The Awesome Indies has been going through a lot of changes recently. Some people may roll their eyes at this statement, because for those who followed the development closely, it looked as if we couldn’t make up our minds. That was true, WE couldn’t. As the creative director of the Awesome Indies and the driving force behind it the calls are mine to make, but I like to ask others what they think before I make decisions. However, different people have different opinions.
Authors tend to want to make it easy for themselves to get what they want, but this website isn’t for authors; it’s for readers, and the most important thing for the Awesome Indies is that we do what we say we do, and that it present books that are the same standard as those published by mainstream publishing. To ensure that we really do this, authors now have to submit three, not one, review from a qualified reviewer.
That set some authors grumbling, but it had to be done.
The changes in the submission process came about when I discovered a number of books on the site with editing problems and I had to ask the authors to fix them. But the books shouldn’t have made it onto the list in the first place in that state. I also discovered that some of our reviewers thought that some books on our list had faults that should have kept them off the list. These were in the more subjective areas of evaluation, but clearly one opinion wasn’t enough. So now, it’s three opinions required.
That should make it better for our readers, but I do, of course, consider the authors as well. One of the reasons why it used to be one opinion was because not many what we call industry professionals actually write reviews – they’re too busy working in the industry – so finding a the required review was very difficult, now they need three of them. It’s not surprising that some authors decided it was just too hard at that point, but while they were grumbling, we were setting about making it easier for authors to get the reared reviews.
Brian Sfinas, author of The Sexual Adventures Of Space and Time and our new marketing manager – he’s been working on SEO for the site – saw a way to solve the author’s frustration and to help ensure the continuation of the site by providing some income from it. (Seriously, at the moment, if the high school where I do casual teaching offered me long term work, this site would die a very quick death.) At the same time, E.L. Farris, author of Ripple, A Tale of Hope and Redemption, agreed to liaise between authors and reviewers. Now authors with little patience and a bigger bank balance than I – I’ve been an artist all my life – can pay for us to find a reviewer for them and have them prioritise their review. We’ll do it within a set time frame too. We also offer a one stop submission service where we’ll do the whole evaluation for the author.
They’re not paying for a review, they’re paying for us to find them a review and deliver it within a certain time frame. In the one stop submission service they’re paying for us to evaluate their book and make a decision within one month. Obviously, the money doesn’t affect the outcome, that would be stupid since the whole idea of three reviews is to make sure that nothing gets on the site that shouldn’t be here. Those without the money to pay for these services can take the slow route. We’ll still endeavour to find an Awesome Indies reviewer for them, but there’s no guarantee that we will, or that it will be delivered in any kind of timeframe.
Back to the reasons for all the changes – the same reason as for the existence of the site – quality control; no system of evaluation of any art form will ever be fool proof, because no matter how objective you try to be, certain areas are inherently subjective. For example, your evaluation on pacing; how slow is too slow? Some books are obviously meant to be here, some obviously aren’t; it’s the ones on the edge, that are hardest to evaluate. We have to be fair to authors but, as reviewers, our prime responsibility is to readers, and it is on that basis, that the final decisions must be made.
The amount of time our reviewers put into helping authors get their work up to standard is enormous, and many of us were spending time we should be writing or marketing our own work helping others, so now many of us have formalised this assistance. You’ll see a range of services at very reasonable prices on the Authors’ Services page.
So, though we do our bit to raise the standard of Independent publishing, this site is for readers, and these changes are to benefit you – those who support authors by buying books. Without you, there is no industry.
The Awesome Indies is open for business. Support our ideals, support our hard working authors and buy a book today.