What is Indie Publishing?

I recently added a new page to my blog specifically for authors/writers. To aid in that page, I have decided to write up a couple of posts with some questions readers and authors alike may have. The first question is:

What is Indie Publishing and how is it different from Traditional Publishing?


Authors who are independently published are often asked this question. It’s not an easy question to answer, either, but I’ll give it a try.

Some Differences:

Indie authors have to do their own writing, editing, proofreading, cover art, formatting, and marketing. Traditional authors do their own writing and some editing (with the possible exception of marketing).

Indie authors get a higher percentage of their royalty whereas traditional authors usually get more exposure due to the “big name” of their publishing house.

Some Similarities:

The books get published and sold (hopefully) to adoring audiences. They will both get positive and negative reviews (unless the book is horrible and should have never been written). They will all get writer’s block at least once in their lifetime and quite possibly much more than once.


Why many authors choose the Indie route

I asked some of my fellow Indie authors and one of the answers I got summed up everyone’s answers very well:

1) Creative freedom (allows me to color outside the lines)

2) Ability to change the cover, correct errors, etc. without having to wait for the next edition

3) Less time for my work to be published

4) Can earn a bigger percentage than traditional publishing

Here are a few other things some of the my indie author friends said:

fountain-pen-447576_1920I tried the Publishing House route when I started, because I hadn’t connected with other than a couple of published authors locally and didn’t know any better. Later, I found I could at least get my books in print independently. I hit some bumps with a vanity publisher and finally found my indie publisher. I have to pay to publish, but I own the book and illustrations, I don’t have to meet deadlines and other headaches that arise from traditional publishers. Less promotion done for me, I have to schedule my own events, but I keep more profit. In the author group to which I belong, there are authors who have gone traditional but returned to indie publishing for those same reasons.–Ann Morris

I decided to self publish after a rejection letter which stated, “We think you have a good premise, but don’t feel there is a place for it in the industry right now.” I thought about it and the more I thought, the more I realized how little sense the rejection made. If my book had a good premise and was enjoyable, then surely somewhere there was a market for it. If no one was going to provide the market, I would do it myself. Five years later, I’m a happy indie writer. I’m not bestselling, but I’m free to write what I love and prove that yes, there is a place for my stories.Jessica L. Elliott

Could more directly connect with readers. My writing to their reading. No middleman.–John Thornton

I saw the shift in the market and how new authors especially had the potential to make more money more quickly as well as better control their marketing, covers, and overall production.–Pamela Kelley

My work falls in the no-man’s land of trad publishing–too religious for secular pub, too “edgy” for Christian publishing (emotionally hard-hitting with real-life problems that aren’t sanitized–PG rather than G rated).–Laurel Graver

What about you? Are you a published author? Which route did you choose? Are you an aspiring author? What route do you plan to choose?


2 thoughts on “What is Indie Publishing?

  1. Jess Elliott says:

    Nice intro to the differences. And thanks for including my quote. I feel famous now. 🙂

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