In the large sea of self/independently published work, there is a lot of flotsam and jetsam and not all of it is worth picking up. How to tell? Well, indieBRAG, a privately held organization has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union to address this.
Their mission is to recognise quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books, principally fiction. Staying with the nautical image, they provide a rudder, possibly now becoming a compass.
So how do they do it?
First, they select titles from the large and rapidly growing pool of indie books available, then members drawn from their reader group evaluate and judge the merits of each book based on their list of criteria. The single most important criterion they ask their readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality, they award it the B.R.A.G. MedallionTM.
Now INCEPTIO continues on its voyage, happily on board a solid ship and will soon be wearing a new gold sticker…
A writing friend of mine, Jane Steen adds this:
“On Saturday (28 September 2013) I went to the IndieB.R.A.G. lunch in Chicago. No sales pitch, just a warm friendly welcome (with book-themed cupcakes finishing off a delicious lunch!) and a real interest in promoting author-published books.
I submitted my novel to them for the BRAG Medallion some time ago, and was recently approved so I was curious (and a little wary) of who these people are and how they choose books. Apparently, after the initial selection process (to screen out the obvious “no” candidates of the unedited first draft kind) each book is read by 5 readers, who vote yes or no. About 90% of the books submitted to them don’t make it through. They are beginning to gain some traction as a “gatekeeper” and have plans to work with bookstores etc. to make author-published books more widely available.
They are currently closed to unsolicited submissions because of the volume they receive every time anyone like me mentions them, but they will open up as soon as they get their TBR pile down. Just wanted to let you guys know they’re on the level and encourage you to go to the next event they arrange.”
Ninety per cent rejected. There you have it.