Indie Authors & Publishers

LAST UPDATE: JULY 28th, 2012.

A few words about terminology are necessary.

When using the terms ‘indie’ or ‘independent’ publisher in the U.K. the response will depend on with whom you are discussing the term.

A reader wouldn’t really know what to think, while a self-styled indie writer would likely assume it referred to self-published output, and someone working in the publishing trade would likely bring to mind what were more commonly referred to as ‘small presses’, many subsidised by the Arts Council, or those small to medium publishing enterprises as represented by the  Independent Publishers Guild  and promoted by schemes such as Inpress.

The term ‘indie’ when applied to cultural production and distribution in the U.K. has a slightly different history to that of the U.S. and has become debased. There was once an independent film sector in the U.K. when such did not really exist (except in the Underground and on college campuses) in the U.S.. The emergence of the notion of  ’indie’ film making in the U.S. overlapped with the beginning of the decline of the ‘indie’ film sector in the U.K.

Similarly the label ‘indie’ became applied to those music bands and labels in the U.K. which established themselves outwith the purview of the corporate recording labels (Stiff Records being a good example). However, during the post-punk settlement the label ‘indie’ soon became corrupted to imply a certain aesthetic, or style of music, regardless of any record label’s provenance.

Consequently I think many U.K. based writer-entrepreneurs are a little wary of adopting the term ‘indie author’ and, consequently, (coupled to the fact that the U.K. does not currently have an aggregator such as Smashwords to help writers get their work distributed into Waterstones and WH Smith etc) there has not been an ‘indie author’ clamouring as has been experienced in the States.

There is also in the U.K. some  residual regard for the notion of amateurism, unlike in the U.S., and many U.K. self-published writers would not be offended to be referred to as ‘pro-am’ authors, i.e. professional in outlook and output though amateur in expectation and status.

Though without any stats to back up my assertion, I think U.K. independent writers value more the ability to put forward their work free of commercial editorial constraints than harbour any notions of enjoying supposed luxury lifestyles through becoming the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Though, as ever, there are always exceptions. And I would not be surprised if a bus load of U.K. based self-publishers now come along and tell me I’m mistaken.

However, I contend that my explication does in part explain why there are so few U.K. based ‘indie’ gatherers, shamans and rabble rousers.

If you know of any U.K. based ‘indie’ authors and publishers promoting the cause then please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks.


The Independent Publishing Magazine






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