Indie authors. . .
It does have a nicer ring to it, I agree. . . But it doesn't change the fact that it's synonymous with "self-published writers." You can sugarcoat it any way you like, it means that you published something through a vanity press or something similar. You can call a woman an administrative assistant, but she's still a secretary. One might prefer to be called an adult entertainment performer, yet he or she remains a pornstar. Ask anyone working at The Home Depot or Walmart if they're proud to be an associate instead of an employee and they'll give you the finger.
So indie author or self-published writer amounts to the exact same thing. Like many SFF online reviewers, I refuse to read any self-published work. There is enough crap out there that nevertheless went through the normal publishing process that I have no time to waste on something that wasn't good enough to attract the attention of an agent and then go through the usual editing process.
For the last year or two, these so-called indie authors have become more and more vocal on various SFF message boards and other online communities, bemoaning the fact that it's very difficult for them to get the word out about their novels/series. They often point the finger at reviewers like me, people who refuse to give self-published books a shot. They are quick to point out the very few exceptions that "made it," refusing to agree with the fact that most of the stuff that ever came out of vanity presses has always been worthless crap.
Hence, even though I'm one of those readers who believe that 99% of indie works are literary turds, I'm willing to give those authors a chance to put their money where their mouths are. So here's the deal:
In the comment section of this post, I'll give indie authors the opportunity to make their sale's pitch. Provide the title of your novel and a blurb that will give us an idea of what the book is all about. In addition, I want you to tell me why you believe I'd enjoy it. I'll let this run its course for a while, and then I'll select the five works whose premise intrigued me enough to give them a shot.
That done, I will ask my readers to vote on which work they would like me to read and perhaps review. Once the votes are tallied, I will officially commit to read the first 100 pages of the book the Hotlist readers will have voted for. If it's decent, I will read the whole thing and review it on the Hotlist. If it's good, I will humbly admit that I was wrong and that perhaps reviewers should give more self-published works a shot.
The catch: If it sucks, I will show NO MERCY. So before making your sale's pitch, make sure you understand this. I have books from quality authors such as Neil Gaiman, Richard Morgan, Neal Stephenson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Iain M. Banks, China Miéville, Alastair Reynolds, yada yada yada, waiting to be read. If you make me waste my time on total crap, I will make you feel as though I've been going easy on Robert Stanek and Terry Goodkind these last few years. I kid you not. I won't hold anything back.
Please don't make me regret this. . . :/