THERE’S ONE VITAL consideration that needs to be touched on when talking about choosing between going indie or signing with a media company: love.
Boing Boing started out as a zine—an indie magazine—complete with indie orthography: the name was written bOING bOING. The founders, Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair, were a married couple who published the zine as a labor of love—but because it was a printed, physical good, it got more expensive for them as it got more popular. Recognizing this, Mark and Carla charged for copies. I used to sell it in the late 1980s, when I was working in bookstores. It was one of my favorite publications.
bOING bOING did well for a “little” magazine, and found a national distributor that went belly-up shortly thereafter. Many independent zines, including bOING bOING, died with it. When book and magazine distributors go bankrupt, they often take down publishers, too, because the publishers’ inventory is sold off to pay the banks and other creditors. So publishers lose both their merchandise and all the money that their distributors owe them, which is usually all it takes to bankrupt them, too.
Mark and Carla took up other projects after that, and many years later Mark found himself covering the launch of a new service called Blogger for a magazine called the Industry Standard. He still had the boingboing.net