In the past, many of our well-known writers ‘indie’ published, such as Virginia Woolf, Shelley, Blake. The financing was often raised by subscriptions from would-be readers, a fore-runner for today’s crowd-funding. Then from the nineteenth century and through the twentieth century, we began to get the system of publishing which we consider as ‘traditional’ today. In other words, the author writes the words and is accepted by a publisher. The publisher helps craft the work with the skills of an editor and then package it with the in-put of copy-editor, proof-reader, designer, publicist, rights officer and (sometimes) lawyer.
In the beginning, this ‘traditional’ commercial publishing consisted of a number of small imprints run by people who loved books. More and more the small has been swallowed up by the big conglomerate and the love of books (which is still there) has been subsumed by the imperative to create a product which will sell, sell, sell. I spent some time at the beginning of the ‘noughties’ working within this commercial world. The changes there and the transformations in technology, mean that we writers are turning back to ‘indie’ publishing once again.
Self-publishing has got a bad name in recent times. The prevailing opinion became, if the work is good enough it will find a ‘traditional’ publisher. Self-publishing is vanity publishing, for people who have an inflated view of their talents as a writer. Despite having chosen the ‘indie’ path, I still find it difficult to shake off the stigma associated with it. The use of ‘indie’ rather than ‘self’ helps, but doesn’t completely silence the critical voices (which are mostly, but not all, in my head).
What does it take to be an ‘indie’ publisher? Who should embark upon this approach? What does it entail? What are the pitfalls? I have just ‘indie’ published my novel, ‘The Art of the Imperfect’, the first of a series of crime novels set in Scarborough (http://goo.gl/1m1ioq). So I thought it might be useful to others to impart (over the next few weeks in this blog) what I have learnt along the way.