Sunday, August 14, 2011


Indiereader started out as a site for readers of self-published material to mingle and discover new books. What they discovered, and most people already knew, is that dedicated self-published books readers are a demographic that barely exists outside of the authors themselves (and sometimes not even them).

Readers want books. Actively and indiscriminately seeking out self-published work would be a strangely masochistic thing to do.  Even those, like me, who have a particular intest in off-mainstream material buy it based on authors we know and trust or off-mainstream genres that we are willing to take a risk on.

Therefore Indiereader has taken the predictable path, into the vanity model.  You may not be able to make lots of money of the readers of self-published books, but you can always tap the new waves of authors looking for a short cut to fame and fortune. Sell them advertisements or amorphous promotional packages. Better yet, offer an "award" the ultimate in ostensibly valuable intangibles.

Enter the Indiereader Awards, where you pay a $150 at the slim chance of getting a ghettoised "Kirkus Indie" review (they don't make it clear it is not a standard Kirkus review) and a pretty sticker. There is also a soft promise that terribly important people will see your book.And something to do with "Book Ends Entertainment" which, if you Google them, seems to be most famously involved with Indiereader rather than... whatever unspecified wonderful things they are meant to do for the winner.

The awards have 49 categories but a winner is declared only at Indiereader's discretion--perhaps based on whether the number of entries would allow this to be done without threatening the profit margin. A good deal? I think not. In my opinion holding such a high-fee prize, like buying reviews, is quite possibly more of a handicap than an advantage.

Any site that genuinely connects with readers, or runs an award program secondary to their main activity and without the primary motive of making money, might be able to bestrow an award that would impress me as a reader and reviewer.  Indiereader does not tick these boxes.

1 comment:

Editor said...

Initially when this award was announced it was taken at face value. But more and more as I have looked and read other peoples' opinions beyond my own, I'm thinking my early cynicism, posts and exchanges with Amy were well placed.