Self, Indie, or Artisanal?

I have to admit, I sort of annoy myself sometimes with all this hyphenate self-indie-artisanal publishing thing. I mean, which is it?

Of course, the main problem here is that that the publishing world is quickly shifting, and that lots of this is new. So one person might call something one thing, and another, another. And there’s plenty of heat around the terminology. Presses have been going by the term “indie,” for years, and many of them don’t really want to be lumped with or confused with this new batch of wildfire self publishers. Who can blame them, really? But the new POD self publishers–the ones doing a great job at it and embracing the positives of going rogue–don’t all want to be termed self-publishers either, because they feel it doesn’t reflect the quality of their work, their distinction from vanity press authors, and their spirit of entrepreneurship. Who can blame them either?

Let’s do our best to define some terms.

Self publishing – “The publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher …. The author is responsible and in control of [the] entire process including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.” (Thanks, Wikipedia.) Self publishing is broken down into three categories: ebooks, vanity publishing, and print on demand.

Indie publishing – (Also seen, less often, as indy publishing.) “Traditionally refers to independent art… created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing. Although many independent book publishing companies are incorporated, they are independent of the major conglomerates that dominate the book publishing industry. Independent book publishers include small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.” (Thanks IBPPG,

Small presses – A publisher with annual sales below $50 million or an average of less than ten titles per year. Is often used to refer to indie publishers. Practically, self publishers are often excluded from competing with “small presses,” when institutions require that the press publish more than one author’s work (like in contests).

Artisanal publishing – The term Apple’s Guy Kawasaki (and author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) uses to replace the stigmatized “self publishing.” The idea is that we give respect to artisanal bakers because they hand-craft and carefully labor, so why not give the same respect to authors who do that same thing?

Self printing – The term Self-Printed author and self-pub guru Catherin Ryan Howard uses to better define self-publishing. (She also uses the term self-publishing, because that is familiar.) It emphasizes the act of going out of house for printing only.

Well, that clears it up, doesn’t it? Sure, on paper, but not with people’s tempers or prejudices. Or perhaps it’s not completely prejudices, but ways people have of communicating with other people exactly what it is they do and what they don’t do, and in the most flattering light. And mechanisms for functioning, like for example, book contests that have been operating at a total submission rate of around 2000 for years claim they can not possibly expand quickly enough to accept self publishers. (And then that’s when the prejudices come in, as many of these same organizations shrug it off, saying “good riddance. Nothing good comes from Nazareth, anyways.”) We’ll just have to celebrate the rise of self pub contests, journals, and lists, then, and look for new ways to legitimize our work outside of the old standards.

At any rate, it looks like I am well within my bounds to call myself a self publisher, an indie publisher, an artisanal publisher, or self printed, and be right every time. I like the idea of artisanal publisher, but since it is rarely used, I think I’m going to stick to a combo between self publisher and indie publisher, because yes, I publish books and no, I am not ashamed that I only do my own.

(For more about how one can have the gall to name a one-person company, see the previous blog on The Accidental Entrepreneur.)


Want to celebrate self publishing? Support Owl and Zebra Press at our Kickstarter campaign, and do it in the NEXT TWO DAYS! Then share it!



Whatever kind of publisher you want to call her, I want to introduce you to Laekan Zea Kemp, the author of the YA ebook, The Girl In Between. She is currently running a blog tour to celebrate her most recent publication, Book 2 of the series, The Boy In Her Dreams. Check it out.


Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Find this book on Goodreads, Amazon, Google Play, and Smashwords. You can currently download the ebook for free from Smashwords and Google Play!

THE BOY IN HER DREAMSThe Boy In Her Dreams (Book 2)

When Roman wakes from a six month coma, the first thing he sees is the girl of his dreams. Except Bryn isn’t confined to the dream-state anymore and neither is he. He’s awake and alive and as the memories of how he and Bryn fell in love come rushing back, so do the memories of why he’s lying in that hospital bed in the first place.

Plagued by guilt, Roman makes a decision that alters both their fates and as Bryn fights for her life in a German hospital, Roman must fight for her forgiveness before it’s too late. Because Roman and Bryn weren’t the only things to wake out of Bryn’s dreams. The shadows seem to be hunting them both and a strange side effect of Roman’s miraculous recovery may be the only means of stopping them. That is, if he can reach Bryn before she slips too deeply into the very dreams that seem to be imposing more and more on their waking lives every day.

Find Book 2 on Goodreads, Amazon, and Smashwords.

LAEKAN ZEA KEMPLaekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.

Find Laekan online at her blog, on Twitter, at Goodreads, and on Wattpad (free books!).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s