Edelman-193x300 Publishing Perspectives has a post from Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com. IndieReader.com curates self-published books and is starting a service that will distribute these books to independent bookstores.

In this piece, Edelman looks at the disconnect between movies and music, where “indie” artists often come in for critical acclaim for “doing it on their own”, and books where people tend to look at self-publishing writers as not good enough to get published “for real”.

She points out that many books that have gone on to be best-sellers were originally rejected by publishers who didn’t think they would sell. She mentions writer Lisa Genova, who self-published her book Still Alice after publishers didn’t think anyone would want to read about Alzheimer’s, then subsequently hit the bestseller list and found a major publisher.

So now Edelman is using her public-relations and marketing expertise to try to put a better face on independent titles with a new service called IndieReader Selects, “the first-ever distribution service bringing the best indie titles onto the shelves of the best indie bookstores nationwide.”

There is a $149 submission fee per title per year for IndieReader (or $149 for review and inclusion in the Selects database; it’s not clear whether this is an alternate charge or an additional one), of which all but $25 is refunded if the book doesn’t make the cut.

I find myself a little ambivalent about this article. It’s true that a lot of people look at self-published writers as also-rans (though this is becoming less common as self-publishing takes on a greater degree of legitimacy thanks to the Internet), but when you get right down to it, Edelman’s piece is more than anything else an advertisement for her service.

I’m innately a little suspicious of pay-up-front-for-placement companies. After all, in publishing the publisher is supposed to take the chance on the book and then pay you. Of course, that’s about the opposite of how it tends to work in self-publishing—though even so, many self-pub sites will just charge a small setup fee then take the bulk of their remuneration as a cut of the retail price. Personally, I’d like to see some figures about how well IndieReader titles tend to perform.


  1. I feel the same ambivalence. on the surface it sounds so ‘vanity press’. ‘indie’ definitely needn’t mean ‘also-ran’. and look at how much drivel is actually *published* by the big houses. owie.

    but it is hard to find a way to tell the world about one’s book, and becoming that centralized ‘thing’, with an e-mail customer list and someone to write & send e-mail announcements isn’t free.

    but at what point does this thing cease to be what it claims to be, and start to be.. er.. a publisher?

  2. Every “we’re in it for the writer” spiel like this I’ve ever heard has been a scam or so delusional of the realities of publishing that it might as well be a scam.

    Having your book on a website with no guarantee anyone will come looking and no sense this site is advertising itself to readers is a waste of money.

    I just used a backlink tracker, and the only places they are promoting themselves or are being promoted is at sites for writers, not readers.

    I wouldn’t spend a penny on what they offer.

  3. A writer can promote themselves with enough time and patience. Most of our on-Kindle sales are word-of-mouth and through live-links at the end of blogs and free Scribd documents, heading back to eBook landing pages. I

    Hiring a promotional services doesn’t really “legitimize” anything or reduce pre-conceived notions; it merely gets your brand name out more than it already it, for a price.

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