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The Strange Side of the Writing Life

5 Authors Who Love Going Indie

  • October 10, 2016
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SMOKE COVER FINALSmoke: Tales Between Dark and Light


Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin


There’s a long, respected history of indie filmmakers and indie musicians. Now indie authors, too, can play with concepts that are on the edge. I love the ability to be a hybrid author—to traditionally publish some things while stretching into what is sometimes less-charted territory with other pieces. Indie entrepreneurship allows a collaboration that’s not always available otherwise. Our Penhead anthologies, Smoke and Hunger, arose from that kind of creative centrifuge.


J. M. Levinton


For me, there are two kinds of time to being an indie author. The first is obvious—my timeline is my own. How long it takes me to write and edit and work with the people to create a cover and paperback formatting—all this happens when I’m ready to do it. But the other kind of time, the time I’m saving, is the speed with which I publish. I don’t need to wait to find an agent or publisher and then wait a year or more before my book goes public. That freedom is what I love about being an indie author.


R.G. Emanuelle


There are advantages to being published traditionally, and having worked with several different houses, I know what those advantages are. But being an indie author gives you the freedom of doing what you feel is right for your book. I’m not impossible to please, but I do have strong feelings about things like layout, cover design, release dates, etc. As an indie author, I can make those decisions and work at my own pace to reach those goals. And, ultimately, I reap the majority of the rewards for my hard work.


Anne E. Wagenbrenner


I never set out to be an indie author. My vision was to travel the traditional route: traditional agent, traditional publisher. And, as a new author, I’m still trying to attain that. But I’m often tempted to ditch the whole traditional thing and go totally indie. The reason is this, and only this: Artistic freedom.


Arielle Prose


What I like about being an indie author is that you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself—and maybe to your writer’s group if you have one, which can be an advantage to an indie writer. It’s an added bonus if you have a writer’s group that you trust. There are pros and cons to indie publishing, (read my fellow Penheads’ comments), but the element of trust is essential. And you don’t always have that with a publisher of your work, especially when you’re starting out. To me the biggest advantage to having a publisher rather than being a publisher is that the publisher already has an audience for you, presumably, whereas being an indie you have to do all the work of finding that audience.


Why do you love going indie?






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