The Awesome Indies Mission
We aim to
- identify and honour independently published books that meet the same standard as books published by major mainstream publishers and their imprints.
- promote and support AIA authors and their books,
- raise the standard of independent publishing,
- raise the image of independent publishing amongst readers.
- Creative Director/General manager/submissions administration: Tahlia Newland
- Marketing manager/website SEO/ publication of daily posts: Brian Sfinas
- Seal of Excellence admin: Harriet Steel
- AIA Badge admin: Richard Bunning & Intisar Khanini
- Reader/author liaison: Marsha Cornelius
- Reviewer/author liaison: EL Farris.
- A dedicated team of reviewers and readers
Our Definition of Indie
Our authors are independent in that they do not depend on someone else to decide whether, or not, they can express their voice in the world. They create the new trends, offer the new adventures, and make you think, feel and wonder anew. Awesome Indies Approved authors have exacting standards, and the creation of a quality product is central to their goal. They choose this path, not because they have no other choice, but because they choose independence.
No matter what method of publication they use, they maintain control over the product, so if they are working with a small publishing company it is in some form of cooperative relationship.
What is the Awesome Indies?
The Awesome Indies is a website that lists independently published works of fiction that meet the same standards as books published by mainstream publishers – as evaluated by publishing industry professionals. We aim to showcase books that meet a specific, and clearly laid out, set of standards for fiction writing so readers can browse for indie books knowing they will be buying well-crafted works.
The blog publishes reviews written by reviewers for the site. Not every book listed has a review published on the site because the reviews used for submission are often published on other sites instead.
Readers can browse the site and click on the book covers to read information about the books. (Cover links lead to Amazon where readers reviews can be seen and the books can be purchased. Text links lead to the UK Kindle store ) Other retail outlets for the books can be found by locating the authors on the Authors page .
Who does the evaluations?
Publishing industry professionals is a term we use for those whose employment in a mainstream publishing house, past or present, as editors, publishers and writers indicate that they know what standard of writing is considered a publishable product for a traditional publishing house. Other people deemed to have this knowledge are those with degrees in writing, editing or literature, or reviewers with a background of writing study whose quality of reviews indicate such a knowledge. These reviewers may contribute their reviews to the blog or not.
Reviewers approved as contributors to the blog have had their reviews evaluated for quality and knowledge of writing. They have also read the book that our evaluations are based on ie ‘Self Editing for Fiction Writers’, by Renni Brown and David King, and have received instructions on specific aspects of reviewing, including how to keep personal likes and dislikes out of the evaluation for the site. We also have a team of back up readers who give second opinions where required.
In summary, books are added to this site on the basis of 3 x 4 or 5 star reviews by
- an Awesome Indies recommended reviewer – see the Reviewers page for the list of names.
- or someone with a degree in Creative Writing, English Literature or journalism.
- or an author or editor who is or has been employed in that capacity by a major mainstream publishing house.
What is evaluated?
The criteria are explained in detail on the ‘Explanation of the Criteria’ page which includes links to further information on each point.
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.
- 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, in third person close POV; no confusing quick jumps from the thoughts of one character to another and back again, (head-hopping).
- 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 aim for no more than 7 proof errors in a full length novel)
How is the evaluation made?
Authors must submit links to three comprehensive reviews rated at 4 or 5 stars by a qualified reviewer, as explained above. They must also submit a link to a bio that proves the reviewers’ qualifications, or proves that he or she is on our accepted reviewers list. Each link is checked out and if either of these links are not provided, or the review is not comprehensive enough the book will not be listed. Any reviewer that is not a contributor to the site is emailed and asked to check the book off against the criteria.
How many books sold, how many positive reader reviews and how many years or books a writer has been writing are irrelevant to our evaluation process. In order to be fair to all, books are evaluated on a book by book basis, not on an author’s reputation. Pre-publication by a major mainstream publishing house, literary awards and editing services rendered by people with the above credentials are also accepted as equivalent to an acceptable reviews. The author must provide proof of such awards and publication and we email the service provider to check their opinion..
What does the site do for authors?
- It gives authors whose books are accepted the confidence that their work is of the same standard as those published by a mainstream publisher
- It gives those whose work is not accepted guidelines as to how they can improve. In some cases this can be very specific help, especially where a book just misses out for one reason, but is otherwise fine. These authors are encouraged to re-edit then resubmit. A second reviewer will then check a resubmitted book. Many authors have accepted this challenge, have greatly improved the quality of their product and been added to the Awesome Indies list on resubmission.
Many reviewers (but not all) who contribute to the site will note copy errors when they find them and provide the list to the author. If the book is rejected due to too many typos (generally considered as being no more than 5 in a full length novel) the book will be accepted for the list once the errors have been fixed and checked.
Does any money change hands?
Not for inclusion on the list; that is made purely on quality. When readers buy via the link to Amazon, whoever set the link, receives a small percentage of the payment. AIA authors can also pay for greater visibility on the site, plus access to special promotions and various other extras.
The Awesome Indies site does not claim to be anything other than a site listing books that meet a certain criteria. Books not listed on the site are not necessarily inferior, as the author may not have submitted their books to the site for whatever reason. We recognize that though we try to be objective in our evaluations we are by no means perfect.
To support this site, please make a donation by clicking this link and/or purchase our books.