A number of ideas are now floating about the obvious need for a new book-publishing business model, One of them directly addresses both the cause of and the remedy to its problems: The indiePENdents.org
The glut of self-published works on the printed and digital markets is a direct result of the changes in technology. Any computer savvy individual can now publish a manuscript — unfortunately, regardless of its worth. Often, such manuscripts have not been even touched by an editor’s hand. This makes it hard for readers to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. It also makes bookstores and libraries reluctant to carry works which have not been vetted by the traditional industry gatekeepers.
The imbalance between the number of existing mainstream “gatekeepers” and the number of authors seeking to publish their work has already resulted in a flood of titles not vetted by any standard. This harms the reputation of all indie-published books.
The emergence of this problem was the genesis for the idea of The indiePENdents.org. We are instituting a free, objective and trustworthy review of indie titles, evaluated by our panels, each consisting of three volunteer peer reviewers. The standards given them as guidance are no different than those used in traditional book publishing. The text of the standards will be on view on our website www.indiePENdents.org, as will each of the “approved” titles.
Our seal will give readers, bookshops and libraries an assurance that the self-published books we review and find up to standard are as good as those that passed through the hurdles of mainstream publishing. (The only element we will not wager on is whether or not the reviewed title will make money, which is one of the basic criteria in the business of traditional publishing. But this may actually give us an advantage which dozens of now famous self-pubbed authors in the past, such as James Joyce for instance, did not have.) And the best news is that indie authors can now offer bookshops consignment contracts with terms as favorable as those given them by other publishers.
With our peer reviews, The indiePENdents.org seeks to establish an even playing field and to open the market to all good authors, whether mainstream or independent (i.e. self-published).
This would benefit both the “mainstream” industry and the all-too-numerous writers who are self-published because the overwhelmed established model is accessible to so few of them.
The indiePENdents.org is introducing a much-needed element to the market of literature by making it an even playing field.
Authors are invited to notify www.indiePENdents.org that they would like to receive a peer review, indicating the platform of their title. We will contact them with the particulars.
Jasha M. Levi, author
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