Prepublishing, Traditional

Indie? Indie Press? Are They the Same Thing?

For the novice, indie and indie press/publishing company can sound like the same thing. It’s easy enough to confuse two things that share part of the same name. But they aren’t the same thing. This quick post is to tell you the short facts about the two.


Indie is used by many in the self-publishing community. They use it because to them, they are independent of traditional publishing.

They handle all the steps from writing the draft to finding freelancers to handle things like editing, cover, formatting, and hire PAs/VAs (personal and virtual assistants) to help with marketing.

For some, publishing is a hobby and for others it’s a career that they will invest their heart and soul into, treating it like the business it is.

Indie Press

An indie press is a small publisher—think mom and pop type publisher with a small staff—who is as serious about the publishing world as any other traditional publisher. They don’t have huge coffers like the Big 5 would, and they don’t have the backing that the major players have, but what they lack in size of operation, they make up with knowledge and experience in the areas they focus on. They produce quality products and adhere to a standard.

Just like the top tier and middle tier of traditional publishers, indie presses cover the cost of publishing the authors who they deem worthy of their time. There isn’t a “pay to play” mentality as compared to vanity publishing.

Many indie presses are started by indies who decide to logically expand, but that’s not where “indie press” gets their name. Indie Press is a throwback to the music industry where “indie” meant not having the backing by major records.

Does it Matter?

Well, yes. Terminology is important when you are researching. Some vanity publishers have caught on and begun using the same terminology to swoop in and con unsuspecting writers. They use words like Indie Publishing and prey on writers who don’t know the truth of the words and can say “that’s not right.”

When you use the correct terms in groups, you’re showing a well-rounded understanding from your peers. It gives your voice/opinion more weight when talking about various things. And when you understand what’s being talked about, you can make better decisions, you can find the information you are actively seeking, give solid advice when someone asks, and so much more.

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This post was edited/proofed by Dennis Doty and ProWritingAid.


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