WRITING: The Best Things About Being Indie


This is for my Indie / Self Pubbed friends out there. For the record, do we have a distinction if you’re Indie or Self Pubbed? I mean we throw around the Indie term like crazy but then, Indie technically means Independent Publisher, ie, not one of the Big 6, which I refer to as “Small Press”

So really, what does being an Indie Author mean to you?

For me . . . the best things about being Indie are:

Cover Design
I get to pick my cover artist and my cover model, and have a say in the cover design. I think this is a super important component to any publishing process. We do judge books by their covers, and a beautiful cover will get people excited much more than a drab or badly done one.

Characters / Plot
I had to ask Jennifer Laughran about it this morning, but with the traditional houses, sometimes they buy books and then they tear them apart, restructure them and they come out looking like they had plastic surgery. Sure, they’re more pretty than they were before, but they’re no longer all natural. Often character names change, plot elements change (mostly endings), etc. etc. Doing it myself means less chance of someone else changing it to suit their needs or to suit the market.

Book Title
This is probably one of the things that gets changed the most. Writers call it a working title for a reason because a team of specialists will often change it around and come up with something else. Whether it works is really up to the team. I had to work my titles too, but I didn’t do it with a team of professionals. I like what I came up with and I can’t see the books being called anything else.

We’re always hearing traditionally pubbed authors talk about how a scene was too hot for a book, or too violent, or too graphic or too political or something. You name it, for some reason we’re allowed to see teenagers getting it on in movies, but when it comes to YA fiction, the sex scenes, the violence scenes or scenes that may raise concern get cut or rewritten. Censorship in books is actually more strict than it is for television shows and movies. Again, as an Indie, I can make my scenes as steamy, violent or sexy as I want. Of course, I need to adhere to some guidelines, but generally speaking, I can get away with more.

Book Trailers
Admittedly, most are on their own for this anyway, but if other people are used in them and they’re not officially contracted that can be bad for the publishing house. So sometimes the book trailers that are allowed are all scenery, or animation, or just words on a screen. No full cast productions and the ones we do get to see (Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini) are few and far between. It does allow for a lot of fan made trailers though.

And that’s it for me, what about you Indie Authors? What’s the best thing about being Indie?


Comments ( 7 )

  • Mari Stroud says:

    I am really looking forward to being able to design my own covers. (And also admittedly terrified of the fact that I have to design my own covers!) I have a few traditionally-pubbed friends, and every last one of them has a horror story about getting a cover that was either ugly or didn't reflect the book at all, even down to getting the ethnicities of the protagonist wrong. Between that

  • Lani Wendt Young says:

    Good post. My first book was written on commission which was great in some aspects – paid to write, guaranteed publishing etc. However it also meant i had little to no say over the final product or its marketing. My next book is a YA urban fantasy romance and Im excited (and nervous) to be releasing it myself in Dec. Its an awesome feeling to be able to choose the cover, plan the promo

  • Cyndi Tefft says:

    The cover is a huge benefit of going the indie route. I can&#39;t imagine pouring my heart into a book and then having little to no say on how it&#39;s presented to the world. Since it&#39;s got my name on it, I want it to be the best it can be!<br /><br />I love the freedom of writing stories that don&#39;t quite fit the mold. Indie publishing lets you tell the story you need to tell, and leaves

  • Ani Raye says:

    Great post. It&#39;s true, self-publishing gives a lot more freedom to the author, and the cover aspect is definitely a great part of the package. But the more important point that you&#39;ve mentioned is the character/plot thing, definitely. Editors sometimes try to fit characters into the accepted YA alpha-male and dependent female thing, which doesn&#39;t happen with self published books. That

  • Karina Halle says:

    For me? Total. Control :)<br /><br />Great post, agreed with you on every single point.

  • S.J. Wist says:

    I totally agree on the control thing. I&#39;ve read too many book where characters had the soul sucked out of them by edits to appease a major publishing house. The cover is a biggy too, as you&#39;re essentially dressing-up your Muse, serious business here as some love their Muse like a baby ^ ^ The best part of being Indie is by far the freedom to take your work to any platform, when and

  • Adriana says:

    Love posts like these. :) I have to say, the cover thing is a huge issue for me. I really lucked out with my small press coming out with a cover I am totally in love with, but being able to work with a cover designer from scratch is pretty cool. <br /><br />I also love the freedom to price my work as I wish. I want readers to find my book accessible, and without a &#39;middle man,&#39; this is

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