The Joys of Working with the Indie Press by Allison Symes

Image Credit:  All images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

I have the joy of being published with the indie press, as a contributor to various anthologies, and with my two flash fiction collections via Chapeltown Books. I decided early on I didn’t want to self-publish as I wanted to have a traditional publishing contract. I’m not against self publishing, far from it. It was something I didn’t feel equipped to handle.


What has been lovely is I’ve had the best of both worlds. Yes, I have to do the promotion but who doesn’t these days? I had input into the covers of my flash collections and I know many writers have no say on that. 

My favourite quote on that topic comes from a letter P.G. Wodehouse wrote saying “God may forgive Herbert Jenkins Limited for the cover of ………….. But I never shall”. Book title not revealed to protect the guilty! Reading that made me laugh and wince in sympathy with Wodehouse.

I’ve had the joy of having a straightforward process to follow for getting the manuscript in, working with an editor, and an easy to understand contract. It helps a lot knowing the publisher is a stalwart member of the Society of Authors, as indeed I am. I like the idea of smaller publishers giving a voice to those who can tell stories but who would never sell enough to attract the interest of the bigger fish.


From a writing viewpoint, it has been lovely knowing I don’t have to worry about unsolicited submissions. Most independent presses welcome them. Yes, publication times can be slow. This is because I think more people are aware of them now, but the more awareness there is, the more likely it is the small indie will not just survive but thrive. That in turn will give a voice to more writers.  

The indie press have their own guide now (the Mslexia Indie Press Guide). So I would urge any writer who is nervous about self publishing to try the smaller publishers instead. It is a legitimate way to go. And there’s nothing to stop you self-publishing later.


The indie press wasn’t about much when I started writing seriously for publication. (The last dinosaur had just left the planet as far as I recall). But then every submission I made had to be taken to the Post Office to be weighed and posted. Have I welcomed email submissions? Oh yes. I don’t know how much of my life I’ve spent in a Post Office queue but it was too long.

So what with email submissions, print on demand making publishing viable for smaller presses, and more of them springing up, I see all of that as positive and I hope more writers get their works out there.


Is quality an issue? Not from the indie published works I’ve seen. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any of course. Mind you, that’s an issue for the self-published too. 

More options for writers these days then - and I will always welcome that. 


shabnam bhagat said…
At Dream Thanks for this amazing content.

Ruth Leigh said…
Great advice, Allison, and I'd never heard that Wodehouse quote before. Made me chuckle.

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