Tuesday, September 3, 2013


A document landed on my virtual desk in the form of an invitation to self-published authors: for a mere $175, your book will get a full page in a catalog the group plans to issue and to use in marketing your book. The invitation is followed by promises of success, worded by the best of marketers that inhabit writers' forums.

This got me to thinking: I am a self-published author and I have thrown to the winds many a $175 fee for this or that promise, so why not this one as well? But wait, not wasting money is saving it, which is almost as good as making actual sales. And, if the goal is to get into a catalog, why not choose the original idea, the existing, free indiePENdents.org catalog of books that been professionally evaluated and fully recommended without financial bias? See it at http://goo.gl/E30vq4 absolutely without charge! 

Fellow authors: Would you prefer to be charged for what indiePENdents.org provides for free? Would a paid evaluation be as trustworthy as a free one? If the answer is No and No, join the organization! Sign in as a member on our website: www.indiePENdents.org.

Full disclosure: I am the founder and president, and -- as written in our 501(c)3 non-profit charter  -- neither I nor any officer of the company receive any remuneration in any form whatsoever. Membership is free, evaluations of books are free; books that pass standards test are awarded a free Seal of Good Writing. We do try to raise money to pay for printing and distributing the catalog to libraries, promote it in the media, and eventually reach our goal that self-published books be given a level field and become known to the reading public.

I can't tell you exactly what we would do in the unlikely case that all of the self-published books were submitted to us at the same time. But I do know one thing. If tomorrow morning, instead of having to handle dozens of books at a time, as we do now, thousands descended upon us, the organization will be enhanced by an adequate staff, paid by funds we would raise on an emergency appeal to foundations and corporations. In addition, hopefully, more groups will mushroom to do what we do now: read self-published books the way good readers would -- without monetary or other suspect incentives, without bias -- and then vote, as we do, before recommending those books that are worth recommending to other readers.

Paying to be listed when payment of a fee is the only criterion for listing is of dubious value. Without a clearly structured evaluation process equal or similar to ours, no recommendation can be considered valid. To be credible, the advice to readers and libraries must not be tainted by money paid for it by the authors.

I appeal to other writers to join the organization, which has no other motives but our joint brighter tomorrow, so that we can all become stronger, speaking with one voice, all of us, the present and those soon-to-become self-published authors -- a unified force that will change the publishing industry for the brighter future of literature itself!

Once again: go to www.indiePENdents.org, sign in as a member, and -- if you wish to submit your work for evaluation (it has to be already published in print or an e-book platform) -- fill out the additional submission form and send us a final PDF and print sample.