Recently, there have been a few comments made on various web forums that refer to indieBRAG as a paid review service. We are not and we would like to correct any misunderstanding of what we are and what we do. As the late four-term senator, ambassador, and sociologist, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” So here are two key facts about indieBRAG:
FACT: We are a quality standards certification service for the self-published book industry. All books brought to our attention are subjected to a rigorous selection process. Books that are selected to receive our B.R.A.G. Medallion are actively promoted, while the names of the authors and titles of books that are not chosen are kept strictly confidential. The reason that we record a “5 Star review” at amazon.com, or on similar websites, is because that is the only way we can announce the award on those sites.
FACT: We do charge a non-refundable $20.00 processing fee that covers ebook acquisition and administrative costs, and the expense of maintaining our website. While we would never be so presumptuous to compare ourselves to the prestigious Pulitzer Prize Award, the fact is that Columbia University requires an application fee of $50.00 in order for a book to be considered for their prize. We respectfully submit that a B.R.A.G. Medallion represents no more of a paid review than does a Pulitzer Prize. Both recognize excellence.
In conclusion, an indie author whose work is awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion can hold his or her head high because their book has been judged as being every bit as good as the best of traditionally published books. And, most important of all, they did not, nor could they, buy the award!
Excellence is an attribution of the highest honor. What author would not want to be in he category.
The other fact is that you don’t really offer a review anyway. The blurb that you post on the various websites hardly constitutes a review compared to that produced by those other sites. It is exactly what you described–an award announcement.
Writing this comment as someone who does not yet know the results of my nomination, I can attest that the reason I chose to subject my novel to indieBRAG’s rigorous selection process was unbiased impartiality. While my novel has received great reviews from paid services, I wanted a truly objective opinion. Where else can I pursue such frank feedback?
The advent of the e-book seemingly provided a zero cost outlet for every writer’s vanity. But readers pay a heavy price. How can the average reader possibly sort through thousands of self-published novels ranging from the Pulitzer-quality-polished to the unedited-rough-draft?
The indie novel movement’s only objective filter is indieBRAG. Regardless of my novel’s outcome, I applaud their efforts to help the average reader find quality writing. If I do not meet indieBRAG’s high standards then it just means that I’ll work harder on my next novel.