- May 1, 2012
With online groups working to sift out the hidden gems, and a New York co-operative instituting a ‘seal of quality’, is the world of independent publishing finally getting organised?
A new public service is emerging online: authors and readers who are sifting through the morass of self-published books out there to find the quality titles amid the dross. I was alerted to the development of what are being called “electronic author cooperatives” by ghostwriter and novelist Andrew Crofts, who writes about them on his blog.
Crofts highlights a couple: the one he’s a part of, Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?, which hosts posts from 28 different writers, and Awesome Indies, which promises “quality books by independently published authors”.
I’ve also spotted Rock*It Reads “an authors’ collective made up of stellar New York-published romance authors who are expanding into self-publishing”. Their books will be branded with the “Rock*It Reads” logo – a “seal of quality” – which will be put on their self-published titles to show readers that “they’re buying a story that has been tended with the same level of professionalism that we bring to our New York works”. And the Rock*It Reads authors will also be recommending “self-published gems that don’t necessarily hit lists and can be difficult to find” in a new column for Barnes & Noble, they tell USA Today.
As a writer, Crofts sees these co-operatives as a development for authors – a “hugely encouraging and inspiring model for the future”. “Marketing books has always been a grand lottery. Millions of titles are hurled out into the market in the hope that enough will catch on to support the majority, which inevitably sink due to weight of numbers and the lack of reading hours in anyone’s lifetime, breaking the hearts of their authors as they go down,” he writes. “Now publication is accessible to anyone with a computer and broadband connection, but there is still no magical solution to the great marketing dilemma – how do you get your book talked about and heard about when there is so much competitive din going on all around?”
As a reader, I think it’s a winner. I’m intrigued by all the self-published books out there, and sure there must be lots worth reading, but I’ve so much to read already that I know is of good quality, so I’m wary of wasting my time on something which comes with no guarantees. These “co-operatives” are surely going to grow, so please do point me in the direction of others you think are worth checking out – and to the self-published gems I’m undoubtedly missing.