial Day – all I can say is WOW, the sweetness in my garden. However, I suspect it’s not near as sweet as it was for you to hit that publish button. 🙂

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    1. I know, T.A. I check Amazon every hour. 😉

      Yes, I know, these publishing things don’t matter to readers. And now that I’ve hit that publishing button, that’s where my focus lies.

      I have some minis blooming, but none of the others yet. Well, maybe I should look outside before I say that. 😉

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