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Indie Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

What's the Difference?

Should you use an Indie publisher instead of self-publishing?

It’s a matter of choice—and budget.

If you feel comfortable with the technology, and are willing to spend some time learning, go for it yourself. If things get scary in the process, you can always turn to an Indie publisher for help.

If you’re on a restricted budget, self-publishing may be your only choice. Some authors like the learning curve; others not so much.


A Self-publisher is you—the author. You write your book, edit and format it as well as create the cover, or buy it from an online service or artist.  When that’s done, you have to select the “publisher” and upload you book and e-book so the world will see it and buy it.  It’s a lot of work; work that you may not familiar with. And if it’s your first time, be prepared for some frustration and errors.

Indie Publisher

Indie publishers can actually come to your rescue and let you concentrate on creating the best book you can write. Indie Publishers take over the onerous publishing processes and let you get on with writing.

Indie publishers will:

  1. Give you a written, itemized estimate of the services they will provide to get your book published. You can question any of the items and some you may be able to provide yourself at a lower cost. Ensure that all of the necessary items are included.
  2. Edit your book for simple GPS (grammar, spelling, and punctuation), or more in-depth copy editing if you request it.
  3. Use sophisticated software to format the interior of your book, so that it is readable and easy on the eyes. (Yes, there is an art to that. And a Word document doesn’t cut it.)
  4. Obtain ISBN, LCCN, and PCIP for your book.
  5. Have professional book cover creators give you a cover that will help sell.
  6. Present you with a completed book that looks professional and can compete with anything published by the top five publishers. It will look very professional.
  7. Upload your book to the best online and trade distributors.
  8. Some Indie publishers will require that you take a certain number of books. That’s good if you want to market and distribute your book yourself. Not so good if they end up going moldy in your garage.
  9. Most Indie publishers will charge you for their services, but will not take any royalties. All royalties should go directly to you.
  10. Provide a level of marketing that will help sell your book online as well as in the bookstore and library market.

Each author has different needs and budgets. Discuss yours with the publishing representative. Make sure you feel comfortable that the Indie publisher will give your book the best possible packaging and launch. You deserve nothing less.

Related Article:

The Challenges of Self-Publishing

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