Every new era brings its nomenclature, and the indie book era has spawned new phrases like “estributor,” “legacy publisher,” and “hybrid author.”
The phrase I am creating today is “metapublishing.” I have been traditionally published in mass-market paperback, I’ve had three books appear from small presses, I’ve embraced self-publishing in the past 18 months, and I recently signed a deal with Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint—which some people consider “traditional,” but if you know anything about recent publishing history, you understand Amazon has thrown the dictionary out the window.
I like to say that the traditional press is currently struggling to go from A to B while Amazon is at D and figuring out what E and F look like. Most indie authors are already at C. Tradition is losing to an era that is inventing itself by the minute.
Because I have books out through a number of different avenues, I am edging away from the indie label a bit. Not in a snobbish “I’ve graduated” way, but because I believe diversification is tremendously important in this uncertain era. I want the freedom to meet the most readers possible, and none of us can predict which device or which market or which corporation will be the ultimate winner. More likely, there will be multiple winners, but plenty of losers as well.
Indie will remain the core of my writing business and creative entrepreneurship. It’s the bridge to the success I’ve had and to the goal of writing full time as an occupation. The more I learn to trust myself, the better I do, and the better I can connect with all the wonderful people who email me or buy my books. So, no matter what I do, I will retain the independent spirit, because the universe says “Yes” to that when writers so often hear the word “No.”
Most people could care less about the fine nuance of what constitutes a “pure indie” writer, and the term “hybrid writer” is generally seen as one who is traditionally and indie publishing at the same time. But that one doesn’t fit me, either. I have come to an agreement with another progressive digital publisher for a book, and I just signed for a POD collection with Dark Continents Publishing, and I signed a collaborative translation deal with a Chinese press. These are all new models that haven’t been bogged down with any tradition or label yet.
So I will just say I am metapublishing. I’m going to take whatever road will bring me to the most readers, because that is who I will always work for. But I don’t really feel comfortable cheering on an indie platform because it may appear I don’t appreciate the other methods of publishing, and also I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite.
So I am turning over the reins of my regular Indie Reader column and focusing on my fiction. Thanks to Amy Edelman for the great work she is doing here, and to the many visitors to the site. I will still come back often to comment on posts, but I believe it’s time to let someone else take up the pom-poms for what my predecessor Zoe Winters called “the indie rah-rah thing.”
Indie is not a method of publishing or some niche market or a defiant opposition to all other ways. Whether you are a reader or a writer, indie is something inside you. And that’s something you never lose. Farewell and thanks for sharing!
Scott Nicholson is author of more than 20 books, including Liquid Fear, The Skull Ring, Forever Never Ends, and Gateway Drug. Meet him at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com
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