PJ Sharon here, talking about Indie Excellence today. With all the new indie-published authors flocking to the internet, the gazillion free self-pubbed books available for Nooks and Kindles, and the influx of Small Press publishers, how can we possibly separate the chaff from the wheat, or in this case, the good from the bad in published books?
Most readers, in an effort to narrow their search, will go to those trusted Top 100 lists on Amazon or BN. How do books make the list you ask? And which list are we actually talking about? Here’s a great article by David Gaughran about the difference between the Top100 lists and the Popularity lists. Most people don’t realize there’s a difference or what it means. The trick is getting on those lists and becoming visible to readers who routinely shop there. But making the list is one thing—staying there is another. Both require a tremendous amount of promotion, a dollop of good timing, and a heaping helping of luck. One big edge that traditional publishers have is the power of advertising. They know how, where, and when to advertise to get maximum exposure. Whereas us indies are figuring it out as we go along, and taking shots in the dark that either pay-off or they don’t.
Ironically, there are nearly as many indie-pubbed books on the Top 100 list lately as traditionally published books, a fact that makes us indies very hopeful that the playing field is leveling out quickly. The truth is that readers don’t care HOW a book is published. They care about a good story. But finding great indie books can be challenging since there are no real controls in place to ensure that what is published is a quality product. And yes, there is a tremendous amount of poorly written, poorly edited, and shoddy work out there. My personal experience, however, has been that there are some amazing indie authors producing phenomenal books. Stop back next week to see my “Favorite Indie books” list.
My favorite part of reading indie books is that they are unique in plot, structure, voice, and character—all the reasons that they weren’t picked up by trad-publishers who are looking for “the same, but different”. Indie books often fall outside the traditional mold and therefore are overlooked by agents and editors who think they know “what the market wants”. Thankfully, the Top 100 lists filled with all those indie-pubbed books are proving them wrong. My feeling is that there is an audience for every well-written story.
If you want to find some great quality indie books, check out the following sites.
There are also more and more review sites that are now reviewing Indie books.
Kirkus Reviews (although it is pricey to get a review from them and paid reviews just seem wrong to me.)
Even RT Magazine is “Hot for Indies” according to this article on the WG2E. Still, there is something about being traditionally published that screams legitimacy. Not that being traditionally published guarantees quality. I’m sure we have all read poorly written and poorly edited books straight off the bookshelves of BN and the desks of Big Six publishers. But for most writers, the legitimacy of being traditionally published still means something. We want our friends, families, readers, and peers to know that we DESERVE to be published—that our work was recognized as standing out among the hundreds of thousands of writers who submitted their manuscripts into the fray. And that our writing has been judged worthy.
So who decides what truly makes the cut in the Indie world? Enter the IndiePENdents, a group of authors who started a review site set up to judge and legitimize good quality indie books. Each book submitted to the site goes through a panel of three volunteer reviewers and a validation team prior to being awarded the IndiePENdents Seal of Approval. I’m proud to say that my first book, Heaven Is For Heroes was one of those books selected for the honor. I received a certificate and this lovely seal to place on the covers of my print books to show that this book has met the industry standard of excellence in writing. The book also made the Awesome Indies review site’s top picks.
I’m so thankful to the wonderful volunteers who read and review indie books, making it possible for readers to find the best of the best in Indie Publishing. You guys rock! be sure to stop by Rhonda Hopkins’ blog later this morning. I’m a guest on her Authors Give Back charity blog and I’ll be sharing one of my favorites and why I love it. The post goes live at 9 am EST.
Please tell me dear readers, have you read any good Indie published books lately? What did you love about them? How did you come to find them? And was the quality up to your standard for a good book?