I'm not going to get into a semantic wrestling match over whether or not a self-published author is an independent publisher. I call myself an indie author. It has fewer syllables.
Amazon recently announced changes to the Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited royalty structure. An author will be paid for the number pages read when their book is borrowed. How much will they be paid? We don't know yet. I expect Amazon will walk the tightrope between paying just enough to keep authors in the program but less royalty than a sale would deliver.
The caveat is the reader has to finish the book to get the full amount. Can you imagine? How many of us abandoned War and Peace? (I'm raising my hand) We are biting our nails, hoping that we've written a book gripping enough to keep the pages turning. (This does not apply to the trade-published novels by the way. Indie is a whole 'nuther universe.)
Here's the interesting (to me) twist to the story. I woke up on June 2nd, suddenly resolved to remove my three Gatineau Hills Mystery titles from Kobo, Apple, and Barnes and Noble (among other places) and enroll them in Select. I didn't know this new royalty structure was in the wind--it was only announced last week. I would have received $1.37 per borrow (est.). A sale would net me $3.50 (give or take). But I figured it was worth it to promote the books, find readers willing to borrow an unknown author and the enrollment is only for 90 days.
Under the new royalty, a borrow read all the way through could net me closer to $3 (assuming a 0.01/page royalty). Am I psychic? Hah! I'm very happy I trusted my intuitive voice this time and made the move. I created new covers especially for KDP and I'll hold a promotion over the coming months.
The flip side of this new event is that shorter works such as the Razor Series will be bundled and take longer to release. NJ Dorrian's Wuthering Heights Variations Series will be released wide as soon as her 90 days in Select expires. That series was designed to be novella-length. Besides, in watching buying and borrowing habits, I believe readers of historical fiction prefer to buy over borrow. So look for NJ Dorrian on Kobo, Apple and Barnes and Noble this August.
As for me--holy hannah! Too much writing to do. My brain gives out after four hours and then I run off to make covers, ponder promos, write blurbs, tweak keywords, post updates to the blog, and plunk updates in the Excel spreadsheet I had to create for this enterprise.
Sounds like an independent publisher to me. Indie all the way.