A friend suggested I apply for membership with this wonderful, young, not-for-profit (501(c)3) consortium of Independent writers and authors. Their goal is to create a more open marketplace–better placement in libraries and bookstores, for example–for legitimate self-publishers and their books, by vetting them through a peer-review process that to me resembles the one for university press books and academic journals. In essence, it’s like a literary agency outside the exclusionary, traditional publishing establishment, and their message is “Hey, these are books that are just as real, and meet as high a standard, as anything produced by that establishment” (my paraphrase).
These folks run on volunteer labor, and it’s not even easy to find out how to send a donation. If you’re an independent author/publisher who would like to belong, I urge you to check the box to act as a volunteer reader for them, as you apply. Like Public Broadcasting, groups like this can’t exist for long running on the steam of a few individuals; they require cooperation from the membership.
Speaking of visibility and discoverability of e-books, Clotho’s Loom has joined the ranks of KoboBooks. These good folks are another outfit we can all be grateful for, in the ongoing struggle against monopoly (or effective monopolies composed of several entities) in the commercial publishing world. Like Smashwords, they also offer downloads in a variety of reader formats (unlike some, who tie you to a proprietary platform or device.)