Some thoughts from around the web:
"An indie author is a self-published author: someone who takes the plunge to publish their work on their own, whether through a website designed for the purpose or self-printing and distribution."
"At its most basic, indie means there is no separate publisher involved. Many indies may have setup their own micro-press, so their books still have a publisher name that is not the author’s name but the publisher is n"ot one of the author services companies. The indie author most likely owns their own ISBNs. The indie pays the bills and is paid by the distributors e.g. Amazon/Smashwords directly. The only middleman is the distributor."
"The word "Indie" means independent. We are authors who choose not to publish through a publisher, especially since we can make 70% on our books instead of the 10-12% publishers offer. I expect to see a lot more authors becoming Indie Authors."
"The basic working definition at present on this site is that: the author retains their rights in the work. Either the author publishes in their own name, or sets up a publishing entity to publish, or is part of some co-operative, collaborative or company in which they have a significant input."
"...it also includes authors published with small presses rather than the big mainstream publishers. They're often Arts Council funded etc and require the author to do their own promo."
"In my opinion, anyone who has been traditionally published (by mainstream publishers of any sort where you have an agent, editor and so on) is not an indie author. This would include Raymond Benson, Barry Eisler, and others. And yes, JA Konrath. I would consider these authors as independently publishing books, but they are not true indie authors (a fine distinction maybe, but one I feel is there)."
"Here are the conclusions we came to:
- Indie authorship and self-publishing are not quite synonymous but an independent author will have self-published at least one book.
- Going 'indie' is, more than anything, an attitude of mind.
- 'Indie' does not necessarily mean 'self-publishing only' and even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers.
- Indies are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriat, so long as the author's status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
- Indie authors expect this equal partnership model to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
- Because it involves us in every part of the process, self-publishing is the most creative choice a writer can make, and very empowering.
- It does, however, require the writer to develop a variety of skills and aptitudes and keep up with a demanding and fast-changing environment. It is thus best suited to writers of an entrepreneurial bent.
- The shift from the author as resource (in the new parlance 'content provider') to author creative director of a book, from conception to completion and beyond, is revolutionary and is prompting trade (nonwriting) publishers to rethink what they do and how they do it.
- All of this is very good for writers. And what is good for writers can only be good for readers.
- Self-publishers are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance 'content provider') to respecting the author as creative director.
- Self-publishers are now proud of the indie label, which they carry into your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for their own benefit and to the benefit of all writers."
What would you say an indie author is?