View Full Version : IndieReader Author Serivces / IndieReader Discovery Awards

05-14-2009, 05:41 PM
Can anyone tell me why signing up with this outfit would be a good thing?

What benefits accrue to the self-pubbed author that cannot be acquired elsewhere?



05-14-2009, 06:11 PM
They lost me at $149 a year, on top of 25% of cover. That and they don't seem, perpelexingly, to be aiming the site at readers--just spouting the same ol' self-pub angry mantra. (i.e. assuming their is some mass group of readers who specifically "love" self-published books--rather than just want good books).

05-14-2009, 06:22 PM
That's my initial take on them, too, veinglory.

05-15-2009, 06:25 AM
I'm wary of them too. But I'll withhold judgment until the site actually launches. It's a bit unfair at this point to say it's not aimed at readers since the site isn't even open for business yet.

06-05-2009, 04:39 PM
I'm wary of them too. But I'll withhold judgment until the site actually launches. It's a bit unfair at this point to say it's not aimed at readers since the site isn't even open for business yet.

But they want to charge $99 for the privilege of belonging to a site which isn't yet live

Everything about Amy Edleman's comments here:

Make my hackles rise. She admits they're not going to promote individual books, but the site itself. So the authors have very little chance of getting a slice of the promotional pie, for a very large fee.

06-05-2009, 05:01 PM
Indeed. If the site is going to be for readers it should be giving the pre-launch come on to readers too. It also should have samples of the kind of techniques they are going to use to get customers like me to buy enough books for authors to run at a profit. If they can do that they will be breaking records for this kind of site.

William Haskins
06-10-2009, 04:40 AM
my take here:


06-16-2009, 12:58 PM
my take here:


My take is that if you can afford this 'service', you don't need it, and if you need it, you will never be able to afford it.

Besides, Edelman got up my nose and if her response to customers of the site who have a problem is anything like how she spoke to me, then I'd say she's going to have a lot of very cranky, unsatisfied customers.

06-24-2009, 01:19 AM
New blog post (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/06/victoria-strauss-indiereader.html) at Writer Beware on IndieReader.

- Victoria

06-24-2009, 11:39 AM
I've only just glimpsed at this and I'm not sure what people are paying for. From what I understand you pay them 150 bucks a year -plus an extra 25 if for each new book- and they put it on their site. The site is (apparently) the next big thing as after indie music and indie film, everyone wants indie books. But then for everything you sell through their site, they also take a commission...


What are these people coughing up money for? I'd rather pay a few quid (literally!) to google or yahoo and have a cheap and simple site listed on sites like this in the adverts across the top...

06-24-2009, 03:17 PM
My hang up is the vetting by editors and agents. Um, editors and agents have queries and partials and fulls out the wazoo already. Am I supposed to believe really great, reputable folks in the publishing industry have time to read through and give a yay or nay on all these books? Also some people self-publish after they've hit a wall going the commercial route (agents and editors) so how likely are these books to be viewed positively by the same people who may have already panned them?

And where are the readers going to come from? How many readers, realistically, want to browse through virtual shelves of self-published books?

Just seems like a huge waste of money to me.

06-24-2009, 05:32 PM
What are these people coughing up money for?

I have no idea. I've made $1500 out of self-pubbed books over the last three years (not trying to market very hard, and really just making them available as a service to readers) and $300 in 6 weeks out of one ebook that I sold on Lulu just by advertising it on my blog and on various LJs etc. Not big money - but I haven't paid a cent in promotion and advertising, and it's all very handy for trips and so on. If I'd paid Edelman's fee+commission, I'd have used up $149+$25+$77 in promoting that book - which doesn't leave a lot of gravy out of $300, does it? (And I had to laugh at Zoe Winters boasting on a blog recently that she'd 'sold' 1500 copies of her novel since Nov 2008 (I think), making a princely 35c a copy. $525 out of 1500 sales? When I made $300 out of 77? - and for a very modestly priced ebook too. Methinks there's something screwy in her approach.)

A self-pubbed author can make modest money and not spend anything beyond the cost of a domain name and hosting. Or they can spend buckets of money to earn slightly more than modest money gross, and end up with a pitiful net profit. I've yet to see any proof that any truly self-pubbed author can make buckets of money by spending buckets of money.

I don't believe for a second these sites will attract readers (unless we're talking about niche markets, customers aren't looking for self-pubbed books when there is so much pro stuff around), and the idea that publishers would be wasting time going through *this* slush pile when they have overflowing ones of their own, is simply laughable.

06-24-2009, 10:45 PM
I have to agree. The book I'm slowly getting through Lulu, I estimate would make me around £3 per copy (£2.90 going to Lulu, so based upon a £6 retail price). I'm already resigned to giving up six copies to the british library (£36) and my website will cost £165 for development and set up with a further few quid each month for hosting/registration. If i throw in other expenses that all writers suffer, I'm already facing the prospect of being around £1,500 out of pocket before I even sell my first copy...

With making just £3 per book, I have to sell 500 to break even. If i sell via these people (with them taking 25% commission -around £1.50 per book) I would have to sell 1000 copies to just break even, and closer to 1100 with their fees.

It's possible that POD books sell those numbers, but I fail to believe they could possibly deliver that sort of customer base to me...

06-24-2009, 11:37 PM
I doubt the average client would be running at a profit.

06-25-2009, 01:56 AM
Mercs, the saving grace for self-pubbed authors is epublishing, just as it will be for traditional publishers. No overhead, no risks, money in the bank. If you can't give up the dream of being in print, at least delay it until you have a known readership.

06-25-2009, 12:02 PM
logophilos, I'm looking to do both if I'm honest. POD is fine as there's no immediate rush to shift 1000 copies or whatever. I think there's just something about having it in print that does it for me...

The money isn't even important, as I said I'm already 500 books away from breaking even and I haven't even had my ISBN paid for yet! As I don't have 500 customers waiting, I'm likely to incur even more costs in getting out there...

I'm resigned to not breaking even -it's never the point really. However, I'm against people exploiting ambitious people in this way. They are promising the world, taking a hefty fee for it and from what I can see delivering almost nothing beyond what I could achieve through my facebook page!

08-09-2011, 11:49 PM
I just saw this "First Annual" contest, IndieReader Discovery Awards (http://indiereader.com/the-indiereader-discovery-awards-welcome/) for self-published books. The tagline is "Because it's who reads your book that really matters!"

There's an impressive panel of agents, editors, and others as judges who have promised to read -- for $150 entrance fee. From the site:

With the rush by traditional publishers to sign them and their noteworthy bestselling status, there’s no longer much doubt that indie authors can be both commercially and creatively successful. All that was left to do was create a credible vehicle by which to find them. What makes the [the awards] so unique is their extraordinary panel of judges (click on “The Judges” tab to your right for the list), a who’s who of some of the most important people in publishing today. Why have all these important people agreed to read a pile of indie books? For the simple reason that they’re interested in finding talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked.I get a bad feeling about this -- it feels like a backdoor agent/editor reading fee that feeds some rather unrealistic hopes for entrants. I'm curious about how/if the judges are compensated for reading, for example. Any other thoughts out there?

ETA: Thread title should be "Discovery." Oops.

08-10-2011, 12:04 AM
I don't like the sounds of it. Having to pay $150 for something like this is absurd. I don't like writing contests that require the writers to pay money to enter.

alias octavia
08-10-2011, 12:15 AM
I don't mind paying entrance fees for writing contests, but $150 is pretty steep IMHO. The most I've paid is $30 for a novel contest, and if I remember correctly the winner on that one received $2,000. But here I don't see that the winners actually win anything other than a review. I would pass.

08-10-2011, 12:32 AM
The part that really gets me is the promo copy:

Sign up for IR Discovery Awards today to get your book in the hands of some of the most powerful people in publishing today!So is IndieReader really a site for readers to discover great self-published books? At best, the editorial slant makes this seem more like a trade mag for self-publishers than a site intended for readers. That could be fine -- a self-publishing Publishers Weekly -- except that this contest plays into writers' hopes for self-publishing as a route to traditional publication instead of advocating self-publishing as the end goal.

08-10-2011, 03:00 AM
It looks pretty sleazy to me. But then, I've always thought that some conferences were kind of sleazy when they require an extra fee to get your work read by an industry insider, while it seems most writers don't.

Still, even those who would pay for a conference critique ought to object to paying such a steep entry fee to a contest that offers no cash prize.

It's kind of funny. We've always been told one of the major advantages to traditional publishing is that the money always flows to the writer. That we shouldn't have to pay to get our work read or published. What are these guys doing?

08-10-2011, 04:43 AM
I don't get this. Why would you pay that much money just for getting your book read by editors who have to wade through all the other contest enteries, too. You're not even getting feedback from them, are you? Just the assurance that it was actually read.

Dunno. The contest creator seems in earnest and I'm sure means well, but it doesn't sound worth the entry fee.

08-10-2011, 06:43 PM
Interesting stuff, Kellion.

Impressive panel, indeed, but like mentioned, what's the payoff? (No pun intended).

The award itself is not prestigious enough to begin with so simply winning the award is not enough. There's no stated monetary award, and it seems like the "prize" is simply being read by big wigs in publishing. Yeah, that's great, but $150 is a steep for that.

08-11-2011, 05:24 AM
Here is some feedback from Amy from IndieReader from last month on my FB page...

Mick Rooney
‎.the prizes are focused on awarding the kind of tools an author and small publisher need before a book is published, not after...a bit like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Isn't Amazon already doing the same by following and monitoring selfpublished authors and offering the successful ones contracts with their imprints. And Amazon do it without the $150 price tag.

In addition, if the judges are as experienced as IR say they are, then the good books and good authors will be the ones winning the IR awards but of course, many of those authors will have already used services like Kirkus, sought advice from industry consultants etc. It's a bit like holding an award for all Ferrari owners, and then presenting them with a used Ferrari as a prize. I just don't get the basic premise these awards were concieved under.

Slim Palmer At a $150 a pop - and no $$$ prize - it would take an act of desperation to enter this.
20 July at 01:15 · Unlike · 1 person

Amy Holman Edelman Re: the prizes...that's not true at all, Mick. Prizes incl professional reviews, access to publicists, agents, bookstore buyers, publishers...all important to unknown authors. If anything that exposure is more valuable than a few bucks.
20 July at 15:17 · Like

Slim Palmer ‎@AHE: Sorry to disagree Amy but if, like me, you are a writer with very few funds available $150 is a weeks worth of living. Access to publicists, agents, bookstore buyers, publishers can all be done on the hoof and after 9 books and a good few reviews I think a marketing team and brown tonguing would be of more use - see JK Rowling for details :) - not what you know but who.
20 July at 15:32 · Like

Amy Holman Edelman I'm not saying that $150 isn't a lot of money, Slim, but as an author myself, I disagree that "access to publicists, agents, bookstore buyers, publishers can all be done on the hoof" (actually, I'm not even sure what that means. As far as it's "not what you know but who you know", that's exactly my point. The Discovery Awards puts your book in front of some top publishing industry people, making them contacts YOU NOW KNOW and who, in turn, will know your work. Nothing else like it.
20 July at 15:40 · Like

Mick Rooney Amy, I'm not questioning the quality of the prizes, rather they are tools best employed by an author *before* a book is published, not after it has been published, which if I understand IR's Discovery Awards, means many of the entrants will have already published/self-published their books. I do agree, to a certain point, you have to court the industry as a relatively unknow author to help create your own platform, but the Discovery Awards seem entirely 'industry' centric, rather than reader centric.
20 July at 16:06 · Like

Amy Holman Edelman Mick, indie author do not (and should not) exist outside the publishing industry. Of course it's industry centric. Do you really think an author can be successful without it?
20 July at 17:23 · Like

Mick Rooney I'm not suggesting indie authors should exist outside of the industry. Publishing a quality book properly as an indie author means you must acknowledge and work with the standards and practices of the industry. What I'm suggesting is that a great many indie authors made the decision to publish on their own, build a strong fanbase and readership and connect with those readers. In other words, successful indie authors have long moved beyond the goal of wooing or impressing the publishing industry or gaining their stamp of approval.
20 July at 19:02 · Like · 1 person

Amy Holman Edelman Well, in theory that's true. But I think if you asked an indie author (even a successful one), if they'd like to have their work traditionally pubbed, 9 out of ten of them would say yes. And, in fact, they do say yes. So saying that successful indie authors "have long moved beyond the goal of wooing or impressing the publishing industry or gaining their stamp of approval" is not only a bit naive, it's just not usually true.
20 July at 19:10 · Unlike · 1 person

Mary Johnson Heiser And yet traditionally published authors, like JK Rowling, are spurning the industry that made them millionaires in favor of gaining complete creative control and going direct to the readers.
20 July at 20:32 · Unlike · 1 person

Mick Rooney I agree, Amy, most would jump at the opportunity to be traditionally published - but isn't that the very point, (9 out of 10) or more accurately 99 out of 100, *won't* have their work published by a traditional publisher, not by choice, but because the work is not up to scratch or has not a viable market to make it worthwhile for a publisher. That's why I say the real goal for an indie author is to build a fanbase and readership - what they would like or wish for is entirely different.
20 July at 20:46 · Like

Amy Holman Edelman Yes Mick, but the writers who do have work that is of value to a publisher will get it seen via the IRDA's. Also, to build a fan base and readership it helps to have the support and enthusiasm of professional reviewers and the media. The IRDA's also offer that exposure via its panel of judges. And yes, Mary, many trad pubbed authors are going indie, but having been previously trad pubbed gives them a tremendous advantage over their fellow indies.
20 July at 21:10 · Unlike · 1 person

Mick Rooney Very fair points, Amy, about what the IRDA does offer authors.

Many of those authors moving from trad publishers are doing so only for ebooks because they have an established platform. I don't think you will see Rowling move from Bloomsbury with her print editions any time soon!
20 July at 21:23 · Like

Amy Holman Edelman Thanks Mick. :)
20 July at 21:31 · Unlike · 1 person

Slim Palmer Just a thought: Do you write/publish because you can and the folk who see your work appreciate it OR do you write for the money and the kudos?
20 July at 22:15 · Like

Mick Rooney For the reader, Slim, and the satisfaction that brings. There ain't much money in them publishing hills for most of us ordinary writing folk!
20 July at 22:21 · Like

Slim Palmer So true :) Do it coz you can!
20 July at 22:21 · Unlike · 1 person

Amy Holman Edelman I agree. But--after all the work I put in--I also like the idea that as many people are reading it as is possible.
20 July at 22:24 · Unlike · 1 person

Slim Palmer A bit Zen (?) perhaps but if one person reads and passes on the experience to another ... et alii :)
20 July at 22:30 · Unlike · 1 person

Amy Holman Edelman Zen is all well and good but I read a Latin proverb recently...if there's no wind, row. Although I'm glad it's there, I prefer not to rely on just the wind.
20 July at 22:33 · Like

Slim Palmer The majority of my rows were with ex-wives :) x
20 July at 22:36 · Like

Slim Palmer ‎@Amy: Here's one for you: esse est percipi
20 July at 22:40 · Like

08-11-2011, 05:32 AM
Thanks for sharing that conversation, Mick. I don't feel particularly satisfied with her answers, but your questions were spot on.

08-14-2011, 06:16 PM
Writer Beware has blogged about this: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2011/08/award-alert-indiereader-discovery.html

ETA: to little surprise, the promised review from Kirkus is in fact from Kirkus Discovery, their paid review program. I.e., your award is to be promoted as an author who pays for reviews.

02-16-2013, 01:18 AM
Sorry to resurrect this thread, but does anyone have recent experience with IndieReader reviews, now that they're no longer charging? The awards thing still sounds like a scam, but I'm considering sending them a review copy of my book.

02-16-2013, 01:26 AM
They found they couldn't charge people for listings, turned into a blog and charged for reviews. They found the couldn't charge for reviews and added on a contest where you pay the same amount to guarantee a review and be in for a chance to get some kind of honorary kudos.

I don't see that as evidence of a super-successful business model. But if you want to send out review copies, you could include them I guess. Pagerank of 5, FWIW. They may have backed into being a pretty good blog.

02-16-2013, 11:04 PM
Thanks, I'll give it a shot and send them a review copy. I'll post back with my experience.

05-29-2013, 12:02 AM
Following up, in case anyone else is interested. I received a response to my submission of a review copy that basically said they'd let me know if it was selected for review (no timeline mentioned). The rest of the message was a push to enter their awards program, as may be expected.

06-20-2013, 03:56 AM
Following up, in case anyone else is interested. I received a response to my submission of a review copy that basically said they'd let me know if it was selected for review (no timeline mentioned). The rest of the message was a push to enter their awards program, as may be expected.

I got that email too. And today I received this:
We hear you. You’re tired of waiting and you want a guaranteed book review. So based on the number of books that we receive and don’t have time to review, IndieReader has decided to begin charging $100 per book review (you can sign up here…
Reviews will be at least 300 words and will receive a rating from zero to five stars. Please note that IR does not guarantee a positive review.
In addition to IndieReader, reviews will be posted on Amazon and iDreamBooks, a discoverability site that aggregates professional book reviews (think Rotten Tomatoes). IndieReader curates a list of self-published book reviews for idreambooks and joins reviewed book lists from The New York Times and NPR. A positive review from IndieReader could also mean further exposure via IR’s publishing partners, USA Today and The Huffington Post.
As previously suggested, you also might be interested in entering the 2014 “IndieReader Discovery Awards” (IRDAs), where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference, which also comes with a review.
We are accepting sign-ups for 2014, with an early bird discount of 20% (enter the code 20offreg when prompted).You can find more info about the IRDAs here…
(http://indiereader.com/the-indiereader-discovery-awards-welcome/) .
Please let me know if you have any questions.

James D. Macdonald
06-20-2013, 05:24 AM
IndieReader has decided to begin charging $100 per book review (you can sign up here…

A waste of time and money, and their reviews are forever tainted and rendered worthless. Good going, guys.

Please let me know if you have any questions.Yeah, I have a question: What were you thinking?

06-20-2013, 09:44 AM
*sigh* Looks like everyone is out to make money nowadays. Vanity presses, paid reviews, having to pay to get your query read quicker, etc. If I made $100 for every review I wrote (not that I'd ever want to), I'd be swimming in a pile of money by now. First Kirkus charges for indie reviews, now the IndieReader...what's next?

06-20-2013, 06:00 PM
Indiereader started out as 100% pay-to-pay and has actually moved towards offering at least some rather useful reviews for free. So I would say they have actually moved sharpy towards having some legitimacy, not the reverse. Color me surprised.

06-20-2013, 06:01 PM
Yeah, I have a question: What were you thinking?

WriterBN submitted to the free-but-no-review-promised service.

James D. Macdonald
06-20-2013, 06:05 PM
WriterBN submitted to the free-but-no-review-promised service.

The "you" I was referring to was IndieReader.com, not WriterBN.

06-20-2013, 06:06 PM

That BS about expensive expedited reviews has become depressingly close to the norm for outfits that specialized in self-published vic...authors. You can buy a variety of ebooks etc with step by step instructions about how to set up a for-profit review website.

06-20-2013, 10:30 PM
There are NO free reviews now. They charge $100. And I doubt there ever were free reviews. It seems like the intention was always to upsell and get you to enter their ridiculous competition.

07-27-2013, 12:48 AM
About their competition (The IRDA) ...

I've communicated with Amy directly about this and I can state that any book receiving less than a four star review rating is immediately cut from the competition. Your book is judged within its sub category by your reviewer at the review stage. The much touted panel of judges do not get involved in the judging process until the sub category winners are decided. To do that, you realistically need to get a 5 star review rating. This is of course totally backwards. The judges are merely one of the prizes for winning.

From the IRDA page: "The winners from each sub-category (in addition to the top winners), will also receive [...] exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in your book’s success." They should be referred to as Guest Readers that might read a few books from the list of winners. As backwards as this sounds, it still fits with what is stated on the woefully misleading, but not technically wrong IRDA FAQ:

"Will all those impressive judges actually be reading submitted books?

Every one of our judges have agreed to read–and judge–submitted books. ..."

Not EVERY submitted book and not necessarily YOUR submitted book. The correct question and answer should have been:

"By entering, will my submitted book be read by any of those impressive judges?

No. Not unless it wins its sub category."

Not many people would enter if they knew that. At the most, these 'judges' have a hand in deciding the overall winner of the IRDA from the field of category winners. But the reality for the vast majority of entrants is that they will have paid an extra $50 and received nothing back in return, apart from a long shot hope that someone other than an IR staffer will so much as glance at it.

08-27-2014, 07:37 PM
Added publishing services Fall '13. http://indiereader.com/publishingservices/

ETA: And in '14, changed their name to IndieReader Author Services.