Indie Publishing versus Self-publishing: The rise of the indie author
“The terms ‘Independent publishers’ and ‘indie publishers’ were until recently associated with small presses, to identify them as separate from larger, traditional book publishers. Over time, authors who wanted to maintain complete creative control over their books began to create their own small presses, which really only involves starting a business and little else. Being a small press or an independent book publisher does not mean having a printing press in your basement! The rising popularity and ease of access to print-on-demand (POD) through IngramSpark and CreateSpace has served to increase the number of indie publishers.
As authors moved towards circumventing traditional publishers or small presses who required that a book be accepted in order to be published in return for payment (one hopes), we saw the advent of vanity presses and assorted publishing opportunists. These companies masquerade as traditional publishers by having authors go through an elaborate process to make them think or at least feel as if they are being accepted to be published. Typically the author pays to have the book published or sacrifices an inordinate percentage of their royalties for the privilege.
Where the company’s profit comes from can be your first clue into what sort of company you are dealing with. As Judith Briles said in a 2014 article on the topic of self-publishing versus indie publishers:
‘Small presses make their profits by selling books to consumers, rather than selling services to authors or selling a small number of copies to the author’s friends.’
A clarification is needed here: Companies such as 1106 Design sell services to authors, but we don’t pretend to publish the book, nor do we lay claim to any percentage of the royalties! Once we have completed the services for which the author has hired us, the author has complete ownership of their book, their files, their imprint and their royalties.”