Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Awesome Indies Quality Site

I decided to write this blog as part of a drive to raise awareness about the Awesome Indies website dedicated to quality in self-publishing. There are always discussions about the quality of indie books and without a gatekeeper it is inevitable that some substandard books will slip through thereby lowering the name of indie books in general. There is a big demand for sites such as Awesome Indies in the new publishing environment. 

The idea of the Awesome Indies site is to promote independently published books that meet the same standards as mainstream books and provide a place where readers can browse for books assured of their quality (as determined by editors and authors against a clear set of criteria). The Awesome Indies team hope to raise the opinion of such books in the general readers' perception and to encourage and support self-publishing authors striving for excellence. The site ethos is one that strives for comprehensive, objective, editorial reviews and abide by a strong set of ethics, such as complete honesty in their reviews and no favours for friends.

Below is an Awesome Indies Badge for approved authors to use on their websites:

They also have similar badges for your website and the much coveted 'Seal Of Excellence' Badges.

The idea for such a site was the brainchild of Tahlia Newland at the end of 2012. Says Tahlia, 'It started out as a WordPress blog. I was so sick of reading substandard books that I also wanted recommendations from people who knew the difference.'  This is when she came up with the idea of authors submitting 4 or 5 star reviews and approving such reviews by trusted reviewers in a similar way to industry professionals. Tahlia contacted approved reviewers and asked them to check submitted books against criteria before accepting the book.  However, after a while, Tahlia found that even this system wasn't rigorous enough so she decided to have a clean slate and only approve those books that she personally knew and trusted.  Authors were asked to resubmit their books with three approved reviews or to submit their book to the AI Team for review.  Another valuable team member joined - Brain Sfinas and the new look site was launched. The Awesome Indies initiative has raised issues particularly in those whose books that don't meet their criteria, but they have discovered that though some Self Published authors do not want genuine critical appraisal, there are many out there desperate for it, and the site seems to be getting a name for giving it because there's a big demand for such reviewing services.  They began to offer more to authors than  a simple review and as a result they have expanded their author services to meet authors' needs. 'Our reviews rapidly became the most comprehensive and editorial in nature of all the review sites and authors began to really value that level of feedback,' explains Tahlia. 'Brian pointed out that we were providing a valuable service and that some authors would be happy for us to pay to give their review some kind of priority. This came at a time for me when it was either this beast had to start paying me at least somthing for the huge amount of time I put into it, or i'd have to shut up shop and get a job, so I agreed to charge for priority reviews so long as there was always a free review option as well. The One Stop Submission is very popular. A lot of authors request this service as soon as they publish a new book and before they publicise it, knowing that after we have pointed out any issues and they have fixed them, their book will be top quality. The editorial services are just getting going with our first major edit and a couple of proofreads and mss appraisals.'

Awesome Indies is about to enter another phase, beginning with a revamp of the site including a simplified menu and a new design, and new ways to attract the discerning reader.

My other reason for writing this blog is that I also wanted to put something back. I have had two of my books (so far) awarded an Awesome Indies badge of approval at no cost to myself.  I agree that you should always have a free option alongside the paid priority options, even if you have to wait a bit longer. Having said that, I would gladly support the site with donations as I think what they're doing is unique and very worthwhile. 

One of my books 'Fall Of The Flamingo Circus' with Awesome Indies with approved badge to show this book has been placed on their list of independent quality fiction.

Thank you to Tahlia Newland for the background information to the site.

For more information about Tahlia Newland and her books please visit:

More information about Awesome Indies books and the site please visit: