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Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Independent Publishers

'Self publishing versus major publisher' is one of the biggest debates there is. But there is an alternative option that not many people consider.

Independent publishers fall under the category of traditional publishing similar to that of a major, but there are some differences as well.

In this post, we’ll figure out whether an independent book publisher is a good idea to help you handle the publishing of your book.

Independent Publishers

Sometimes known as “indie publishers” or “small press”, independent publishers have distinguished themselves away from the larger structures of major publishers.

The methods used by non-fiction independent publishers are traditional in the sense of they are based on years of market exposure and experience (often, independent publishers have been founded from a publisher who used to work at a major). But there are some differences between self publishing and using a bigger publisher, which we will explore here.

Why choose an Independent Book Publisher

Ease and Convenience

Similar to how a major publishing company handles every aspect of your marketing and promoting of your book, an independent book publisher will do the same. If this is your first time publishing a book, you’re looking for someone to hold your hand throughout the process of getting published, and you've got some profile behind you then an independent publisher is a great option.


Good author-publisher relationships are a bit hit-and-miss these days, but in general, you will find independent publishers friendly, supportive and helpful. Remember their success depends on your success, so they genuinely want to support you. Independent publishers may also give you some special treatment like helping you with bookmarks and little extras used for promotion. An independent book publisher is more prepared to go the extra mile to ensure you become a long-term client of theirs.

Good Level of Involvement

Independent publishers do a pretty good job of keeping you up-to-date on the current situation of your book publishing journey. This means including you every step of the way with a little more flexibility to suit your needs and more leeway to accommodate your choices.


Distribution to major bookshops and airports is handled completely by an independent publisher (via one of Australia's two distributors Dennis Jones or Woodslane). Generally speaking, however, they may not have as big a reach as a major publishing company, which often has an international market.

Why not choose an Independent Book Publisher

Print Time

Can vary - it could be quick or you could be waiting a while, depending on their release schedule. If your book is printed offshore then it will mean a longer print time. However, if not, then your book could be turned around within six months from submitting your manuscript.


Most independent publishers use onshore designers, but whether you like the design is another matter. However, this is always going to be a risk when you use any kind of designer, and you will find that independent publishers are more flexible when it comes to getting something you like. All publisher large and small will tell you that it's not just about the aesthetics!

In summary

There is no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to deciding how you want to publish your book, it's dependent on why you're writing, what you're strategy is and which option will best support you.

However, an independent publisher can be a great middle-of-the-road option if you have a well-developed framework of thinking, great market fit and are willing to invest a bit more to have someone support you and guide you along your publishing journey and to help yoiu lift your profile.

If you’re unsure about costs and want to assess further wther an independent publisher is the right choice for you, then check out my other posts on self publishing a book, versus going with a major publisher.

As always, this is my opinion here based on my personal experience of working with self publishers, major publishers and independent publishers.

You have your own experience and learnings, which may differ from mine, so I would love to hear from you.

Please comment below or get in touch.



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