The Best Indie Book Project in America
Most people are familiar with bestseller lists from those listed on news websites like The New York Times Bestseller List or those associated with other organizations like Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, or even Amazon. These books, written by popular or up-and-coming authors, are usually noted for the top-selling status and become very well-known to the general public.
On the other end, Independent (Indie) authors have much less recognition for their works. They usually don’t have the same level of exposure as authors with major publishing companies backing them. The Indie Author Project (IAP) works to feature books published by independent authors and creates collections of indie bestsellers and award-winners to showcase to the public. IAP encourages and helps facilitate strong relationships between authors, local public libraries, and readers.
What is an Indie Author?
The definition of “indie” can vary depending on the type of industry you’re looking at, for example, an indie film, indie theatre, and indie book all come with their own stereotypes and expectations. An indie author is someone who self-publishes their work which means they do everything from writing and editing to producing, distributing, and marketing their own pieces of work.
Other people will sometimes also include authors who take a hybrid route of self-publishing and traditional publishing as well as authors who are published through indie publishers under the definition of an “indie” author. Anything that is released by major publishers in the United States would not be considered like Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, or Simon and Schuster.
Indie Author Project
The Indie Author Project (IAP) is a publishing community that was created to connect library patrons with indie authors and books. This community is made up of public libraries, authors, curators, and readers. It curates collections of top indie-published books in adult and young adult fiction and shares them with libraries across the country.
These titles are selected from thousands of submissions and also include authors from a variety of bestselling lists. Some examples of what is in the collections include Award-Winning Thrillers, NYT Bestselling Authors, and Award-Winning Historical Fiction.
This project allows authors to directly submit eBook copies of their titles directly to their local public libraries. These digital copies are then vetted by a number of editorial partners the IAP works with like Publishers Weekly or Library Journal. Those that get selected benefit from a boost in exposure and networking opportunities as well as the option to opt into a royalty-paying program through platforms such as OverDrive, dPLA Exchange, cloudLibrary, etc. Those that are interested can browse eligibility requirements and the selection rubric online.
So far, the Indie Author Project has helped over 12,000 independent authors form relationships with their local library. The best part about these partnerships is that it leads to a sustainable use model through unlimited circulation to library patrons.
Indie Author Day
This year the IAP is hosting the 6th annual Indie Author Day between November 12 and 13. This event invites local public libraries to bring indie authors and their communities together in a convention-style way to learn, network, write, and answer questions. The Indie Author Project provides all of the resources, promotional materials, and workshop videos which means all libraries have to do is invite the community and local authors to join.
Libraries that choose to take part can find workshop videos and graphics online. These were made with the help of industry partners and touch on topics on everything from marketing to comic book art. There are dozens of videos available for use and even a document outlining event planning and programming.
In conjunction with in-person library workshops, the Indie Author Project is holding live events throughout the day. Contest winners for the indie Author Project and author panels will be happening live throughout the second day of the 6th annual Indie Author Day.
Organizations and libraries interested in hosting their own event can register for free online through the Indie Author Day website. Authors that are interested in getting involved can also sign up through the website. The goal behind these events is to provide patrons with access to “new literary voices” while bringing together the indie writing community. All new hosts and authors are invited to participate and the IAP encourages authors who cannot find a local event to let their public libraries know about the IAP community.
Public libraries sit at the center of bringing different communities together and the same applies to indie authors and readers. The Indie Author Project works extensively with libraries and other partners to make indie voices heard.