How Indies Unlimited Will Help You Find a Publisher

Retro-Pop-Art-Woman IU knows allWe get lots of email here at IU. Sometimes we get kudos (we like those a lot!). Sometimes we get questions we can answer. We love those, because we are here to help people achieve their dreams of being published.

But sometimes we get questions that would take hours to answer, and honestly, folks, we work for free and just don’t have that kind of bandwidth. Often they go something like this:

Hi Indies Unlimited,
I’ve written a major groundbreaking book and I need help finding a publisher. Can you help me? Who would you recommend?

Or this:

Hi Indies Unlimited,
I’ve written a great novel. I’ve heard I can’t get a publisher to look at my work unless I have an agent, but I don’t know where to find for one. Got any tips?

Or even this:

Hi Indies Unlimited,
I have written a fabulous book. Can you publish it for me?

Our staff is full of kind, caring, long-suffering people, so we don’t ever respond to these types of questions with the sort of weapons-grade snark we would like to use. Instead, here is a version of IU’s official response:

Dear Author,

Indies Unlimited is not a publisher. Therefore, we cannot publish your book for you.

As far as assisting you with finding a publisher, we have only one response for that: Indies Unlimited is geared toward independent authors. The word “indies” is in our URL because we celebrate and assist authors who want help with publishing their own work. (Granted, “indie” also includes authors who have been published by small, independent presses, but that’s not where our focus is.)

Every author on our staff is self-published. Some of us have been traditionally published in the past, but we (as well as a bunch of big-name authors) have all bailed from traditional publishing. We think self-publishing is better: better for authorial control, better for getting a book out to readers more quickly, and better in a whole host of other ways (here’s a wonderful example).

In short, the only publisher we will ever recommend is YOU.

Please don’t say you could never publish your own book. It’s surprisingly easy to do these days. We’ve all done it – and we have written tons of tips-and-tricks articles to help you figure out how to do it yourself. In fact, we have an entire resource page right here that will guide you through the self-publishing process step by step.

Also, please don’t confuse self-publishing with using a vanity press like one of Author Solutions’ many imprints. We did a month’s worth of articles a while back that explained why this is a Bad Idea. The bottom line is that there are a lot of shady operators out there who will promise to hold your hand through the publishing process – all while they’re fleecing your savings and making sure your book will never have a chance to be a best-seller.

We’re not saying that going indie is easy. Publishing your own book is hard work. But so is finding a publisher, and the odds are that you’ll still be responsible for doing all your own publicity. And, of course, there’s no magic way to find an agent or a traditional publisher, either. There is lots of information about those topics on the internet, and we recommend you do a web search to find it. Just make sure you do your homework and learn how to spot a publishing scam before you make any commitments.

Good luck with your search. And when you’re ready to tackle self-publishing, come on back to IU. Check out our many posts on manuscript formatting, cover creation, blurb writing, promotions, and lots more. If you have questions then, feel free to ask us – we’ll be more than happy to answer them.

Love, Indies Unlimited

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

25 thoughts on “How Indies Unlimited Will Help You Find a Publisher”

  1. Great post, Lynne. I teach self-pub classes through a continuing ed program in my area, and my classes are always filled to capacity. It’s great to get the word out that self-publishing is not hard, and not expensive (free!). Writers no longer need to grovel at the feet of trad publishers. This is our time. Go Indie!

  2. Brilliant! So neatly put, Lynne.
    I can’t remember the days when folk who’d scribbled something thought they had the automatic right to see it published – by someone else, at their expense – although I’m sure this happened. When I started writing the best piece of advice I received was: “Invest 95% of your time in learning how the system works, what publishing really means and about all the tasks and processes that go into writing, proofing and producing a published book. The writing is the easy bit, so get used to it.”
    I won’t suggest for a moment that this was a shock, as I never expected it to be easy, but it was a timely reminder to set my expectations realistically. So I set about learning and boy, did I feel blessed when I stumbled across IU. It is a real goldmine, both of useful and accurate information and of wonderful people with experience and advice they are willing to share so freely.
    Twelve years on and ten books later (not all of them yet published), I have learned a lot and still learn something worthwhile every day. In addition, the commentary and critiques ad tremendous encouragement I have received over the years have helped so much in improving my writing, editing and critical reading skills. That alone has been worth the effort such that the actual published results are now a bonus.
    People should not be under any illusions, life ain’t easy, nor is publishing, but who wants everything for free? If everything was gratis it would have no value and life would be pointless. I hope that along the way I have been able to add a bit and offer a drop of help to someone on their journey for that makes everyone’s efforts worthwhile.
    Thanks eternally for the support IU. 🙂

    1. You’re joking, right?

      We have no tips on finding an agent. Indie authors don’t need them (except maybe for selling foreign rights and movie rights — but you need to sell a lot of books before that becomes an issue).

      1. I would even contend, Jacob, that if you sold enough books to merit foreign and movie rights, that an agent would find you. They do look for successful indies to represent.

  3. Hi Lynn,

    Very nicely said and done, to this day when I talk to others who ask me about self-publishing, I guide them here. Others cannot conceive of doing it themselves and they become totally overwhelmed not just in the writing, but general idea of formatting and submitting it themselves and are reaching for the easy way out to success, “Quick will someone please publish it for me?” attitude, before they give up.
    Well, at 66 I am a late bloomer to self-publishing and Indies Unlimited has given me on they’re web site more then enough information then I need to self-publish. In addition, I have also ended up with a bit of comradery, for through Indies Unlimited I made a pen-pal.
    He is 89 years old, and I helped him self-publish his first 2 books of short stories on KDP and CreateSpace. He went through all the frustrating trials and tribulations while discovering how to self-publish his book and he never gave up.
    I am very proud to call him my friend and wish him success with his books. I think he mentioned that he’ll soon be starting his 3rd book, all that’s to you.

  4. A wise, kind, and gentle answer to a stupid question – not blasting the newbie out of the water with the big cannon, but using the tiniest squirt gun, and showing great restraint.

    I remember reading several agent blogs a long time ago, and the snark was great and the intention to hurt; the liquid of choice was acid. Yes, newbies are clueless sometimes; worse, some are lazy and entitled; but blasting them only makes enemies, and you supplied information for the merely clueless.

    It is not likely that someone with no knowledge of the systems – indie and traditional – will navigate either successfully, but those who CAN learn WILL learn, and will appreciate the kid gloves.

    Plus you sure packed a lot of basic information into that one answer.

    1. Thanks, Alicia. 🙂

      I think part of what made indie publishing take off so fast was that attitude you mention on the part of agents. They began taking themselves too seriously, I think. Guess indie publishing has taken care of their overly full inboxes, at least to some degree. 😉

  5. A really excellent post, Lynn. And needed. I refer writers to Indies Unlimited almost daily. I get it that indie publishing seems overwhelming. I was so dumb when I started, I was asked had I been living under a rock. Just about, I’d been living off grid for years. Took me six months just to learn indie language and acronyms, so I have empathy for newbies who are anxious to learn the system.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: