Indeed, Indie-New future of the publishing industry-the independent authors
Who are Indie authors?
The phrase “indie authors” or “independent authors” refers to the process of an author choosing to self-publish their book, frequently paying to have it published, as opposed to being bound to a “conventional” or “mainstream” publishing arrangement, where the publishing house assumes the risk of getting the book to market instead of the author. An independent author, as opposed to authors who self-publish a book for their family, friends, or community, wants to earn a living from writing and publishing books. They are “indie” writers because, in contrast to authors who sign exclusivity contracts with a single trade publisher or a single self-publishing platform, they are comparatively independent, serving as the creative director of their own books and publishing company. Knowing the value of one’s own intellectual property is the cornerstone of becoming an independent author. When they selectively license rights to trade publishers and other rights buyers, it is a business agreement between equals, even though they may do so when it is advantageous. Instead of publishers, they look to readers for approval, and they demand fair terms and conditions from their business partners.
Purists in the publishing industry define “self-publishing” as an author doing everything themselves, from authoring the book to marketing it. But for a long time, authors haven’t felt comfortable using the term “self-publishing” because of its connotation of “vanity publishing.”. It was considered devoid of merit chose the path of self-publishing. Self-publishing has evolved over time from a marginally dubious practice that hung out on the edges of acceptability in the publishing world to a burgeoning industry with some sincere and reliable participants. The transformation has liberated writers, allowing thousands of new authors to enter the market and inspiring some influential figures in the publishing industry to alter their opinions of self-publishing. Over the years, a recent change in the self-publishing industry was that of reinventing the self as “indie,” with many authors disregarding the term “self-publishing” and instead referring to themselves and their works as “indie” published. This is a sign that authors are now likely taking pride in the fact that they self-funded their works rather than feeling embarrassed about it.
Why the path of self-publishing?
In this modern capitalistic world, where driving force of any industry is that of profit, the publishing industry too has been a victim of this. Profit is the primary motivator in traditional publishing. Even while people may believe they are searching for art, they ultimately settle for what they believe would sell. They reject many authors who just don’t fit their requirements, whether that means they are seeking particular subject, a certain author type, or even a certain number of pages. Their search is frequently influenced by what is being reported in the mainstream media. According to Zach Windrel, a novel about the Sarajevo siege was published after it occurred because the market at the time demanded it, not because it was a work of brilliance.
Authors choose the path of self-publishing because of the control they have over the timing and contents of their book. It may be the case for certain authors that their work just does not meet a need among the general public. There are different causes, but independence seems to be the common denominator. Writing is at its purest when an author is free to let the narrative in their head truly flow and isn’t following a predetermined template. Winderl writes in his article, “The Rise of the Indie Author,” about the control publishers have over authors:
“I’ve had manuscripts rejected because they wanted 100k words and 120k was too long to even consider. I’ve seen agents saying they will only accept queries from minority authors. I’ve had editors tell me that a book by a male author can’t have any reference to violence against women.”
Prior to the advent of print-on-demand and e-book distribution via digital technologies, author-publication only benefited a very small number of writers. Writing and publishing have been changed by this technology. Becoming an independent author has a certain perks:
- It expands global readership as opposed to just a few select regions.
- Their books are always available; the term “out-of-print” is no longer applicable.
- The need for “middlemen” like agents, publishers, and distributors is eliminated
- Additionally, it provides their readers with a point of purchase right when they decide they desire the book.
The self-publishing route is drawing more and more writers as the creative possibilities of this revolution become apparent.
I for Independent, I for Inclusivity:
Like other industries, the publishing industry also is a perpetrator of systemic discrimination. If we take a look at the American industry, time and again it has been seen that women authors and people of color have been under-represented or have lower-income when compared to their white counterparts. The under-representation of these groups are a glaring example of the unequal treatment meted out to them.
Zetta Eliot writes about how African-American writers are consciously kept away from showcasing their writings on children’s literature. She states, “The marginalization of writers of colour is the result of very deliberate decisions made by gatekeepers within the children’s literature community–editors, agents, librarians, and reviewers” (Eliot, 2016). Despite the fact that the majority of children enrolled in public schools are children of color, the publishing industry continues to produce books with characters who are white. People of color are portrayed as villains, and this can hamper a child’s view of the world during their formative years. Eliot comments on how this sends a clear message of the lives of black children don’t matter.
Her article’s opening sentences draw readers’ attention to the sobering truth that inequality is ingrained at the very heart of our ostensibly “equal” world. In today’s world, when everything is guided by neoliberal policies and harps on the concept of equality, this equality is nothing more than a myth. If one digs deeper, they will discover that equality is merely a mask used to conceal an unequal world. Zetta Elliot discusses how being a black author in the publishing industry is not easy; rather, the industry is designed to stifle the voices of the marginalised. As a result, she says, “I can’t breathe…, but within the children’s literature community I have struggled to find a home. I am—and likely will remain—an outsider “.
In this highly competitive world, she is a failed author because everyone is obsessed with the quantity of work produced rather than the quality of the work. However, when she chose self-publishing as a solution, she was chastised because self-publishing is considered vanity publishing.
Elliot has used her scientific background to investigate white supremacy in the field of children’s literature, where African Americans continue to be neglected. She observed that despite an increase in Black-themed novels in 2014, this dramatic rise was not accompanied by a corresponding rise in the number of books written by Black people, indicating that power is still held by white people, as it has always been. She states that all areas of the publishing industry are dominated by straight, cisgender, white women without impairments. This homogeneity in the publishing workforce and that of published authors and the books they write, is not a coincidence but rather the reflection of the deliberate attempts taken by those in power to suppress the voices of the marginalized.
Collated list of Indie Authors:
A considerable number of indie authors have taken an attempt to publish their own work:
|Nicole Bailey||Faye and the Ether||Young-adult fantasy|
|Jinna Bazzar||Heir of Ashes||Sci-fi, fantasy|
|D.L. Blade||The Dark Awakening, The Sea of Zemira||Urban fantasy, romance|
|Traci Borum||Love Starts Here||Contemporary romance|
|Kristen Brand||Poison and Honey||Urban fantasy, romance|
|Nat Chelloni||Favour of a Favour||Romantic suspense|
|Anela Deen||Beneath Cruel Fathoms||Fantasy, romance|
|Liv Evans||The Underground||Dystopian romance|
|Kiersten Eva||Keeping his Siren||Paranormal romance|
|S.M. Gaither||The Queen of Cursed Things||Fantasy|
|Rebeca L.Gracia||The Fate of Crowns||Romance, fantasy|
|J.F. Johns||After Darkness||Science fiction, dystopia|
|Tracy Sumner||Tides of Love||Historical romance|
This is a miniscule list collated from the vast ocean of work of the indie authors.
The book economy’s small businesses produce excellent titles but do not receive the recognition they deserve. From writing young adult fiction to discussing the climate crisis through their literary work, these independent authors have gone above and beyond to produce excellent work that should be read all over the world to inspire them to produce more.
The New Future?
Indie authors are on the verge of their rise because this field allows them to explore their creative abilities without reducing them to the demands of the market, hence, producing half-hearted novels. Elliot writes how this act of self-publishing has helped her to write about her community and topics that are of utmost relevance to her community. For instance, her book, “Let the Faithful Come”, a Christmas narrative which was rejected by the traditional press was self-published in 2015 with images which reflected the refugee issue. Indie authors have used their books as sites of dissent, have used their writings to counter islamophobia.
With the advancement of technology, more and more indie authors are coming to the fore, broadening our literary horizons.