Most folks in the writing/publishing bag probably use the term “Indie publishing” to mean small, independent presses that are, for all their smallness, still publishers in the traditional sense: they accept submissions, chose what works they will put out into the world, and then produce and promote them for the author, either in print or electronic form or both.
But I am seeing the phrase thrown around a lot now to signify those who are really self-publishers, authors who do all the work themselves, or at least arrange for and pay for it to be done: writing, formatting, distributing, and marketing.
I chose the self-publishing route for my old novel, Dis/inhibition, mostly because it is over-written and the amount of work it would take to cut it down to a size acceptable for traditional publishers would be counter-productive at this point. I have been working on the novel for 15-20 years now. It has evolved and changed as I have; it has been workshopped, writing-coached, grammar-and-punctuation picked, beta-read, updated for the 21st century, and fact-checked over and over. It is not a perfect piece, but it is a good piece, and needs to see the light of day so I can move on to my current writing projects. That is long overdue.
But ironically, if I had attempted to self-publish it even five years ago, it would have been a whole different experience. Self-publishing isn’t what it used to be. In the age of the eBook, with a little smarts and perseverance, you can get a book out there to a lot of readers and by-pass traditional publishing outlets all together without ending up a “lifetime 15-units sold” dilettante.
I am going to blurble on to anyone who wishes to read about the journey I have been on to get this book out the door, but not all in one entry like I planned ’cause as it turns out, it’s kind of involved. And it’s not even nearly done yet. I had planned to pimp my book in my journal once it was “out there”, never counting on all the various stages and steps of “out there” there are. Dis/inhibition is still half “out there.”
The Kindle version is available, and has been since the first of the month, because their Direct Publishing service means I did not have to rely on a Print On Demand service to distribute it, like I do the version for the Nook and iTunes. The iTunes version is also out there as of this week. Apple is quicker than Barnes and Noble at adding new releases. I also have an “ePub” eBook format version live on Lulu.com (my POD service) and Smashwords.com–although the book sample on Smashwords is giving me format grief at the moment.
Incidentally, you will see a print version of the book at Lulu, and you can buy it if you want, but I have not approved it for distribution beyond Lulu at the moment, due to printing issues with the cover.
More on that to come. I am going to write separately about the four stages of grief: writing, formatting, distributing, and marketing a self-published book in later entries.
* Self-published authors can also self-coin terms to their advantage. There’s a whole community of self-published authors out there now who swap tips and pimps and build websites for the same and call themselves “Indies.” Who needs the big Publishing Houses, or even the itty bitty ones (online or off) anymore? Not these guys, that’s for sure.
As for my next book, I am going to make every attempt to find an agent and a publisher.