FAQ

I'm a Reader

I'm an Author

For Readers

What is Indies United?

 

We are a co-op of like-minded authors, working together to showcase our books and our diversity as writers that embraces over a dozen different genres. We openly encourage and support both new and established authors in their pursuit in finding their audience while bringing to you books worth reading.

 

Where is Indies United located?

Our home base is located in Quincy, Illinois but we have authors from all over the world.

 

How do I contact Indies United if I have a question?

If you have a question that is not answered in FAQ's you can contact us here. We will do our best to get back to you within 24 hours.

 

How do I find out more information about a book or an author?

 

Every author on our site has a personal contact form at the bottom of their page, and we encourage writers and readers to engage with each other in a positive way. Each author profile is updated regularly to showcase new releases, book signings or other book/author related topics. We encourage our readers to come back frequently to keep up to date with your favorite authors and discover new ones.

 

Do I have to join your website to buy books?

 

In a word, no. While we do encourage our readers to join our monthly mailing list, and follow us and your favorite authors on social media, our site is open to anyone looking for a good book.

 

If I join your mailing list, how often will you send out emails?

 

In general, you will only receive our newsletter once a month. On occasion, there may be something special we feel you might be interested in so we'll send out a supplemental email. An example might be, one of our authors is going to be featured on a national television program, so we will send out information about when and where and at what time they will be featured. But, we will not bombard you with emails. If you decide to join a personal mailing list from one of our authors, that will be a separate mailing and not under the pervue of Indies United. 

 

How do I stop receiving your Newsletter emails?

If at any time you wish to be removed from our mailing list, simply send us an email letting us know and we will take you off our list. If you joined an individual author's mailing list, please contact that author directly or follow any remove from list instructions they may provide in their emails.

 

How can I become a beta reader?

 

Do you enjoy reading? Do you like the idea of reading something before anyone else? Does the idea that you could help find the next great writer of this generation excite you? Can you finish a book in a timely manner and reliably report your thoughts, feelings, and give an honest and helpful critique of what you've read? Then you could become a beta reader for Indies United. To sign up, click here and fill out the form, and when a book that meets your reading preferences comes our way we'll contact you.

 

For Authors

Are there any upfront fees if I join Indies United?

There are no upfront fees for joining Indies United outside of the processing fee for each ISBN assignment. If you are looking for hidden fees, there aren't any. We are very upfront about what we expect from our authors and what our authors can expect from us in return. As the Founder of Indies United, I have been an Indie author since 2015, and I understand the struggles authors face in the publishing world and wanted to give authors a safe haven and a home to call their own, and so Indies United came into being.

 

For more information about royalties and ISBN purchase information, click on this link to be taken to Royalties information.

 

Why should I join Indies United?

 

As a traditional Indie author, going it alone can be hard. To be truthful, very hard. Our goal is to give Indies a home where they can thrive in the often confusing, frustrating, and occasionally hair-pulling publishing world. Unlike traditional publishing houses, Indies United allows you to keep the control many Indie authors enjoy having, while offering the support of a community of like-minded authors. Can we guarantee that you'll become the next great J.K. Rowling? No, and we will never imply otherwise. But what we will do is give you the best tools available to us, to give you and your books, a chance to shine. We will never inhibit you from the highest success as an author that you can reach, even if that turns out to be with another publishing house. To find out more about how we will do this, please continue to scroll down.

 

Does Indies United accept manuscripts?

 

Yes, we accept manuscripts. We also accept previously published Indie books. If you are an already established Indie author and have 10 or more reviews with a 3-star or above average rating, and do not violate any of our ethical guidelines, welcome aboard! If you are a first time author, we ask that you submit your manuscript for review. If for some reason it does not meet our review standards, a critique will be sent of the things needed to be fixed and you will be allowed to resubmit your book after making the corrections.

 

What are your review standards for new authors?

Books, like all art forms, are subjective. We ask when you submit your book to let us know if you are giving us a finished (completely edited and ready to print) manuscript, or an ARC (an uncorrected proof or review copy). We will also require the category of your book. Novels, both fiction and non-fiction, are judged by a different criteria than a book about healthy lifestyle choices.

 

We prefer that you submit a finished copy, but if you are submitting an ARC novel, we are looking for a book that engages our attention. Does it have a good plot line? Is it entertaining? Can we see the diamond in the rough shining through? If we agree your book has potential we will ask that you have it edited and resubmit it for review for publication.

 

If you are submitting a finished copy, we expect it to be relatively free of errors. We understand that some errors do occur, and even the best editor can let mistakes pass through, but if we find it to be difficult to read, or have a distracting number of errors we will send it back to you for re-edit.

 

If you are submitting a non-fiction book that is not a novel (ie: self-help, historical, cookbook, etc) our criteria varies as widely as the subjects. We will not judge a cookbook by the same standards as a historical book for instance. We will expect the book to have a clear purpose that does not meander, is factually accurate, and free of errors that inhibit the reader from understanding the subject.

 

For poetry, children’s books, comic books, graphic novels and coloring books we ask that all books be submitted in final form and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

 

What are your ethical guidelines for books?

Here at Indies United we embrace our diversity and hope to give every author a chance to be discovered. But, there are some things that go against our ethical policy. We do not accept books that promote, encourage or glorify, intolerance, racism, pedophilia, domestic violence, rape culture, xenophobia, homophobia or violence against children or minorities.

 

If I join Indies United what percentage do you take for royalties?

Zero. No, your eyes did not deceive you, here at Indies United we do not take any of the royalties from your book sales. If you become a member you will be asked to pay a processing fee for the ISBN assignments for your books at a rate of $25 per ISBN (subject to change if purchase rates increase through Bowker). Before we invoice you, we will ask you to submit all required information about your book so we can properly register it and Indies United will be listed as the publisher. We will also provide you with our logo graphics for the copyright page and all other pertinent information you'll need to publish under our umbrella. Indies United will provide guidance setting up your sales channels, but you, the author, will be in total control of your books and all revenue generated from sales will belong to you.

Starting June 10, 2019, there will a $5 a month, or $55 per year should you chose to pay yearly, advertising fee for our published authors. It only goes into effect once your book has been published under our name, and it per author, not per book. This will only be used for advertising our authors and their books and will not be used for any operational expenses. 

 

Would I have to sign a contract if I join?

 

Yes. The contract will cover services provided, obligations expected of our authors, and other pertinent information. Most of the information in the contract is addressed here in FAQ. After reviewing the contract, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have that are not covered in this packet. We also encourage our authors to have our contract (or any contract for that matter, before you sign) reviewed by an attorney. 

 

*To share an amusing tidbit about our contract, one of our soon-to-be-added authors took our contract to his attorney for review. He quoted to us his attorney's reaction, "This was such an honest contract, I read it several times just for pleasure." But, please do not feel inhibited in any way to taking our contract to be reviewed before signing. We encourage it. And, if your attorney has any questions for us, please share our email address with them so we can address those questions directly.

 

Is there a limit on how many books I can publish through Indies United?

We place no limitations on how many books you are allowed to write, or put restrictions on the subject matter, provided they do not violate our ethical standards. We wish for you to stretch your wings and explore your abilities as an author to the fullest wherever your muse takes you. Nor do we place time constraints in between books, take the time you need to write the best book possible that you have in you, we will never push you to publish before you and your book are ready. We encourage quality in our authors over quantity.

 

Do you offer advances or sign on bonuses if I join?

 

Because Indies United does not take any percentage of your royalties, we do not offer either advances or sign on bonuses to our authors.

 

Who controls the buy links for my books?

 

Indies United will set up your buy links on the website using the information you provide, but all royalties will go to you through your sales channels. Indies United will not collect any sales proceeds on your behalf. If you wish to sell your books or ebooks directly from our website, a PayPal buy link will be added to your page. Please be clear what formats you will offer and expected delivery time for each book. You will be responsible for delivery.

 

*If there are consistent complaints from buyers about delivery issues, Indies United reserves the right to remove your personal buy links and leave only site links to Amazon, Smashwords, etc.

 

My ebook(s) are currently in KDP Select. Is this a problem?

 

While we don't require our authors to remove their current ebooks from Amazon's KDP Select program if they are already enrolled, we do highly recommend it. Keeping your ebooks in KDP Select inhibits our ability to fully promote your books over a broad spectrum of outlets, including to libraries and other paid book sharing programs. We do however, require that all new ebooks not be placed into restrictive programs such as this.

 

Who registers the ISBN's for my books if I join?

Indies United will register all ISBN's that are purchased through us. We will send you a form that will detail all the required information for registration at the time of purchase. Upon its return, we will register your book(s) in all provided formats and send back to you all ISBN codes for each book format.

In addition, Indies United is registered with the Library of Congress. Our books are added to the Library of Congress as they are published and given universal control numbers provided by the LoC and added to their database used by libraries, schools, and bookstores to find new books.

 

How many ISBN's will I need to buy per book?

 

You are required to have an individual ISBN for every format you generate for each book. You will need one ISBN code per paperback, hardback, Mobi, ePub, PDF, and audiobook. If you create an open source format for your digital books using a .doc program, you can combine Mobi, ePub, and PDF under one ISBN, but it is entirely up to you.

 

When producing any physical copy of your book, hardback, paperback, or audiobook, you will have to have an individual ISBN and barcode for each individual format. But, you are under no obligation to offer your book in all formats available to you. You may pick and choose which formats works best for you. One caveat, if you produce an audiobook that is only available in downloadable form, you will not need a barcode, but it will require an ISBN.

 

So, as an example, you decide to have code specific Mobi (Kindle), ePub (general eReaders), paperback, and hardback as the formats you will offer you book in, it will cost $100 for 4 ISBN's.

 

*The current cost of purchasing an individual ISBN on your own is $125.00 USD

 

**There are many changes going on right now with CreateSpace shutting down and being absorbed by Amazon with their KDPrinting service. It is too new right now to make any conclusive judgments about how this will affect individual authors or what future changes Amazon may make to the program. There have been some reported problems with their new program, and reports of poor quality printing as well as other issues. I have heard that many authors are now considering moving their printing to IngramSpark rather than move over to KDPrinting to avoid all those issues, and I may be among them. Please keep in mind, if you move over to IngramSpark they do not offer free ISBNs like CreateSpace did, so you will need to purchase them if you are considering moving there. But, if you join Indies United, you will be able to use our ISBNs at our prices.

 

If I buy an ISBN and don't use it, can I return it?

 

We only assign ISBN’s for books that are completed and ready to be published, and only in the amount you need. Because we sell our ISBN individually, rather than in blocks, you should never have any leftover ISBN's when you finish publishing your book in all the formats you have decided to use.

 

But, do I have to buy an ISBN for my eBooks? Can't I just use an ASIN?

By solely using an ASIN number you are registering your book through Amazon and they will be the publisher on record and will exclude your books from being placed under the umbrella of Indies United Publishing. Sole use of ASIN also excludes your books from being available through other sites such as Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo who require an ISBN for all books registered on their site. It limits the searchability of your books from sites other than Amazon and their affiliates and hinders inclusion into a majority of libraries and bookstores.

 

*ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It's a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that's assigned by Amazon and its partners. It's used for product identification within the Amazon organization. ASINs are only guaranteed unique within its marketplace.

 

Will you provide barcodes for physical books?

 

Yes, we can provide you with a unique barcode, with pricing, for your book through Bowkers, at their cost of $25.00 per code. But, you can also obtain free barcodes through KDPrinting (at least for now) but they may have a more generic coding for pricing. If you are using IngramSpark you can obtain a barcode through them as well. There are also sites that offer free barcodes, but if you use those make sure they provide high quality images or they may be rejected by KDPrinting and IngramSpark. We would suggest you do a little research and decide which approach is best for you.

 

Do you provide QR codes?

If you would like to add QR codes to your books, they are free to create and only take a few minutes to produce. We would be happy to provide you with the information on how to generate your own.

 

Would I have an individual author page and how much control would I have over it?

Once you are a member of Indies United, you will receive your own author’s page on our website. Each author’s page will include a short bio, profile photo, a list of all your books, buy links, and links to your personal website and other social media accounts you would like added. You will be required to provide all relevant information for your author page, individual books, social media links, and buy links using the forms we will provide.

 

Indies United will set up each page and will make adjustments as needed to keep your page up-to-date. If you find any errors or omissions simply contact us and we will make all the necessary corrections.

 

If I joined Indies United, what obligations would I have upon joining?

 

Because Indies United is a co-op, if you decide to join we will ask three things of you. Most will take very little time or effort. As the saying goes, you get out of something what you put into it, and a little effort from each of our authors can create big waves further down the line.

 

  1. Once a week, on Sundays, Indies United will post a new social media meme highlighting some aspect of our community that we will send throughout all our social media accounts. To help spread the word, we ask that you share our Sunday memes on your social media accounts as well. You can repost just on Sunday, throughout the week, or anything in between. But the more you participate, the higher our visibility becomes.

  2. A public newsletter will also go out once a month to highlight new authors who have joined, book releases, and other things that we believe will be of interest to our readers. To help spread the word, we ask that you share the newsletters on your mailing lists and through your social media channels.

  3. To help support each other, once a quarter we're asking our authors to pick another Indies United author to read and review one of their books and give an honest review. You are not required to purchase the book, but we do encourage everyone to do so. At a minimum, please request a free ebook from the author of your choice and post your review on GoodReads. But if you only request free books, don’t expect other authors to buy yours. If you have a review blog we encourage you to share there as well. The more locations we post our reviews, the more visibility we give to one another. Once you have posted the review, please send a copy of the review link for our records.

 

How will Indies United verify I'm in compliance?

While Indies United cannot force the above social media and book review requirements, if you choose not to participate, your books will not be eligible for the review exchange, inclusion in our newsletters, or promotion through our company until you choose to participate. As a co-op, we lift ourselves up by helping others.

 

As to how we will verify compliance, we will spot check our authors randomly. We also ask, to help keep track of posts, that you tag Indies United in all social media from us you share on your social media. If we notice a trend of non-compliance we will notate it, and an email will be sent out asking why you haven't been participating. We all understand that sometimes life can interfere with our best intentions, but if it becomes a habit, you will be added to the non-compliance list. Before any author is given an author's spotlight on the Home page, or promotion for a new book, activity or event we will verify that you have a 90% compliance rating for the preceding three months.

 

Please keep in mind, the more time we are forced to spend on compliance checks, the less time we have to dedicate to getting the word out about your books. If you don't want to participate, then let us know so we can simply remove you from our promotional rotation. Your books and author page will remain on our site for as long as your books have an Indies United ISBN, but promotional services are based on your corporation. So, please don't force us to play internet police and rob other active authors from what we can provide for all of you when not distracted.

 

In addition, in our author's newsletters, we will post if any authors are not currently eligible for the book review exchange as well. Again, we cannot force compliance, but it is also not fair to the other authors if your book is getting reviewed but you are not doing the same for your fellow authors. Reviews are the lifeblood of all authors, and we honestly spend far too much time begging people to review our books. Reading a book once every three months is not too much to ask of one another and benefits us all. We will also provide a list of places you can post reviews for your fellow authors outside of Amazon and GoodReads. And if you know of someplace you think we should add to the list, we welcome your input.

 

Where does the information for the newsletters come from?

 

From you. And, a little from us. We have a public newsletter that we ask you the share, and a weekly email that will go out just for our authors on Sundays to keep you up to date with everything happening at Indies United, promotional opportunities, and other helpful information.

 

For our public newsletter, if you have anything to share that you believe will be of interest to our readers, please share it. Have a new book coming out and doing a presale? Share it. Going to be on a radio or tv program? Share it. Going to be doing a blog tour? We want to hear from you. Going to be doing a book signing? Tell us when and where. Going to a book trade show or convention? Let our readers know. Share your exciting news with us so we can share it with our readers. We will also introduce new authors joining our community to our readers, information on book fairs or book expos that Indies United will attend, and any other exciting news we think our readers might be interested in.

 

For our author emails, we still want to hear from you. Have a helpful tip you think might be useful to other authors, we'd love to know about it. Find a new place to advertise your book that has had promising results, we want to hear about it. Have you stumbled across an article you think other authors would like to know about, share it with us. We also have a private chat room on the Writers Forum just for our authors to share information with each other. 

 

What kind of promotion will Indies United do for me?

 

Here at Indies United, we will be constantly on the lookout for new and inventive ways of standing out from the crowd and getting our authors noticed. And this is where the biggest chunk of your investment from the ISBN assignment fees comes into play. A large portion of all proceeds from our fees will be going back out as advertising. Starting June 10, 2019, we will be adding a monthly fee of $5, or $55 if you choose to pay yearly, dedicated to advertising your books, per published author.

 

We have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Linkedin, and GoodReads. We also have a catalog with all our books, author bios, and buy links that goes out over a variety of promotional sites. When appropriate we will do targeted press releases whenever something big or exciting happens that we feel is newsworthy. We will use a variety of media to help advertise our company, that will, in turn, bring more attention to our authors. We will be on the prowl for ways to help boost social awareness and if you have any suggestions, we are always open to new ideas.

 

For our YouTube channel, we will be promoting your video book readings and trailers. If you would like to be included, simply send us an email with the video attached and a short blurb. 

 

Does Indies United have a Facebook page?

Yes we do, we have a public page open to anyone who wants to join us

 

On the public page, we ask that you do not post self-promotional material except in the appropriate genre promotion. We have 23 rotating genre options to choose from. Each day, Indies United will have a theme for the day, it might be "authors that inspired me" or "self-help books that changed my life" and we will encourage readers and authors to participate in the discussions. We will also do author spotlights for a variety of reasons and will share articles, blog tours, discount specials from our authors, and other things that might interest our readers. In addition, we will host a weekly blog takeover for our authors to interact with readers.

 

Where else does Indies United have a social media presence? 

In addition to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, we are also on Linkedin and Pinterest. Other social media sites may be added in the future as trends change.

 

How many followers does Indies United have on social media?

We are a new company, and as such, our following is still being built, but collectively we currently have a reach of around half a million followers through our co-operative. We hope, with your help, to build something grand, but even the biggest tree had to start as an acorn, and that is where we are at right now. 

 

If I decide I want to leave Indies United, how do I do that?

 

Indies United is dedicated to helping authors thrive in the best environment suited to them. If, after becoming a member of Indies United you decide to go back to being an Indie author or if you come to the attention of a more traditional publishing house and they offer you a home with them, there is an exit clause in the contract. We have no intention of holding any of our authors back from the highest level of success you can achieve.

 

Simply contact us and let us know you wish you leave, and provide us with a list of all books you have registered with us. Within 5 to 7 business days, we will retire your current ISBN's and your books will be open for a new ISBN assignment. We will send you a confirmation of retirement by email.

 

Please note, when an ISBN is retired your book will no longer be searchable in any database, nor will it be eligible for purchase through any sales channel until a new ISBN is assigned. If you are not joining a new publishing house, you will be required to obtain new ISBN’s on your own if you wish to continue selling your books independently.

 

We will encourage you to carefully look over and consider all aspects of any contract, including ours, that you might sign with us or with any other publishing house. If you are confused or unsure of anything written in the contract, we would suggest you have an attorney look it over, and ask for clarification from the publishing house, before signing.

 

If I leave Indies United will my books and author page remain on your website?

If you decide to leave Indies United, along with retiring your ISBN's we will remove all books, author page, and any links you may have with us from our website and social media posts within 5 to 7 business days.

 

Am I obligated to buy services or packages from Indies United?

 

As a co-op, various services for your books can be purchased from our independent vendors but you are under no obligation to do so. The only required purchase with Indies United is our ISBN processing fees and the $5 monthly advertising fee. Any services you purchase from our vendors will be an individual contract between you and the vendor. Our independent contractors are here for your convenience, but you are not prohibited from using any other outside services for your books.

 

Indies United does not take a percentage of any sales from our vendors, and all contracts and price negotiations are between you and the vendor. All prices will be set by the individual vendor. We only ask that when a book is submitted, it is the very best version possible of that book.

 

If I have a problem with one of your vendors, what do I do?

All contracts with our independent vendors are between you and the vendor and each vendor will have their own process to settle disputes. Before signing any contract for services with them we will encourage you to look over the contract carefully and ask questions about anything you are unsure of before signing.

 

This is my first book, how much should I set aside for therapy?

 

Okay, this is not a serious question, but I'm pretty sure every veteran writer out there is nodding and nudging one another reading it. Because writing is a form of insanity from which there is no cure. It involves long periods of time alone, lost in our own thoughts, weird google searches, stacks of coffee cups and untouched dinners, and sometimes manic activity as we try to write down some inspired piece of writing we created in our head and are now afraid we'll lose before we can get it all down. Writing means being both a part of the world and apart from the world, as we try to put into words the thoughts that other people grasp for. To quote Anais Nin, "The role of the writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." Writing requires us to put our souls onto paper and then having the courage to send it out into the world for all to read, and criticize. It is an act of faith that our words matter more than our ego that might be crushed if the reviews are negative. So, when becoming a writer, a little bit of insanity can go a long way towards a happier ending at the end of your journey.

 

Whether you choose to join our merry band of Indies or not, I wish each of you well on your writer's road. I believe in my heart the role writers play in our society is a sacred one, as we hold a mirror up for all to see their reflection in. We bring joy, tears, terror, and triumph, and allow our readers to live a thousand lives or more within their one lifetime. And in doing so, gain insight into themselves and the world, or give the reader a place to lose themselves in when their own life becomes too much. Never let your voice be stifled, strive for perfection while understanding we are all only human, be the best writer you can be and give the world your words. Happy writing to you all. - Lisa

 

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Indies United Publishing House

P.O. Box 3071

Quincy, IL 62305-3071​

Indies United is an affiliate of Amazon