It's come to my attention that there's a debate raging between authors who call themselves "indie" and those who call themselves "self-published." I use the word raging loosely, because it's not exactly rocking the casbah. But apparently, it is a Thing.

The crux of the argument goes like this:

  • Self-publishing has a bad rep. People don't want to be associated with it, because it brings to mind vanity presses and books full of typos.
  • Indie publishing sounds cool and cutting edge, and makes people think of rock 'n' roll. Also, it's the term favored by people who publish solely or primarily in digital format. It's a new name for a new frontier.
  • Authors would rather call themselves "indie" than "self-published."
So, what's the problem? Small presses. AKA: indie publishers.

Seems that long before the Age of the Kindle, small presses considered themselves to be "indie." Those same small presses are peeved that authors are flying solo and assuming the title of "indie" in the process. The small presses insist that "indie" is their word and the authors who are using it are actually self-published.

Well, I call bullshit on their nitpicking for two reasons:

First, "indie" stands for independent. And while small presses might be just that, so are individual authors. I see nothing wrong with calling oneself "indie" if one's work is published ... well, independently.

Second, and more importantly, is that their argument deliberately ignores the core of what they're really fighting about. The reason small presses don't want to share the indie label is because they know it's way cooler to be indie than it is to be self-published.

And you know what? Screw 'em. If small presses really want to buck the system, they should embrace authors who are venturing into the world of publishing. If they want to exclude those authors, then they're no better than big presses.

As for me, I'm an indie author. And if small presses have time to fight about what I choose to call myself, that must mean they're not busy enough publishing books.