What's the difference, right?
I remember when I was a little girl and I'd go through the magazine section of the Sunday paper, there would be an advertisement for a vanity press. It would offer writers leather bound covers in black, blue or brown for their manuscripts for only $whatever.99. There would be testimonials of happy customers etc...etc... In my mind, that's self-published; books written by writers without any real drive or desire to see their words go beyond bragging rights.
I prefer to be called an indie author. I feel I'm no different than indie filmmakers or indie musicians. For some reason those artist are seen as having a renaissance personality and are respected for being progressive and cultured where as if a writer wears the same "indie" label we're seen as rejects and failures who couldn't cut it in big publishing.
I believe the internet is the best thing that has happened to indie writers; turning the tide and allowing us to accelerate our careers as writers on our terms. Die hard publishing folks will disagree and we will have to fight for respect. But, frankly who cares what they think? The proof is all around us; how many neighborhood book stores are around anymore? And, how often does your child go to the library? The old publishing machine is slowly on its way out; give or take 10 years.
Digital cameras changed the way filmmakers create films. And computer programs changed the way musicians record music. It took 15 years for the digital revolution to turnaround those artist and we're next. The advancements in internet publishing is something to be marveled. It is accessible, inexpensive and limited only to how much time, energy and marketing we're willing to invest. Now, I personally created my own publishing company, Randall & Reismann, complete with tax i.d., company credit cards, and a company P.O. box. I wanted to do everything I could to make my company legit and its still a work in progress (still working on that website). Maybe, someday I will not only publish my own books but maybe some one else as well. If you think about it, its not too outlandish to open your own publishing company, after all big publishers once started out as small publishers too.
Before going solo, I tried getting published the traditional route as I'm sure most of us have. I submitted queries and my manuscript to over 80 agents. I came very close to securing two agents for my "Chick friends" series on two separate occasions. One male agent agreed to take on the project only if I re-wrote all four books making the characters and the setting more "urban" because readers wouldn't be able to relate to upper-middle class, suburban minority kids,(in layman's terms; he wanted me to make the characters ghetto). So, I would have to call my cuzzo Rae-Rae and ask her what's life like in the projects, yo (can you see my neck rolling?)l.o.l. Anyway, I was taken aback by his observation. But, I took a deep breath and seriously considered the re-write. I asked my "almost" agent for a contract for representation before the re-writes and he said no. So, basically he wanted me to re-write all four book without any promise of representation. Get the fudge outta here!
My second "almost" agent showed interest in representation and said she was "super busy and would make contact" with me after she returned from her vacation to Italy. That was two years ago; I guess she's still in Italy. But I'm not bitter because one thing I got from those two "almost" contracts was that I have a marketable series or else they wouldn't have shown interest.
I hope you understand how I arrived at my decision to go it alone. Someone else might think I should have just re-wrote the books or waited by the phone for Ms. Italy to return. But, I can't stand the idea of putting my future in the hands of someone else. The control is too important to me. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice but only time will tell. So, in the meantime I proudly wear the label of indie-author/writer. What about you?