With the plethora of independently published books of varying quality on the market, the discerning reader needs a way to find those that are well-crafted. In order to assist readers in that search and to give authors recognition of their book’s quality, the Awesome Indies lists books that meet the same standards as mainstream books.
Evaluations for the Awesome Indies list are based on editorial reviews by what we call ‘publishing industry professionals‘. These are people who know more about the craft of writing than your average reader. They may have degrees in English Literature, Creative Writing, Journalism or Linguistics; they may be editors, authors, teachers, students or simply dedicated reviewers with a professional approach to reviewing.
Specifically, they must
- understand our very specific criteria
- be able to evaluate books against our criteria in an objective fashion.
- be very well read in mainstream books so that they know what would be considered a publishable standard by a mainstream publisher. The bottom line for any book on this site is that it is of the same standard as anything published through the traditional system, so our reviewers must be sure what that standard is and not be swayed by a book they like but that isn’t quite up to scratch in its finer details.
- be aware of stylistic differences that impact on the weight given to various aspects of the criteria.
For us to be sure that those recommending books do have this kind of knowledge and understanding, we ask that our recommendations come from people who:
- have a degree or certificate in Creative Writing, English Literature, linguistics, editing or Journalism;
- are an editor or publisher who is, or has been, employed in that capacity by a major mainstream publishing house;
- are an Awesome Indies recommended reviewer. These reviewers don’t need to have the above qualifications, but they must have demonstrable knowledge of writing, produce comprehensive reviews that demonstrate clear understanding of our criteria and preferably have extensive reviewing experience. They are approved after following the training outlined below if we find that their reviews are satisfactory.
It’s not easy to find reviewers with these qualifications, and this makes it frustrating for authors who want their book evaluated for the list. Gaining a place on the Awesome Indies is an important confirmation of quality for authors as well as readers, and they don’t want to have to wait months for an evaluation.
So we need your help.
Would you like to be an Awesome Indies Reviewer? This is what we would ask you to do:
- Read ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print‘
- Familiarize yourself with the Explanation of the Criteria.
- Submit your reviews for editorial review and suggestion before publication under the Awesome Indies name.
- If you don’t have formal qualifications we will also give you further readings and exercises, and experienced reviewers will mentor you in a kind of apprenticeship.
If you aren’t interested in reviewing yourself, you can still help. Simply SHARE THIS POST.
If you would like to help out, please fill in the form below. If you know someone who may like to help, please send them this link and ask them to consider helping us.
Note that this is a volunteer role. Though after approval, you may receive between $20 and $30 for priority reviews, you must also be willing to review books submitted without a donation. Priority reviews are given on a first-in-first-served basis, so generally only the most prolific reviewers (reading 6 books a month) pick them up.
Also note that there is a strict code of honesty among our reviewing team, and this code is applied to all books no matter who the author is or what their qualifications are. Even if, or especially if, you are one of our reviewers, if your book stinks, you will be told so – nicely, of course.
If you think you have what we’re looking for and you’d like to review for the Awesome Indies, please fill in this form.
Please read the criteria for evaluation first.
An Awesome Indies book will be properly formatted (this applies to ebooks only. We don’t evaluate the printed version), have no, or few, copy errors and the prose will meet the following criteria. (More details on the criteria can be found here.)
- the plot is well structured, well paced, conceptually sound and engaging.
- the characters are well developed and their dialogue and interactions with others are believable.
- the book is not excessively wordy, particularly, no rambling descriptions, dumps of information, unnecessary repetition or irrelevant scenes.
- changes in the point of view of the writing are clear; specifically, when in third person close POV, no confusing quick jumps from the thoughts of one character to another and back again – usually referred to as head-hopping. This is not to be confused with correctly written omniscient POV which has one POV, that of the omniscient narrator.
- the writing is immediate and engaging. This means that, where applicable, the story is generally shown rather than told, and the writing is active rather than passive, eg doesn’t overuse forms of the verb, ‘to be’.
- the grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct for the author’s country of origin. (We accept a maximum of 5-7 proof errors in a full length novel, more than that and the author will be asked to reproof the book.)
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