I had a long chat with my friend @edmarrow on Twitter about his idea to establish a collective of indie authors who join together in a publishing venture.

What would that look like? Why would indies want to band together when the whole point is being your own boss? Well, there’s still something to be gained from something which resembles a publishing house.

GLUT

As indie publishing becomes more and more popular problems rise. Poorly edited books, poorly written books and of course spam are piling up on Amazon’s servers. Readers, who were initially receptive to indie books, are starting to avoid anything not on the top seller’s list. And who can blame them? You spend 0.99 cents on something that wasn’t even proofread and you’ve been ripped off. You drop 1.99 on a book that’s nothing but advertisements for Viagra and you’ll probably never buy another indie book again.

What are our options? Well, we could start a publishing house which only accepts the most literary well written novels and stories for publishing. But then… Are we not the “gatekeepers” indies are keen to avoid?

The Solution

Its not our place to put down other’s work as being good or bad. We may hate novels others love. In the end good and bad is an issue for our readers. However, as authors we can say with confidence that a sentence is poorly constructed, a book poorly formatted and a manuscript un-spell-checked.

A collective of authors who band together and provide mutual checks and balances against poor fundamentals could, conceivably, brand this product quality. If this collective assured that all publications were properly formatted, edited and presented readers could feel safe downloading anything from their logo.

These self imposed publishing standards could help counteract the negative perception of indie publishing without resorting to traditional “gatekeeping” practices indies want to circumvent.

Structure

I think Scylla publishing is a great name. Scylla is the one who opened the gates for King Mino’s soldiers and allowed them to enter a formerly impenetrable fortress. Scylla would include a core group capable of:

Editing

Art / Design

eBook Formatting

What would they do? Select authors to work with and represent them long term as an assurance of quality. By releasing consistently agreeable content Scylla would ideally develop a word of mouth reputation for trustworthy-ebook releases. Since, unlike traditional publishing, this is not a revenue-dependent venture Scylla could work with authors long term as they develop their voice instead of basing representation on sales figures and income. After all, most authors don’t hit their stride until their third or fourth work.

This trio of authors would develop a charter which explains how they would approve a book, and the standards by which they would review and edit author’s works.

So I leave this to you to make it happen… I’m too immature and too busy to do so. If someone does make this go I’d love to be a part but in the most passive way possible.

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