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Self-publisher or not self-publisher? | Dougie Brimson

12 August 2016

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This week we're honoured to have Dougie Brimson, Former serviceman and now best-selling author and screenwriter, offer his thoughts on the label of 'Indie Author'. Dougie has now amassed 15 books in his writing career, moving into screenwriting in 2003 with the critically acclaimed short movie It's a Casual Life and Hollywood funded Green Street featuring Elijah Wood. With a plethora of awards for his work at film festivals such as South By South West & The British Independent Film Festival he has had the pleasure of working with Martin Kemp, Leo Gregory and Danny Dyer to name a few.


Dougie Writes:

The other day, whilst talking about the subject of publishing, I was referred to as an indie-author and then asked if I was comfortable with the label.

My response was seemingly the cause of some angst to my inquisitor who, from what I could gather, was hoping their question would illicit a rambling and angry diatribe about the evil empire that is traditional publishing. What they got instead, after about a milli-second of thought, was the response that not only do I not know, I don’t actually care.

However, since the question was asked I have actually given it some consideration and eventually I goggled the obvious question; what is an indie author? The response was extremely interesting with the top answer being provided by the Alliance of Independent Authors who define it thus:

  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You recognise that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that 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.
  • You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • You recognise that you 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.
  • You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.

Now if that’s the standard definition, I’m actually none the wiser. After all, I’ve never self-published a book and I certainly don’t do anything for the benefit of other writers (why should I? They’ve never done much for me!) so that pegs me firmly in the NOT camp. However, I most certainly do involve other people in my work and since without me, there will be no more Dougie Brimson books, it’s fairly obvious that I am both the creative director and very much my own boss which puts me squarely in the AM category.

But, and here’s the key point, as anyone who knows anything about me or who has taken the trouble to read a blog post or two will know full well, I’m barely comfortable calling myself an author let alone prefixing that with anything else.

I write books and I sell books, that’s as far as it goes for me and if someone wants to tag me with this label or that label, that’s their business. It’s certainly not mine because I’m too busy writing.

Which is actually how it should be.

Thinking of Self-Publishing?

Some Famous Authors Who Self-Published:

  • Sylvia Plath
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Mark Twain
  • Virginia Wolff
  • Beatrix Potter

Some Famous Authors Who Were Rejected By Publishers:

  • Dr. Seuss
  • George Orwell
  • Herman Melville
  • John Grisham
  • Deepak Chopra


New Generation Publishing Says:

Indie Author, Self-Publisher, Writer, we're happy for people to call themselves whatever they like!, the most important thing is that you enjoy it! As much as you say you haven't helped other authors, i'm sure your views here have given our readers a little encouragement that they don't have to join a club, chat with other writers or be all pally pally if they don't want to. It just seems that there is more of a community surrounding 'Indie Authors' than traditional published authors, which can be a help (or hinderance) when making decisions about your publishing route! Thanks for sharing Dougie. We wish you all the success with your latest book!


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