Indie Publishing: Some Thoughts

There’s a pretty interesting discussion going on in list serve world regarding small presses, independent presses, and self publishing. This last item really is the sorest point of contention, given the apparent stigma of “vanity publishing.” I don’t know so much what the difference is between “vanity publishing” and doing DIY. IS there a difference? How is each term defined?

One point being discussed is publishing houses and prestige, and under what circumstances is it important to be published by a prestigious publisher. I wonder how prestige is defined or determined, first of all. Still, the part of this discussion that’s most interesting to me is this: if your intent as a poet is to get your work out into the world, to reach your perceived readership, audience, and/or communities, then whether or not your publisher is prestigious should not be so important (in grad school, one of my professors said to me that whether a publisher had an effective distribution system in place was more important). If a major part of your publishing career revolves around university tenure, then landing book contracts with a prestigious publisher is more of a concern. But not all poets operate within that system.

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