The Story of IndiePicks Magazine
I am a Bookaholic. I’ll admit that openly and proudly. I love EVERYTHING about books.
Part of my obsession with books is reading review magazines. Like a child with the old Sears catalogs at Christmas time, I was at my library the first of the month waiting for the book review magazine to be placed in the holder. As soon as it arrived, I would snatch up a copy and return home. Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it home before opening the issue and going to my favorite columns to see what books had been reviewed. I read with pen in hand, ready to circle the books that would be added to my ever-growing to be read list on Goodreads. Then one day it struck me that the magazine only focused on Big 5 Publishing Houses.
Thanks to my Goodreads addiction, my reading habits had expanded. In searching out quality books, I had been introduced to many awesome authors who had taken a different publishing route. Rather than go with one of the Big 5 houses, these authors took the Indie publishing route, with small or medium sized specialized publishing houses or Amazon imprints. Surprisingly I found that these authors, whom I now lovingly refer to as “Outside the Big 5”, did not have access to the type of review magazines used to introduce the Big 5 published books. This seemed a glaring oversight in my mind.
Being the dedicated bibliophile I am, I am also a fan of my library. I couldn’t afford to read as much as I do if wasn’t. I often tried to seek out some of my favorite “outside” authors and was always told that the libraries didn’t carry them. I researched why and although the reasons made sense, I knew there had to be a solution; one that was a win for the authors, addressed librarians’ concerns, and met industry requirements.
As I plunged deeper into studying the availability of books, other areas popped up and I saw the same issues related to both music and film. There were a number of great recording artists and movie producers who chose not to go with a traditional studio, but didn’t scrimp on quality.
I wanted to do something that would serve both industries. To achieve this librarians had to be the ones to review the works. I knew that for a review to have credibility, it had to have the librarian seal of approval. Our editor, Rebecca Vnuk, comes to IndiePicks Magazine with over a decade of library experience, including the American Library Association’s Booklist. If our librarians wouldn’t feel comfortable purchasing the work for their own catalog, we won’t recommend it for your reading list.
As I got to know the independent authors and artists, I found they were just as passionate about their craft as those Big 5 authors and major studios. These people became my friends and I knew in my heart, if I could do ANYTHING to help them I would.
I understood library policy and knew librarians wanted to work with authors outside the Big 5. I heard the call from the ALA to open their libraries to these works, but the lack of a recognized review source was still at the forefront of the problem. In searching out a solution my mind went back to my favorite little review magazine and the concept of IndiePicks was born.
From all of us at Patomi Media Group, we hope you enjoy IndiePicks Magazine.
Naomi E. Blackburn
Publisher, IndiePicks Magazine
Patomi Media Group