It is time for independent writers to change the vocabulary of publishing.
The truth is that everyone who writes and self-publishes is also publisher of her and his own works: All others provide the services that we need to see our books in print and in digital form.
An independent writer is his or her own publisher even though he or she gets books to market through services calling themselves "publishers." CreateSpace, LuLu (and many of the unfortunately less ethical businesses) provide editorial, formatting, printing and/or uploading.SERVICES for which they get PAID. They have or hire the presses which print our works for distribution on demand. Their PR efforts on our behalf, if we choose to use them, are essentially mass mailings to lists of addresses, another service for which we pay.
That is not publishing.
When an author isn't under contract with someone else, isnʼt paid for his or her manuscript and isnʼt promoted by a publisher, THE AUTHOR IS THE PUBLISHER. My latest book reflects that fact by carrying my own imprint: Editions JML HIBOU (French for owl, as in wise, a joke I am entitled to at my age).
I chose my own editor (a great one - I was lucky to find her), who also formatted the book for printing and uploading to various e-formats including Kindle and Nook. Had I used the editorial services of one of these firms, it would not mean that they are my publishers.
The cover was my design executed by a local artist. If I paid one of the services for it, that would not warrant calling them my publisher.
I am by necessity both the publicist and the marketer of my books until someone else buys them from me and makes a contract with me on their printing and distribution.
When I started writing Requiem for a Country, I had secured my own ISBN number, only to find that each printing press I chose insisted on issuing their own, thus curtailing my own freedom on the market. I paid LuLu to be listed (in their own sweet time) by Ingram, which will supposedly get me into the Books in Print. But this will not get my book into the bookstores: I will have to buy and provide quantities and guarantee, at my own expense, their return if not sold.
If I have to do that, I am not only the author but the publisher, a businessman and a gambler. Try getting a bank to underwrite that!
Let me throw in a wild thought: should we gang together, could we use indiePENdents to negotiate with POD presses and dictate the terms of publishing? Probably unlikely, because our organization would have to become a kind of business that we have no inclination to be. As individuals in this group of independents, we should, however, collectively pursue imagining ways to promote our cause.
We should not be inhibited by having silly dreams: Bring on your ideas and I am sure some of them will become THE SOLUTION.
This blog appeared first on the www.indiependents.org website.