A local library is soliciting applications for an author expo that invites participation from both “professionally-published and self-published authors.” Who can guess why that caused me to sit down at my laptop and hammer out this blog post?
You may already be familiar with my dislike of the term “self-published”—it suggests a solo effort that in no way reflects the team effort needed to produce a high quality book. Most people who write a book do so because they are good at writing, and that does not necessarily mean expertise in all the many other areas needed in the craft and the voyage of book creation: editors, proofreaders, cover designers, formatters, and marketing experts, to name a few.
That is why I prefer “independently published” because it—like “indie movie”—suggests a more serious and business-like approach to the endeavor. It suggests, in fact, a professional approach.
The library’s description of the alternative to indy published-books as “professionally-published” suggests that indy is an amateur effort.
The indy author can never allow him or herself to fall into the mindset of thinking that an amateur effort is acceptable. With today’s technology, and the affordable resources made available by platforms like upwork.com, there is no reason that any indy effort must be considered amateur. (And if paying for such services is not an option, consider bartering with your fellow creatives for such support.)
When readers peruse your book on an online platform or pick up a print copy at their favorite local bookstore, they should not be able to tell whether the book is traditionally (dare I say legacy) published or independently published unless they flip to the copyright page. And maybe not even then.
Your professionally and independently published book may be the one that wins another convert to the “indy” mindset.