While cruising around my Google+ haunts, I came across a persnickety writer who I imagined had a nasally voice and giant glasses he shoved up the bridge of his nose as he stated, " Actually, the term 'Indie Author' is a common misconception. Indie authors are small-press published authors, and should not be confused with the more common practice of self publishing." And he went on to kind of diss self-published authors for trying to "steal" a title or whatever.
That's not exactly what he said, but it's close enough. I also read this in a self-publishing how-to book that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. The author, Catherine Ryan Howard, cautioned not to label yourself as indie because you are self-published, if that is what you are doing.
But that was news to me, and since titles are everything (eyeroll) I had to do more research to find out what exactly "Indie Author" meant, and where we all fit on the spectrum. What I found were, surprisingly, a lot of dull articles that either got way too specific with terminology and the nitpicky nuances of the definitions, or rainbows and unicorn blogs that couldn't stop blabbering about going for your dreams and picking a title that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. So I decided to lay it out Auchward style for you to see if it helps any.
First of all, in case it hadn't dawned on you yet, "indie" is short for "independent." This term "independent" seems to be used in a variety of ways, but it kind of speaks for itself. You stand alone! From what I understand, this term developed originally from the 1950's to 1980's with independent music labels. I won't bore you with a quote, but I did get it from a textbook, Media Essentials: A Brief Introduction. I just happen to be taking that class right now, so you're welcome.
The term sort of evolved to encompass the book publishing world as well, describing independent publishers who aren't one of the "big dogs" so to speak. They're small, and functional, and are not vanity publishing or self-publish aids.
Here's where I stand with this: Both the mushy dreamland writers AND the nerd got it right. Independent Authors are authors who aren't using the larger industry publishers to represent their work. This could mean that you are an author for an independent publisher, OR it could mean you are publishing on your own...independently. Some bloggers have tried to argue that you're only an independent author if you are making your own publishing company and publishing other works, too.
Where you draw the line with your writer title is up to you, but from where I stand, "indie" is just short for independent. If you aren't relying on someone else, or if your publisher is bravely forging ahead in this risky, not-always-rewarding business (like my publisher, Malachite Quills), it's all the same. **MUSHY UNICORN MOMENT AHEAD** We're all trying to share our creations. So be nice. :)
Here's a chart for you. As you can see, the more successful or "big" your publisher gets, the more you might be able to consider taking off the "Indie" part of your name. But if you are self-published, whether through your own publisher or not, I think it's pretty safe to call yourself "Indie" if you are so inclined. I am most decidedly an Indie Author. My publisher is small, independent, AND I happen to be self-publishing my second work. I think that puts me smack dab in the middle of the independent spectrum.
As always, I love discussion. What are your thoughts on the title?