When authors choose not to publish with a traditional publishing house, they typically call themselves Indie authors (Independent Authors). This means that they are independent of traditional publishing houses and may or may not control every aspect of their publishing process. However, there is a difference between an author that is self-published and one that has chosen an independent publishing house.

Self-Published Author

A self-published author published themselves. This means that they are not working with any publishing house, and they are 100 percent in control of their works, how they are published and when they are published or unpublished. These authors went directly to the publishing platforms, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play and Apple books and directly uploaded their content, covers and book information to the site.

Independently Published Author (Independent Publishing)

Independently published authors chose a publishing house that sends their books to each individual platform, collects sales, subtracts publishing fees and distributes royalties. These publishing houses work on a royalty basis and typically do not charge for the basic publishing packages. They also do not typically give advances. If an author needs an additional service, like editing, proofreading, formatting for cover design, the site may offer it for a fee or they may refer authors to other businesses that offer those services.

The Primarily Difference Between a Self-Published Author and an Independently Published Author

The big difference between a self-published author and an independently published author is the number of places where the book was uploaded by the author. For a self-published author, the number can range from one to as many platforms as they were able to find and register as an author, publisher or vendor. In order to check sales and determine whether or not their books are successful, the author has to log into each individual platform and look at the metrics. Each publishing site takes out a certain percentage of each book’s sales and gives the remainder to the author. For example, Amazon offers 70% royalties for ebooks priced at $2.99 up to 9.99.

Independently published authors uploaded their book to one platform – the independent publisher. The independent publisher then sends the books to the individual platform and lets the author know if any of those platforms rejected the book or if edits need to be made to the cover or content in order to make the book work for the specific platform. Sales and royalties are provided via a single dashboard. The publisher takes out a certain percentage for each book sold, pays the platforms and distributes the remaining royalties.

Understanding What’s the Same for Self-Published and Independently Published Authors

The core of what the author does is the same. The author is going to write, edit and format their books or hire individuals to edit, proofread and format their books and provide cover design services. Once the authors’ books are published, the author will do the lion’s share of book promotion that may include social media, Amazon ads, Facebook and Twitter ads and any other types of paid and free promotion services they can find.