Indies versus the Rulers? and contest winner!

Rafflecopter chose Katrina Page as my 600 Follower Contest winner. She won a whole box of books and chocolate, including my ARC of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules if she wants it. It’s a lot harder to choose the best comment for my book hook post. I’m not procrastinating, but I need more time to try out the suggestions before I post the winner.
Once I read Kathy Lynn Hall’s post about Indie authors seeking the authority of other indies as leaders, I wanted to give it a wider audience. Please read it and consider. Is another ruler what indies want or need after working so hard to escape the authoritarian traditional publishing regime?

That seems like going from this Queen to this King: Not quite the same level.


I agree that Indies need help, especially when it comes to editing, but I would vote for a co-op model with rotating responsibilities for those who don’t want to join World Literary Cafe. Personally, I don’t have any problems with WLC. Here’s their mission statement:

The World Literary Cafe is an online community that bridges the gap between readers and authors, with the mission of promoting great literature and bringing together the literary community. The WLC offers helpful promotions to authors, reviewers, bloggers, and editors by creating avenues to bring them together under one umbrella in an easily navigable venue. 

World Literary Cafe

No single ruler there. And here’s the latest reason why I like WLC. After I commented on Kathy’s blog, I read my last few emails from WLC and found out they were indeed the group she was talking about. But The Readers Seal of Excellence isn’t about one indie seeking the role of ruler over others. Here’s a quote from today’s WLC email: “…editing, storyline, development, and overall quality of these books will all be factors in recommending a book for The WLC Readers Seal of Excellence.” It will take a group of reader/reviewer recommendations to earn that award, just like it takes a certain number of “likes” on Amazon before it recommends a book to readers. There’s even an upcoming teleconference to make sure everyone understands the criteria–with three choices to vote for the best time. That’s a far cry from authoritarian, and a very good way to encourage higher standards for indies. Boy, do they (we) need it.

If you’re an indie who hasn’t yet joined WLC, I think you should try it before you decide it’s not for you. They even offer critique groups and beta-readers now, and believe me, 99.99% of indies need serious help in the editing department. I put so many indie books down that I wrote a whole series on editing which you can find scattered in the last two months of my posts. One includes a link to an editor who provides a big chunk of book editing for a mere $75. I stopped sending lists of errors back to authors whose books I didn’t finish because I don’t have time to do that and still finish rewriting my own book. So please, if nothing else,  take advantage of the beta-reader and critique groups on WLC or Rachael Harrie’s matchup. I promise this will be my last post on editing–until or unless I see the need again.

Wait, I see the need right now. I commented on Kathy’s blog about the poor editing on Melissa Foster’s book and it turns out she did have her book professionally edited. The problem was a formatting issue that slipped through, and it horrified her until she fixed everything that she could fix. Melissa emailed me to ask that I put a link under my comment on Kathy’s blog, and I did, but I want you to see her whole comment and the link here too.

“Can you do me a huge favor? Would you mind commenting back where you stated that my book had so many errors and maybe just reference the blog post above so people realize that I do take editing seriously? I always have had my books professionally edited. In fact, my most recent ms is being shopped next week to the big 6:-) Editing is my pet peeve and I was horrified by the formatting errors. Yes, the formatting nightmare was awful – here’s my blog post:

So I apologize to Melissa and Kathy and want you to know I appreciate all your efforts in behalf of indies even if you don’t agree on methods. 

Readers, please tell me what you think, and then pop on over to Rach’s latest post, the first of a series in self and digital publishing. It includes an agent comment concerning the stigma of self-publishing to writers who may want to switch to traditional publishing some day. You may be pleasantly surprised. And while you’re there, if you haven’t already done it, follow Rach and prepare for her next Platform Building Campaign. You’ll be glad you did!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Very helpful post. Thanks.

  2. Great post! I can’t agree enough that indies need to seek out editorial help – in the form of critiques from fellow writers, as well as paid professional help. However, I’m not a fan of anyone/group/organization that tries to put their “seal of approval” on any indie works, no matter how well intentioned. To me, it mis-understands the power of indie publishing (what many see as it’s weakness, and to be fair, it is that as well – just like any superpower!): the fact that anyone without gatekeepers can publish. Many people have many reasons for publishing (not everyone is doing it as a career writer), and I love the freedom that people now have to share their novellas, poetry, short stories, and yes, novels, with anyone that cares to read it. For the career novelist, there is only one “seal of approval” that matters: that of readers. If you produce something that people want to read … they will. And given the notoriously subjective nature of “quality” in writing, I think freedom is the perfect antidote.

    Sorry for the epic-comment! Off to read your links…

  3. Sheri – WLC is NOT the group I was talking about. Until your comment I wasn’t even aware they were considering it. There has been a lot of discussion online and there are a couple of groups that have proposed this. My post states my opinion pretty clearly so I’ll leave it to say that Susan and I agree completely.

  4. Thanks, Susan, that means a lot coming from my favorite author. If anyone hasn’t read Susan’s books, you should know they meet professional editing standards and the stories are excellent. In fact, I posted on a number of book blogger sites last year that I liked Open Minds better than Hunger Games. It was my favorite book last year.

    With that said, WLC’s award, as a readers’ recommendation for books, can’t function as gatekeeping for publishing an indie book. The authors have to publish before WLC readers even get to see their books. If enough WLC readers like a given book, as a group, I doubt it will have any more effect than the same number of “likes” on Amazon. Although it might boost sales for recommended books, I can’t see it stifling the sales of others.

    Glad to see you here, Kathy. Sorry for concluding that you were talking about WLC. The timing fit so well, though. Would you mind sharing what other groups or authors are considering vetting indie books? I would like to investigate the terms. If any indie group (publishers excepted because they have to make money)or individual posed a danger to indie authors getting published, that would ruin indies’ freedom. Trying to convince indies to edit is a good thing. Forcing any sort of requirements for publishing as indies would not be good. And thanks for bringing the whole issue to my attention.

  5. For some reason, Blogger isn’t letting Melissa post comments so I’m posting what she just sent me by email:

    “Hi Sher, I wanted to drop a note to clarify what WLC’s intentions for the Reader Seal is. Susan stated, “there is only one “seal of approval” that matters: that of readers,” and she’s right – that’s exactly what our seal is. Readers are qualifying the value of the books. We are not gatekeepers. Even poorly written books can have awesome marketing and sell tons of books–that’s why indies get a bad rep. Our Seal is not about indies or traditionally published authors – it’s not about how an author publishes — it’s about putting forth strong writing that is structurally and editorially sound. Readers shouldn’t have to take chances – they deserve well-written, structurally sound books.”

    My apologies in behalf of myself and Blogger, Melissa. And thanks!

  6. Sheryl, Thanks for telling us about the WLC and for the other informative links. I have a feeling I’ll be adding a few more blogs to my RSS feed.

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