In the past, those who took any time to seriously consider the issue of paying to be published usually concluded that self-publishing – where you took full control of your own work – was a step up from vanity publishing, where you paid a company to produce a book over which you had little control. Even so, since self-publishing involved an outlay on the part of the author, it was often tarred with the same brush as vanity publishing and, for many, it was anathema. Recently, the whole publishing dynamic has changed, and more and more authors are choosing to go it alone. Now, though, instead of using the term self-publisher, they frequently style themselves indie authors, emphasising the independent aspect of the venture.
Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the self in self publishing is inaccurate: it’s not a one-man show.
In traditional publishing, between the time when a writer finishes a manuscript and the point when it is published in book form, a lot of people are involved in a lot of work: there are editors, copy-editors and proofreaders, layout artists and cover designers, printers and marketing personnel. However talented a writer is, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be an expert in all these spheres, so an author who does everything alone is probably doing himself – and his writing – a big disservice: he is consciously making the choice to settle for second best.
You’ve worked hard on the manuscript; surely you want to bring together the best talents you can and publish a book that is every bit as good as it can be? If that’s your aim, you can improve the end product by buying in the skills needed to complete the process professionally. And if you choose to take control but work with other professionals and experts, rather than thinking of yourself as a self-published writer, perhaps you should admit you’ve paid for professional assistance and proudly call yourself an indie author.