Indie Author Or Self-Pubbed Author?: A Vaempires Guest Post

Today, I want to share a guest post I once penned for author Robert Zimmermann.

Indie Author Or Self-Pubbed Author?


Whenever I have a mystery to solve, it feels like an episode of Scooby Doo … and that’s exactly what telling the difference between an indie author and a self-pubbed author is—a mystery.

Well, if I’m going to explore a mystery, I’m going to do it the right way.

So, c'mon gang. Let's get to the Mystery Machine!

In many circles, the great debate about how to distinguish an “indie author” from a “self-published author” rages on. So many people believe it warrants a discussion that a Google search of the term “indie vs. self publishing” yields 2.7M results.

I say, “Who cares?” I have no stake in the debate. I’m clearly self-published. I’m not signed to a small publishing house and I didn’t create a publishing entity for the sake of passing myself off as an indie author. I did it all myself, and, like a child riding a bike who suddenly yells, “Look ma … no hands!” for the first time, what happens next can be amazing or disastrous … or it can fall anywhere in between.

I’m happy being self-published. I’m not going to wax philosophical about the spiritual nature of my decision. I won’t try to feed you a bunch of rhetoric about how being self-published allows me control and freedom and a whole list of other rationalizations intended to convince you that my decision was a good decision. Given all the factors I considered at the time, it was the right decision for me. Period.

Would I have made the same decision if a publishing contact had been offered to me? Of course not.

But I’m okay being a self-pubbed author.

So—getting back to the debate—who does care about the distinction between indie authors and self-pubbed authors?

Well, Google search results aside, most people on the planet do not. To the average person, the terms in question are interchangeable and the differences between them negligible. The man or woman on the street doesn’t care what you call yourself—an author is an author is an author.

But there is one group that seems to care very much: authors.

You see; the debate is not about what constitutes being a self-published author as much as it’s about what constitutes being an indie author—as if indie authors are part of a special club; a club that self-pubbed authors desperately seek admittance to and indie authors desperately fight ejection from.
I wonder if people who consider themselves “indie authors” care because that label gives them a sense of superiority or literary acceptance? Conversely, does the derision that often accompanies self-publishing leave those authors with crippling feelings of inadequacy?

It’s kind of funny, really, to sit on the sidelines of this endless debate ... since the average person doesn’t give a hoot, while the important people—the readers, bloggers, and reviewers—are going to reach their own decisions regardless of outside opinion.

So, why debate anything?

Hell, debates are for politicians and other people afraid of getting their hands dirty. If we really want to settle this matter, I recommend throwing everyone who wants to weigh in on the subject into a huge wrestling ring and letting them go at it in an old-fashioned WWE-style Battle Royal. This way, even if people cheat, someone will still be declared the winner.

Not only will the winner decide what distinguishes an “indie author” from a “self-published author,” but we can also give that winner a championship belt (and perhaps even a publishing contract).

So ... whaddya think, gang? Mystery solved?

Heck yeah! And, I think the culprits would've gotten away with it if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!


In all seriousness, folks: we are amidst a new golden age in publishing. E-books are the most important thing to happen in publishing since the invention of the printing press. E-publishing has opened up the market to many writers that would never have had the opportunity to get their stories out there via traditional publishing … and there’s room for everyone.

I don’t care if you’re a traditional author, an indie author, a self-pubbed author, or some as-yet unlabeled author ... that your stories get out there matters far more than how they do. As long as we publish with honesty and integrity, we’re all part of one amazing group.

An author is an author is an author.

So, write on!



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