From Self-Publishing to Metapublishing: A Farewell from Scott Nicholson

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

10 replies
  1. Robert S. Wilson
    Robert S. Wilson says:

    Aw, man, I’m gonna miss these articles, Scott. But I completely understand. You’ve been saying for a long time you sought the path of the most readers and I know you are getting there! Best of success to you! It will be hard for Indiereader to find someone who can put the same kind of heart into these articles as you have!

    • Amy Edelman
      Amy Edelman says:

      Hi Robert,

      Yes, we’ll miss Scott too. And it was hard to find someone to replace him, but at Scott’s suggestion, I think we found someone great. Pls stay tuned!

  2. Christa Polkinhorn
    Christa Polkinhorn says:

    Oh, fiddlesticks, Scott, you think you can create all this stir and huppla about the INDIE revolution and then sneak away into, what do you call it? METAPUBLISHING. Yeah, right. You can’t get away from us. Once an Indie, always… you know. We’ll be haunting you, Sir Scott the Megapublisher.
    Just kidding. Congratulations!

  3. Monster A GoGo
    Monster A GoGo says:

    “Metapublishing,” huh? Well, although you DID traditionally and independently publish, “hybrid” was NOT a good label for you. You ran on too much “gas” (come on, we BOTH know the REAL reason no one wants to move down wind of your place. And no, I will NOT be stupid enough to pull your finger again no matter how often you ask me to) to be a proper “hybrid” (or am i confusing what a hybrid writer is with something else?).

    But this “metapublishing” thing— Hmmm… What bar did you meet this publishing in? Sounds like a literal orgy you’re getting into….withOUT any metaphor-play first! Zowie! Won’t the goats be jealous? Does your (gasp!) wife know you metapublishing? Isn’t she jealous?

    My stars! Have you no shame? Christa is right. Here you were shaking your pom poms (in your skimpy, tight cheerleading outfit with a great big indie “I” on your manly man bossom)—and now it seems you’re off to greener pastures and leaving us in the dust! (Well, I rarely have time for your blogs—just catch up when I can. You know, school and all…. But all of these others you are abandoning? Shocking!)

    I hope your metapublishing orgy is worth it–and you don’t get any nasty metasocial diseases or cyber paper cuts in sensitive areas! Oh my!

    Cheers and go-go groovy good luck!


  4. Monster A GoGo
    Monster A GoGo says:

    You Meta-media whore!

    In case you didn’t understand my rambling nonsense…I really wish you the best of luck!


  5. Dave Sandersfeld
    Dave Sandersfeld says:

    I am a mountain man first and author second -now and Indie looks like a good step for me at this stage; however, Scott’s metapublishing is a novel notion for the future. You’ll be missed. Thanks for the wisdom!


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