Indie Publishing (a phrase I prefer to ‘self–publishing’) has its own culture, largely characterised by a commitment to getting authors’ work out there and given the kudos of mainstream publishing. The culture is also marked by generosity, support and sharing.
The phrase ‘self-publishing’ has a wide usage and covers a great deal. ‘Indie publishing’ is more a flag of honour. I’m reminded of the history of indie music production and marketing. The Independent newspaper is happy to co-opt these connotations and be known as ‘The Indie’, perhaps suggesting its claimed difference to other mainstream commercial operations.
The independent publishing field contains largely authors who want to have more freedom, see their writing as a business, and overcome the problems associated with traditional publishing. A smaller number of Indie authors are less interested in making money, and more centred upon radical, experimental writing. In practice, the many available resources to help writers self-publish are useful whatever your motivation may be.
Joanna Penn, herself a best-selling author, set up The Creative Penn to help others. Her website is a fund of advice, links and resources. It’s totally fair that it’s also partly a marketing tool. Marketing your books while offering excellent free stuff are not incompatible: in fact it’s a great blueprint for all authors networking, making connections and happy to give freely quite aside from any gains in book sales.
Go and see the site. You’ll probably be as happy and grateful as I am.