Independently Published

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the term self-published?

For a number of people, especially those in the publishing industry, the following word comes to mind:

“Substandard”

Personally, I find the term self-published confusing. Does that mean that the author published it through a vanity publishing house such as Xulon, Winepress, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, PublishAmerica, etc.? Does it mean that they published it through Lulu.com or CreateSpace.com and have that company listed as the publisher? Does it mean that the author, herself or himself, is the publisher and listed as such? Or, does it mean that the author published the book through a publishing company or business they own?

While self-published books are gaining ground in the industry, a prejudice against them remains. Many awards, book review publications, and even author and publishing associations do not allow “self-published” books or authors.

If you have self-published a book—by which I mean that you are listed as the publisher or a company you own is listed as the publisher of the book—then I suggest you use the term Independently Published to avoid stigma.

The English language is constantly changing. Words fall in and out of favor as different connotations become associated with them. For instance, “handicapped” used to be acceptable when taking about a disabled person. After a while, the associations with that word became negative, so “disabled” came into vogue.

The same is true for self-published. The term has gathered too much negativity. I suggest we start fresh. Let’s use the term independently published because that does describe what you have done—published your book autonomously.

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3 thoughts on “Independently Published

  1. Great post and points Sarah. I am a true Independent publisher & author. Your comments reflect the difficulty we face when trying to accurately state our case in an atmosphere of skepticism about self-publishing. Thanks for a thorough overview and comparison, and a brief study in overcoming the language barrier. 🙂

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  2. Sarah, this really helped me understand the frustration I have had when marketing my book! I usually have to go into a lengthy explanation about what I did–as a “self”-publisher– to get the book published (if I am able to keep them on their interest)! I plan to use this new term, and let’s hope it proves successful!! Thanks!

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