This site is administered free of charge by site founder Tahlia Newland, assisted by Jen Blood, Katherine Logan, and a team of reviewers and back up readers . Information about our reviewers can be found on their individual sites, just follow the links on the Reviewers page, or look them up on our Author page.
Our definition of Indie
For the purposes of this site, an Indie publisher is independent of the traditional publishing model. This includes self-publishers and independent presses with the author as sole owner or in shared ownership. It does not include independent publishers of the traditional model (small publishers) who pay royalties in return for rights.
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 (most, but not all, lead to Amazon where readers reviews can be seen and the books can be purchased) or they go to the authors’ page and click on the authors website link to find other retail outlets for the books.
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.
What is evaluated?
(The criteria are laid out on the home page and explained on the ‘Explanation of the Criteria’ page which includes links to further information on each point: http://awesomeindies.net/explanation-of-the-criteria/)
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 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 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.
How is the evaluation made?
Authors must submit a link to one comprehensive review 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. Books previously published by a mainstream publishing house, however, are accepted on that basis.
Why have such a site?
- To provide readers with a place to browse for indie books they can be sure are well-written.
- To showcase those Indie books that meet the same standards as mainstream books.
- To help remove the stigma against Indie books.
- To help authors raise the standards of their books.
What does the site do for authors?
- It gives authors whose books are accepted the confidence that their work is of a professional standard.
- 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.
Who runs it?
Tahlia Newland set up the site, and is still the main administrator, but is assisted by Jen Blood, Katherine Logan and a team of reviewers and back up readers. Matters concerning the site, the criteria and the reviewing process are group decisions.
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, either Tahlia or Jen, receives a small percentage of the payment, not nearly enough to be considered any kind of income for the time they spend administering the site. Donations are accepted and pay for advertising and site costs. Authors who donate or work for the site have their books displayed on the sidebars .
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 recognise that though we try to be objective in our evaluations we are by no means perfect, and authors who have their books rejected are welcome to provide a second opinion by a qualified reviewer. Should that occur we would find a third opinion and accept or reject the submission based on the majority viewpoint.
To support this site, please make a donation by clicking this link and/or purchase our books. Click on the images for more information and visit our personal websites for purchase links for non kindle ebooks.