ask ms. indie color

When is an “Indie” Not an Indie?

Dear Ms. Indie: My new novel was published by a small indie press. Do you guys still consider it an indie? If so, I’d love to send it to IndieReader for a possible review.  – Helplessly Hoping

Dear Helplessly: What qualifies as an indie–and what doesn’t–continues to be a white hot debate, especially in our little corner of the publishing world. But hey, since it’s our website, we get to make up the house rules. And they are as follows…big trad publishing house or small indie press, this is simply one instance where size doesn’t matter.

Why?  Because if you are pubbed by a small press you will most probably (for better or worse) give up some control of the process.  You will also usually (for better or worse) be able to utilize their editors and cover artists.  Indie presses will also frequently handle your book’s distribution, although its usually not nearly as comprehensive as what an author will find with a larger publishing house.

In the end, IndieReader’s definition of what makes an indie book is guided by a single question: Who paid? (yeah, it’s kinda like dating).  If it was you, congrats!  Your book is a bonafide indie.  If you didn’t, its not (and therefore ineligible for an IndieReader review).

But look on the bright side, while your book doesn’t have the distinction of belonging to the hippest new book category since Edith Wharton invented chick-lit back in 1876, it does means that the traditional media (i.e. The New York Times, People, Publisher’s Weekly) will consider reviewing your book. Hey, you can’t win ’em all!


Dear Ms. Indie will answer indie book-related questions–from what an indie book is (and isn’t) to why an indie book is sexier than its trad pubbed counterpart. Send ’em to or #askindiereader.

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