Is there a difference between Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing? We get this question a lot and there is a difference, even if it is a small one and not everyone in the industry agrees.
Over the years, it has been interesting to see the progression of self-publishing in the eye of both the reader and the industry. These changes have been first, the acceptance of self-publishing vs traditional publishing as a legitimate opportunity for authors to have their work in the hands of real readers. Self-publishing has a wide range of those involved, with some individuals wanting to publish a book that no one else will see but themselves or their families. This contrasts with individuals who choose to make a living via self-publishing because they want more control over what happens with their books or what is within them.
A few years ago, an Indie Publisher was considered anyone that doesn’t rely on the Big 5 publishing houses. But now, many publishing companies outside of the Big 5 is still considered Traditional Publishing. Therefore, the words are more and more being used to describe self-published and indie authors.
An Indie author is someone who publishes a book or several books with the intent of selling, marketing, strategizing, and bringing in a business model to help the author succeed. That’s when they become part of Indie Publishing. They may start their own brand or LLC to help them with the process. Being an indie author takes work, far more than just writing a book. A self-published author may not want or intend to market their book through Amazon or Facebook with ads. They might not want to research keywords or reduce their price to bring in more Goodreads followers or Amazon reviews.
Indie Publishers have also been called “small press”, and “independent press”, and these may or may not apply to an Indie Publisher. An Indie author could technically be involved in Indie Publishing. Indie Publishers may choose to look at niche markets, limited-editions, on genre-specific books depending on their experience, wants, and desires.
Wikipedia defines “Self-Publishing” as:
Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. The term usually refers to a written media, such and books, and magazines, either as an ebook or as a physical copy using POD (Print on demand) technology.
The author is in control of the entire process including, the design of the cover and interior, formatting, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or may outsource some or all the work to companies that offer these services. The key distinguishing characteristic of self-publishing is that the author has decided to publish independently of a publishing house.
Therefore – the difference between Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing is in the eye of the beholder. If you feel that you want to call yourself an Indie Author who self publishes and you own your own LLC – I think you will often call what you do…Indie Publishing. To make things simpler when you are talking to those, not in the industry – you will likely say that you’ve “self-published” your book.