What A Curator Reviews

If you’re an author or publisher and want to understand this system, here’s a quick look at what a curator does during a review of a new release.

  1. Review of book cover (rate graphic design/cover photography/art/illustration)—value: 0-1 stars
  2. Review Book Marketing (read synopsis, gauge interest)—value: 0-1 stars
  3. Review of interior (text formatting/typos/design)—value: 0-1 stars
  4. Read random minimum 20-page excerpt from book (in-depth look into prose/dialogue/character check)—value: 0-2 stars

Based on those 4 checkpoints, an overall recommendation (thumbs-up) or no-recommendation (thumbs-down) status is submitted by each curator, based on a cumulative 5-star system (3-stars minimum for recommendation).

In order for a title to be recommended, the majority of curators must submit thumbs-up recommendations.

Essentially curators are doing a quick checks and balances review, making sure the book has quality writing and presentation. Curator ratings do not represent the overall story (from start to finish), so readers should also take into consideration our reviewer ratings below (if available).

Reviewer Information & Rating System

All IndieMuse reviewers submit a full write-up on their assigned books (unless they deem the book DNF—Did Not Finish—after which the book becomes voted down (not recommended). Submissions are made along the following general rating system:

1-star—Didn’t like it. (Definitely not recommendable.)

2-stars—It was OK. (Not quite recommendable.)

3-stars—Liked it. (Generally Recommended, but not Certifiable.)

4 stars—Really liked it. (Definitely recommendable; certified.)

5 stars—It was amazing. (Highest recommendation; certified.)

If a reviewer deviates from this general rating system, we will note it in his or her biography which accompanies the review.

Reviewers will review on half-star increments, with 3.5-stars being the minimum for certified recommendation to go along with the curation staff. So a 3.0-star review or below would not be a certified recommended read.

Certified Recommended Reads Status

Starting in 2021, IndieMuse curators review new book releases in their respective genres and vote on recommendations for the top quality independent releases each year.

Books that receive this merit will receive the following badge issued:

In order to get a certified recommended read, an author must:

  1. Officially submit a profile to IndieMuse (authors can submit their profiles for free)
  2. Submit an advanced review copy of their new release to us, per guidelines
  3. Receive a minimum score of 4 (out of 5) stars as rated by the majority of genre curators.
  4. Receive a 3.5-star review or higher on their new release.

Less than 10% of annual releases that are reviewed get this badge.

Only certified recommended reads will be in the running for top genre charts and end-of-year best books lists.