When I first began considering independent authorhood, I worried I’d feel isolated. Yes, there are lots of other indie authors out there, but I didn’t know any of them personally. And even if I did, would knowing other authors make a difference when I faced that long publishing to-do list? How would I get it all done, and done well?
As it turns out, being indie doesn’t mean having to go it alone. The more I investigate other indie authors’ experiences, the more I see something like networking going on: an indie author contracts with a professional editor, with a graphic artist, with an ebook formatter. Then she reaches out to bloggers to help market her book. And so forth. Everyone involved is independent. They may come together temporarily to provide all or most of the services provided by the traditional publishing industry, but afterwards they separate and are free to recombine in new networks.
Right now, networking provides the best way of getting good indie product to market, and bringing to product to market is essential — otherwise we’ll be stuck forever with the old stigma of self-published novels as poorly written, poorly edited, and unappealingly designed. And not only is networking good for authors, but it’s also good for all the other people out there trying to make independent livings. So, that money you spend on your editor? It supports the indie movement in a larger sense, and that’s a good thing.