We show readers how good you are
THIS Shakespir eBook first published for free worldwide distribution in October 2017 by Professional Independent Publishing Standards and The Writers Trust. It was originally published as Making Indie Books Great between April and September 2017.
Copyright © 2017 Brian Morgan and The Writers Trust. This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. All rights reserved world-wide. The right of Brian Morgan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted.
The author and publishers authorise readers to forward this eBook (or the link to it) in its entirety to other authors and writers without charge. It is the author’s wish that this book be read by every author who wishes to do so.
This book is associated with the PiPSTM website located at .
PiPSTM is a global online organisation and can be contacted by email at [email protected]
Independent book publishing has evolved. No longer need it be seen as second class compared with traditional publishing. Authors and publishing professionals are buzzing with the news of an inexpensive service to verify good quality indie books and make that quality visible to readers.
Good quality indie books can now be verified for readers to distinguish them from poor quality self-published books and elevate them to the same pedestal as traditionally published books.
Professional Independent Publishing Standards (PiPSTM) has been accepted by authors and editors as an authentic body responsible for verifying quality books for the independent publishing industry. It provides a quality mark to be displayed on book covers and elsewhere so that good books can be readily identified by readers.
This service is peer-driven and not for profit.
We urge all indie authors to read the website and share it with their networks for the good of the independent publishing industry and individual authors.
The possibilities for indie authors are enormous and marketing possibilities abound.
Every indie author, whether the book is published or publisher-ready, can apply right now. As long as a printed book or eBook is on the market, no matter how long ago it was published¸ it is eligible for the PiPSTM Verified Book Quality Award.
If the book can be verified as having been professionally edited and the production quality is sound¸ the award is granted. And the cost for the author is simply an administration fee. If the book has been self-edited, it can still qualify (details later).
If we cannot verify professional editing, the cost is still minimal, as set out on the website.
The benefits in author recognition and book promotion possibilities are obvious. Several hundred books have already achieved the award to display on their covers.
The PiPSTM organisation was formed in 2015 by an international group of authors and editors who wanted to make indie books better and the industry more professional. It has been peer-driven ever since and was launched in April 2017. It will continue to be peer-driven, with all authors and editors invited to suggest improvements. We are not afraid of change and believe the industry must change – for the better.
*A review after five months resulted in the updated and streamlined service launched with this free eBook and the PiPS*TM website.
We all want our books to be seen as professional and good quality, and we want our hard work as writers to be rewarded. It would be very nice if we could all have an award-winning author’s credibility, would it not? Well, now it’s possible. You don’t compete for this award, you simply publish to a professional standard.
However, we believe it’s even more important for readers to see, instantly, that your book is a verified quality production and worth buying – that it’s up to the standard they have come to expect in professional publishing.
Every independent author now has an opportunity to receive the PiPS™ Verified Book Quality Award simply by publishing to professional standards and, as authors start to display the PiPSTM award, readers will have a wider choice, which will now include a better option in indie books.
Here’s what the PiPS™ System will do to make your dreams come true:
If you have already had your book edited by an experienced editor or editing organisation, and we can verify that, and if it can be seen as professionally produced, your book will be accepted for the award.
When the PiPS™ verification process is finished, you will be able to display the PiPSTM Verified Book Quality Award on book covers, websites, stationery and elsewhere for all potential buyers to see.
Your book may well qualify in this way, in which case we can all jump for joy. But your book must achieve the standard readers expect from a professional publication, so what happens if you self-edited or had a friend do the job?
PiPSTM is only interested in verifying quality books, so we must verify yours. To do that, we have to be flexible. There are two ways to go.
You could supply evidence of competency. For example, you or your friend might have had extensive editing experience outside of a professional editing company or office and you might be able to demonstrate that. You might have other ways of demonstrating to PiPSTM that the book has indeed enjoyed competent editing and design.
If you are unable to satisfy that requirement, we do two things. We pass your Word document through our own dedicated editing software. This tests a number of things, including spelling, grammar, word usage and readability levels, complexity and length of sentences, and more. This indicates, for example, whether the language was suited to the book’s purpose or type.
We also have the book read by one of our editors. We will not edit your book – we are happy to leave that to established editors and editing companies. But a professional reading will provide us with more information to help us decide whether the book is a good one and deserves the PiPSTM Verified Book Quality Award.
If we can offer the award, we will, but the book must be good in both content and production. If we cannot verify the quality, our assessor will offer clear advice on how to resubmit amended files.
So, if you have not been professionally edited or if you cannot demonstrate editing competence, we can still help. Professionally edited books attract only a minimal administration fee. Books not professionally edited require more work and will, of necessity, attract an additional modest fee. The website sets it out.
The independent publishing needs a peer-driven organisation to serve it with a quality mark to tell readers, instantly, that this is a verified quality book.
Now PiPSTM is here to do just that.
And it IS peer-driven. Five months after we launched, we have now released this new edition of the eBook and updated our website with a better, streamlined service for authors and readers – all of it suggested by people like you.
Authors and editors have responded in enthusiastic numbers with congratulations, but more importantly, advice on how to improve our service.
We listened and always will. Such a service can only succeed in the long term if it is driven by the best minds and hearts in the industry – and that means you.
Professional Independent Publishing Standards (PiPS™) offers a Unique Value Promise to authors around the world who chose the independent publishing route. Our promise is to help raise your independent publishing standards to the level of traditional publishing, or better.
And to make that standard visible to all prospective readers.
How? By serving as the standard-bearer for the independent publishing industry. We do that by bestowing on good quality indie books our award: the PiPS™ Verified Book Quality Award, which can be displayed on book covers and elsewhere, so that both readers and other authors will see it.
We want good indie books to stand out from the many poor quality self-published books and we want these good books to stand on a par with traditionally published books in the eyes of readers.
Our promise is that all books achieving the expected standard will receive a highly valued award in recognition. And this, over time, will raise the standard and the reputation of independent publishing by being seen on more and more independently published books.
We think all serious authors (and we count ourselves among them) deserve greater respect and bigger sales volumes.
We’re for authors who decide to avoid the old-school traditional publishing in favour of the newer independent publishing models offered by organisations like Shakespir, CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle, Lulu and IngramSpark.
Of course, many independent authors are already first class and we do not presume to suggest that we are the fount of all wisdom. Far from it. We simply think this standard should be recognised. This is a service to the industry that was devised by authors and editors and will always remain peer-driven. Which means we will always want and value your thoughts and input.
We are not in this for the money; we simply want the independent publishing industry to be better and authors to do better. The money authors spend should go to professional services they trust. Our administration fee is just to cover costs.
Everything I (and others) do is “pro bono”. I do not charge or receive fees, nor do any of the authors and editors who serve in what we call the PiPSTM Circle of Counsellors (a name from one of my books). These are the people who founded PiPSTM and continue to provide its backbone.
If we do assess books, the reading fees, apart from the small administration fee, go in full to our editor assessors, who works on an independent fee-for-service basis. The administration fee will always be set as low as possible, while maintaining the viability of PiPSTM. We are set up to be a permanent body for the good of the industry and viability is a must.
PiPS™ has big plans for indie publishing, and we want authors everywhere to be part of it. And, you, of course, have an opportunity, right now, to be seen as the author of a verified quality book.
Browse this eBook and the website – . See what you think. Tell us what you think. Tell your friends in the industry. Then hop on board.
If you don’t know me, how can you trust what I say? That’s plain, isn’t it?
My name is Brian Morgan. I’m a former newspaper and magazine journalist, editor and publisher, and before that I was a successful business manager and founder. I’ve been in publishing, one way or another, since 1975. People have called me a thought leader and an integrity advocate (and probably other things I should not go into). My website has more blurb about that. I gained a stack of national awards along the way and my writing has been translated for Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese readers. I was also a part-time writing and publishing teacher for some years. It’s all history, but it all shaped who I am.
After retiring early, I began to write books (I had been researching one of them for years in my spare time). I tell part of my story in traditional publishing a bit later, but, after years in newspaper, magazine and traditional book publishing, I have been involved full-time in independent book publishing since 2004, publishing eight of my own print books, more eBooks, plus books for others. One of mine won a prestigious national literary award.
I’ve also been pretty much involved, for many years, in mentoring writers at all stages of their development. You don’t become this ancient without learning a bit along the way.
Of course, I am always willing to answer any question you might ask.
Why am I here? For years now I have been watching, with growing excitement, as the publishing world changed for the better. I was delighted and jumped on the independent publishing bandwagon.
But there was, and is, a problem. And I think you know it.
Anyone who has purchased self-published books or eBooks knows that many of them are absolutely dreadful. Was that delicate enough for you? You know what I mean, don’t you? They are a disgrace to the publishing industry and they drag genuine authors down.
Experienced independent publishing professional Philip Catshill says self-publishing has a tarnished reputation. And you know he’s right.
“Other than typing in a title and a description,” he says, “once an account is opened, any document can be uploaded and self-published using only a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. There is no quality control; thus, inexperienced writers are uploading first drafts, setting a price and, in some cases, getting their family or friends to write rave reviews.
“Traditional publishing implies the work has been accepted by a third person and a publishing company as being suitable for publication, thus there is a kudos with traditional publishing. I’ve seen comments on LinkedIn from readers who never read self-published books because they consider them inferior.”
Of course, many traditionally published books are hardly any better, but I know that, until more independently published books are seen to achieve commercial best practice, they will always be looked upon with disdain by the big publishers and the industry, and avoided by many avid book readers.
Obviously, something had to change. And I began to sprout the concept of independent authors, editors and publishers banding together to create a vision of something better and to find a way to achieve that vision. Clearly, if the new independent publishing system was to work as it should, the people involved in it had to do the heavy lifting.
And the beautiful thing is that there have been more than enough very experienced people willing to put in the time and effort to achieve lift-off and ensure a successful flight.
PiPS™ is the result, and, because I introduced the concept, I accepted the task of overseeing the PiPS™ formation and the initial management. The concept needed a leader, but that’s all I am.
The vision might be big, but it is worthy of every effort. Traditional publishers invested a lot of money to achieve their success. We’re out to achieve the same standards for indie authors, using peer power instead of mountains of money.
PiPS™ will grow beyond my involvement, and I will welcome that when the time is right, and if the continued future of PiPS™ and its values and vision are assured. Whoever takes over must be steeped in integrity and ethical business practices.
For legal and administrative purposes, current ownership of PiPS™ is vested in The Writers Trust, and I am one of the trustees of the Trust. The Trust also owns the various PiPS™ intellectual properties.
PiPS™ is a global online organisation and most of our work is online. Our assessors can work from any location around the world. I’m in Australia, and distance is not the devil it once was. I tip-toe around time zones, but I can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Welcome to the new way of working.
PiPS™ is here now, and beta testing was long ago done and dusted. Before launching, we assessed a sizeable stack of books to prove our systems and to verify for ourselves that the concept is valid. We first submitted our own books for scrutiny, then others were invited.
Disclosure: The PiPS™ people decided that, because we would be working without monetary gain for the sake of improving the independent publishing industry, and because we wanted the PiPS™ awards to be widely noticed, we should be allowed to submit to the PiPS™ awards process, although that process, obviously, had to be at arm’s length.
Authors who are helping improve standards should not be penalised.
Our awards process is now open to all authors publishing in English, and we hope to expand to other languages in time. For now, though, you are invited to submit your work for an award. You’ll see that we work hard to help you achieve the PiPS™ Verified Book Quality Award.
This free eBook aims to help authors around the world be seen as publishing independently to best practice standards. PiPS™ wants the standard of independent publishing to lift to that achieved by traditional publishers, and we want to make that best practice visible.
I think that is what you want, also.
And that is exactly what readers want. They want to see at a glance whether the book is as good as they have come to expect (and better than they have come to expect from many indie books). The PiPS™ verification program does precisely that.
Hundreds of thousands of authors have had enough of the traditional publishing frustration, headaches and meagre share of publishing profits, and want a crack at personal success with the major share of income that independent publishing can bring. Above all, they want to be published and they want control.
But readers must be able to trust an author to deliver a genuinely good reading experience.
PiPS™ is delivering that trust with a service that is highly valued.
All independent authors now have an opportunity to achieve an authentic award for their efforts. Authors do not compete against each other, but strive to achieve best practice.
Bad independent publishing reduces the credibility of all independent authors. Genuine authors work too hard, for too long, to have their work denigrated because others are sloppy or careless or just plain ignorant. Most PiPS™ people are independently published authors themselves, as well as being experienced editors or designers, and understand the writer’s world.
Our focus on highlighting best practice publishing standards is what sets us apart.
PiPS™ specialises in both fiction and non-fiction book-length work. However, the book, whether printed or eBook, must offer a genuine reading experience and serve a proper purpose. Please, pleeese, no 15-page eBooks called How to Churn out a Bestselling Ebook in 15 Minutes and Make Millions. You know what we’re talking about, don’t you?
We’re looking for real books by real authors and will not offer the award for anything less. That’s why we have to see the book, even if it has been edited. If we want to lift standards, we can’t turn around and lower them. We want authentic books published to a professional standard.
When PiPS™ offers an award, the author receives an email with various attachments. They include award logos in colour and in black and white, an award certificate and advice on how to use the award for maximum benefit.
Each logo also has a white background and a transparent background, depending on your needs. We will also create free custom versions based on RGB colours supplied by you or your designers. We want to be as flexible as possible with the award logos and how they are displayed.
The certificate is suitable for framing and the logos are suitable for cover and/or internal display or for use on stationery, websites, emails, business cards, author bios etc.
We strongly urge the use of award logos on book covers and elsewhere, so that prospective buyers will know that the book has achieved a high standard (and would presumably be a good buy) – and other authors will see that the award exists. With POD and eBook systems, it’s usually easy to make changes where necessary.
The more people display logos, the more the awards will be seen, and other authors will be encouraged to apply. We anticipate the pace of PiPSTM growth will accelerate, especially now with our free offer, and we can all contribute, both by applying for the award ourselves and by encouraging other authors to do so.
A stronger independent publishing industry will mean better independent sales – and that’s what we all want. No, that’s what we all need.
We try to make things as simple as possible for authors. The PiPS™ award will reward your book for overall publishing excellence. If book buyers know your book has been verified as good quality, that’s a big part of your sales job done.
Every published book and every publisher-ready book is eligible to be considered for an award.
A published book, for us, means any book that’s available on the market, no matter how long ago it was published.
For all books, whether they have been professionally edited or not, we ask you to submit an electronic copy of the full manuscript as submitted to the publisher (including full interior file and cover file), or a print book if the electronic files are not available. If the book has been edited, we still need to see it to be sure the production is up to commercial standards.
Just ask by email to [email protected] for an application and we’ll send everything you need by return email, including what to do whether your book has been professionally edited or not.
Return that completed application and enclose your files (or send them separately).
Then, if a fee is involved, we’ll invoice you via PayPal. You can pay with your PayPal account or by credit card.
When we receive your files or printed book (if you send one), we acknowledge receipt of all we need and give you an estimated time for completion of the process. Then, by that appointed hour, we expect to send you either your award or our advice on how to get there.
All of this is explained step-by-step in the application process.
How long will we take? To be honest, it depends on how busy we are and how long it takes to get confirmation of the editing. However, we will give an estimated turnaround time for each assessment, before you pay, and it will be pretty accurate. We do not anticipate any process will take more than four weeks, and we hope we can do it in two weeks. The quicker the better for both of us. If you are working to a deadline, tell us. We’ll do what is possible, and sometimes what is not.
When you think your book is ready for publication, or if it has already been independently published (no matter how long ago), submit it for a PiPS™ award. Almost everything is done via email. These are the steps:
1. Send an email with “Application” as the subject line and a few details, like your name and the name of your book. If your book has been properly edited, tell us. We’ll send you everything you need to start the PiPS™ process when you are ready to do so. Email to [email protected]
2. Fill out the application form and send it back with attachments to your files. The application is pretty simple – just enough to collect the information we need. If you are sending a printed book, say so on the email application and send the book to the address on the Application (it will vary, depending on volumes of applications received and your location).
3. On the website, you will find our current fees, where applicable. They, too, are simple. On receipt of your application, we’ll send you the fee and show you how to pay it. If you agree, proceed with payment.
4. At present, we accept payment through PayPal. This could change in the future, but, for now, we think it’s best and safest for our clients and for us. The PayPal process is flexible and you can use your PayPal account or use your credit card.
5. For all books, whether they have been professionally edited or not, we ask you to submit an electronic copy of the full manuscript (including full interior file and cover file) as submitted to the publisher.
It’s all pretty simple. Just start with an email with Application in the subject line and your name and book title. From there, we explain each step of the process.
The PiPS™ system is explained also in the organisation’s website, . You’ll also find current fees there (on the Apply page).
For any queries, PiPS™ can be contacted at [email protected] We’d also like to hear from you if you can see where we can improve our service.
If you’d like to start the application process, contact PiPSTM at [email protected]
For the free eBook, the best way is to email a request to [email protected] We’ll send you a PDF version, plus the link to other versions at Shakespir. Or you could go straight to .
The date of the latest edition of this eBook is noted on the Contact page of the website. If you have an earlier version, please download the latest to keep up-to-date. We are flexible, depending on our experience and the wishes of the industry as expressed by people like you.
Please join PiPSTM on . Your thoughts and comments would be most welcome.
CreateSpace can be found on . There are extensive details there on POD publishing and on publishing for Amazon.
Amazon in on .
Shakespir is on . Their excellent style guide for eBook formatting can be found here, as well as other recommended publications.
More information about Brian Morgan or his own books can be found on .
Brian Morgan can be found on and He can be contacted on the PiPS™ email or, about his own books, on [email protected]
So, here we are at last. I hope you now have a good idea of what PiPS™ is all about and how to grab your PiPS Verified Book Quality Award.
Thank you for your interest so far.
You now know our purpose is to help raise independent publishing standards, book by book, so that readers can see, instantly, what books are professionally produced and therefore worth considering.
We are doing what we can to tell authors about PiPS™, but the industry is too big for us to reach all authors. Would you be kind enough to help spread the word? You have your own networks, either person-to-person or through social media groups.
If you can reach out to them, you will be helping change independent publishing and doing something really worthwhile for your fellow authors.
Not everyone will be in a position to use our services, but everyone should be aware of what is being done to help them and their industry.
Let’s make indie books great. Let’s make your indie book stand out and help readers choose book. And let’s spread the word so that other authors can have a chance and, together, we can improve the image of independent publishing.
Thank you for your support.
The independent publishing industry has a new champion - PiPS, Professional Independent Publishing Standards - and a new quality mark is highlighting good self-published books for readers. For the first time, an authentic peer-driven organisation stands ready to distinguish good indie books from the many poor quality offerings and place these good books on a par with traditionally published books. For too long, indie authors have struggled on an uneven playing field. Many readers have shunned self-published books and trusted only traditionally published books that have been published to a professional standard. Now there is a way for good quality indie books to become visible to readers, boosting the status and marketability of many professional quality books. At last, self-published books of good quality have their chance in the sun. PiPS assesses independently published books for both editorial quality and production standards. Those that achieve professional standard receive the PiPS Verified Book Quality Award that can be placed on book covers and promotional material to be seen by book buyers. All the details are available in this free eBook and on the website. PiPS was formed by an international group of authors and publishing professionals in 2015, when it became obvious that something needed to be done to raise indie publishing standards in the eyes of readers. This group works on a pro bono basis and the service is not for profit. Trust was needed in the industry and this group set out to find a way to achieve it. Eventually, the service was launched in April 2017. Suggestions flooded in from authors, editors and others, and now, just five months later PiPS has evolved into a streamlined, efficient body that can supply trust for readers and a vital marketing boost for authors. Authors are asked to read this free eBook and share the good news with their networks for the good of themselves and the industry.