Monday, June 16, 2014

Not self-publishing—independent publishing

Creative Commons
I am not a self-publisher, because I did not publish my books by myself. I was part of a team of talented, dedicated, professional, skilled and very giving people, to whom I am indebted and grateful.

You know by now that my new book, Army of Worn Soles, will publish in e-book form on June 22, 2014—less than a week from the day this post goes up on the blog.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been busy with all sorts of not just last-minute details on the book itself, but also with advance promotion and publicity. I’ve been answering questions, and learning, from those answers. A question that has come up (however, not as frequently as I expected) was about “self publishing.”

I prefer the term “independent publishing,” simply because I think it’s far more accurate. I don’t publish any books by myself.

Publishing any book calls upon a wide range of skills:
  • writing—creating the story or the information for the reader
  • substantive—“story editing,” a review and critique of the overall worth of the manuscript, whether it’s complete, or there’s too much material, and whether the basic ideas make sense
  • copy-editing—ensuring it’s clear, grammatical, logical?
  • proofreading—looking out for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes and silly little errors in logic (like setting the opening of a chapter on a spring morning and ending, without indicating any passage of time, with a winter night)
  • design—of the cover as well as the interior
  • layout—setting up the interior according to the design, and making sure that the whole book follows the same design
  • manufacturing—transferring from manuscript to e-book or print format with the highest fidelity to the final manuscript and the highest production quality affordable.
Each of this is a major task requiring specialized knowledge, and no, I don’t attempt it myself. I can do many of them, but not all—not well.

And I have always said, “You can’t edit your own stuff.”

The team

When it comes to publishing my books, I call upon a supportive team. For Army of Worn Soles, that team included:

  • Fred Brooke, Alan McDermott, Russell Blake and Cinta Garcia de la Rosa as pre-readers
  • Rebecca Dickson as my stalwart editor
  • David C. Cassidy as cover designer
  • a large team to help promote the cover and excerpts, whom you are meeting through other posts on this blog.

Army of Worn Soles, like my other books, is a truly collaborative effort.

No, I do not self-publish. Army of Worn Soles, and all books I write, followed a cooperative publishing model, one promoted and supported by Independent Authors International. Like those published by the Big Five commercial publishers, are the result of a team of talented professionals applying developed skills to producing a quality book.



  1. Anonymous3:59 PM

    I love this - when someone asks me if I self publish, I'll say no "I actually am an independent publisher." I love this. What is different? The team I employ to make the work incredible - more than just a simple self publish upload. Love it!

  2. Very well said. It's encouraging to see an independently published author who takes the process seriously and handles it professionally. Good luck with the launch of your book!

  3. I'm about to publish my first full length book - and am intending to go the KDP route via Amazon. But always called it self-publishing - now I'm reminded it's not just me at all. Thanks so much for this Scott.

  4. I love it. I also consider myself an independent author, not a self-published one. It's an honor to be part of the team for such a great book!

  5. You are so right! No Indie Author can do it all and we've all got great teams behind us.

  6. You are not an independent publisher—that term already has a menaing in the publishing world. You are self-publsihing (which is not pejorative, just the truth, and self-published authors should own the term). I wrote something exploring this:

    We writers, of all people, should get our terminology right.

    1. The meaning of terminology and of basic words themselves change over time and location.I understand your point, and in your post on Goodreads, but as I said in the essay above, I cannot say I self published because I did not publish by myself.

      If you don't like "independently published," maybe a better term would be "collaboratively published" or "cooperatively published."