I have written this post at the request of Orna Ross for the blog of the Alliance of Independent Authors, an organization officially launched in 2012 in London.
The indiePENdents.org is an association of self-published authors, editors, proofreaders, and others interested in the future of literature. Our mission is to level the playing field and open the doors to new literary talents, where traditional publishing has closed them.
I started this new passion in my 91st year. In less than 12 months, In that short time, the organization has reached its next level and its goals are on their way to fruition. With more than 300 registered members in cyberspace across the US and all continents, our operations are conducted on the web. Our website is www.indiePENdents.org.
For the whole first year of the organization, Julia Petrakis (my editor and co-founder) and I have been the sole underwriters of this program in whose contribution to society and its culture we firmly believe.
The indiePENdents.org became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in December 2012. Our services are free; no officer is paid. Why, then, are we asking for contributions?
As we grow, our success calls for more expenses than two citizens of modest means can carry on their shoulders. In asking the public to pitch in, our argument is:
Publishers are abandoning the role of literary scouts. We are taking it on.
Multinationals spend thousands of dollars to reach the public. They vouch for the quality of the books they print, but choose only those they consider as sure moneymakers. This forces many writers to self-publish.
Independent authors don’t have the same financial ability to reach the eyes and ears of the public. Without the word of traditional gatekeepers, librarians and readers have no way of knowing if a self-published book is any good. We intend to change that landscape.
Our association evaluates independent books and recommends those that meet our basic standards of writing. We do this without charging any fees and without any commercial interest. By using objective guidance, we remove any personal bias from the scrutiny, leaving no room for subjective taste and opinion. We deem those to be the readers’ prerogatives.
Our goal is to separate the well written from the badly written books. The award of a Seal of Good Writing goes to titles that meet our basic, objective standards, established by a membership plenum in the most democratic of ways, applied in cyberspace by majority vote. Members aren’t allowed to solicit professional services in order to keep our value judgments free of any possible bias.
By November 2012, we have awarded the Seal to 24 titles, representing a variety of genres. We listed them in our first ever catalog/brochure, WELL WRITTEN, WELL EDITED, UNKNOWN BOOKS - Don’t judge the book by its publisher. It can be downloaded free from our website. It is also available in print for $8 on Amazon.
We would like to distribute the catalog to all the libraries we can reach; with a simultaneous PR effort to the media, in a quest for recognition of independent writers, this requires a substantially larger sum than the two founders can afford.
We hope to convince libraries to start offering their patrons independently produced titles, and let readers, rather than publishing business gatekeepers, decide which books the public wants to read. We would also like to use the document as our calling card to book and feature editors in all media.
It is a worthy cause in service to the cultural needs of our society. To achieve its goals, we need paying partners. The cause is worthy of support, and charitable gifts are fully tax deductible.
That no talent be lost to the chaos of the publishing explosion