It is Called Indie Publishing

My friend has written a book about her experience of going through Alzheimer Disease with a loved one. She expressed her quandary in choosing how to get the book published. She said, in so many words, that she was impatient to spend the time it took to go through the process of finding a publisher who might like what she has to offer, but that others in her writing circle had, “planted seeds of doubt that I wasn’t being “professional” by self publishing.”

Well, honey, first off, self-publishing is not anything new, and I doubt the likes of Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, or James Joyce would consider it unprofessional. They each at one time published their own work. Such a thing was common back in their day. And  Anthony Hope, who wrote The Prisoner of Zenda, (and goodness knows that’s had at least two movies made of it. I recommend the one with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., so hokey and so delightful). One modern book was The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer. Amazing.

Miracle-1999Self-publishing fell out of style for awhile, but it is back and in a big way and here to stay. It has become Independent publishing, or Indie for short.

There is room for it all–traditional publishing and indie publishing. What writers and readers are given by the indie publishing is more options and creativity. There’s nothing unprofessional about that.

Back in 1999, when self-publishing was very much denigrated, (certainly the Journalism School at the University of Oklahoma, where I attended, frowned heavily on the idea), I decided to publish my small novella, Miracle On I-40. Computers and desktop publishing were coming on like gangbusters, and a number of us romance genre writers decided to band together to help each other and formed The Author’s Studio. A few of the writers had books their current publishers did not want to publish because the stories did not fit their ‘guidelines’, meaning they were too original. A couple wanted to, and did, develop their own publishing houses, a number successfully running today.  I myself wanted to see my book published in a lovely way, with beautiful font and styling. I’m mad for fonts.

The result of my passion and daring was the small, soft-cover edition of  Miracle on I-40. I used Adobe Pagemaker and did every bit of the formatting, and I found a cover artist who did a sweet job, an artist who did beautiful illustrations, and a printing company in Nashville that went beyond friendly and helpful. While it took a few years, I did earn back my investment plus a bit more. For me, the process was invaluable.

Miracle-on-I-40In 2005, I re-sold the rights to Miracle On I-40 to Mira Books, which produced the book in a hardback gift edition. After only one season, the publisher again let the book fall out of print and languish, forgotten.

More years went by, until finally I was able to once more secure the rights to the book and publish it as ebook with Belgrave House, which, by the way is one of those author publishing houses begun back in 1999 and now publishes many a best-selling book.

Miracle On I-40 by Curtiss Ann Matlock, the 2005 revised and expanded edition published in hardback by Mira Books, now in ebook from Belgrave House.

Had I not followed the path of my own indie publishing back in 1999, Miracle On I-40 would today still be forgotten. I have had so many wonderful letters from readers on the book that make me glad for stepping out and going my own way. It is my plan for the coming Christmas to have it into print-on-demand with Createspace, too. But I have so much to learn!

The reasons to indie publish are as varied as writers themselves. For myself, independent publishing gives me control, joy in the creative act with cover art, too, and the adventure of seeing what I can do and where I can go. It’s all good.

Sometimes you have to step out to find out. ~ Joyce Meyer

17 thoughts on “It is Called Indie Publishing

  1. Reblogged this on teripolen and commented:
    Last week, I mentioned to someone I would probably be self-publishing my book because of the time frame associated with traditional publishing. Once an agent sells a book to a publisher, it can be anywhere from one to three years before that book hits the shelves. And that’s assuming you’ve already found an agent. When I said this, I got “The Look” – you know that look, the stigma associated with indie publishing. It can take the form of disdain, dismissal, condescension, or even superiority. I’ve read some amazing books by independent authors – some better than those who’ve gone the traditional route. This post originally appeared on and deserves to be reblogged numerous times.


  2. I am rereading all of the books that I own by you (for the third time?). I know that some time ago you wrote a list of all of your books etc. for us. Is it possible for you to do it again? I am a pain, but I love your writing. I am currently rereading Lost Highways. Happy that you are tenacious in doing what you feel is right. Love and hugs, ChiChi


  3. I have “indie” published for nearly thirty years. My only interactions with legacy publishers came in the form of two rejection letters–yes, I rejected two unsolicited offers from legacy publishers. I’m not categorically opposed to legacy publishers, but if I were to go with one, they would have to offer me a better situation than what I have now–which would be difficult, because I am very content. While it’s true that many indie-published books are poorly edited, if edited at all, other indie books read just fine and have done very well. I might have to read “Miracle on I-40,” as I witness a miracle on I-40 every morning, when I make it to work without getting run over.


  4. I was involved in the “Indie” music scene in Seattle in early 90s…nobody was paying attention to a bunch of slackards from the cold, clammy Pacific Northwest. Did two CDs, and think I was the only one of my peers who didn’t get rich…Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, etc. With the internet it’s possible to advertise and sell a Indie book now and make something of it. Was approached by a publishing house, Artists and Artisans, and they wanted me to have a sales plan, connections for readings, a map of who would read, and comparison of how well similar books had done. It was almost like Indie publishing, until everything was moving…then they took over. Some thoughts…


    • The entire reason for publishers was that they handled all the details of publishing– editing, cover, printing, advertising, distribution. Then things began to fall more and more on the author, and yet the publisher keeps reaping their percentage and keeping control.


      • Exactly. The fellow I was referring to worked for Random House, and went out on his own. He was small, so there was lots of attention, and he was connected, so there were benefits. But, I was to do all the footwork, and he was going to take over once the money flow started. Not for me…I work too hard for what lttle I get. Great subject…hope others got as much out of it as I did. Thanks, again.


  5. This is certainly encouraging. I feel although the stigma that used to come along with the indie publishing option has lessened somewhat, many people still think of it as a lesser form of publishing. I say throw caution to the wind and get your work out there. Will share this with my followers, and thank you!


  6. My dad has been looking for a publisher for his second book and has been reluctant to “indie” publish given the stigma still attached to it by some people. I’ve forwarded your encouraging post to him!!!


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