Today’s world of publishing is quite murky. It is hard for readers to know if a book has been self-published, published by a small publisher or traditionally published. Why does this matter? Quality is the main reason.
Self-published books are often of lesser quality. Sorry, but that’s my experience. I’ve read many a self-published book and perhaps the content is good, but the editing isn’t. Mistakes galore is an understatement. Authors resort to self-publishing for many reasons. First, they may want to hold onto the book’s rights–they want all the proceeds from the sale. Second, a traditional publisher will not publish their work. There could be third and fourth reasons, but these are the two that matter most to readers.
Usually traditional publisher pass on a manuscript or proposal because they feel it’s not going to sell. In other words, readers don’t want to read whatever the author has written or proposed. Sometimes publishers make a mistake in judgement. We’ve all heard Tom Clancy stories where the author gave up on traditional publishers and self-published his first book which became a best seller. Yes, those examples exist, but they are rare.
What about indie publishing? What does that mean? This is where everything gets even fuzzier. If you Google indie publishing, you’ll find two definitions. One says that indie publishers are small publishers, not affiliated with the author, simply a small, independent publishing houses. Another says indie publishers are indie authors. In other words, authors publish their own books (self-publish) but under another name, not the author’s name. (I saw many ads for self-publishing under the guise of indie publishing.)
Here’s my advice to readers, like me, who want to know if a book is self-published. Before you purchase a book, look at the publisher, then Google that name. If that publisher has only published one author, you probably have an indie publisher.
At this stage in the confusing publishing world, that’s about the best readers can do.