About Us: “Indie” Ground Rules

At Underground Book Reviews we support “indie” authors!

… but what does that even mean?

“Indie” is a pretty vague term. We know, because we’ve been struggling with it for quite a while, and like the definition of “ship” vs. “boat” or “grove” vs. “forest” there are no standardized numbers that can be attached to the definition. Sure, You can read as many articles as you’d like on the matter, but when trying to decide if you are swimming in a small lake or a large pond, it will inevitably come down to a matter of opinion. In an effort to keep everyone on the same page, we’ve created our own system to distinguish the big indie houses from the little guys. We’re here to support the underdogs… and let’s face it, some so-called “indie” houses don’t need our help. So how do we decide what’s “indie” enough for Underground Book Reviews? We focus on the size and type of your publishing company.

“Indie” Ground Rules for Publishers



Below Ground is the term we use for publishing companies that we think are “indie” enough. Books by Below Ground publishers are eligible for review. We break these publishers up into the following categories:

Small publishing houses, single-author houses and author collectives are always in need of a boost. We will review books published through these more traditional “indie” venues.

Publishing houses that offer a range of publishing contracts – from vanity (the author pays for services) to traditional (author does not pay, gets royalties). These houses fall into a category of their own because they can be extremely large, but their books still have a hard time infiltrating the market. We are happy to review these books.

Vanity publishing companies can be huge – like Amazon – but their books are still fighting for the limelight. We’re always excited to review self-published books.


(books by Above Ground publishers are not eligible for review)

There are many so-called “indie” publishing houses which are unaffiliated with the Big 5, but have experienced major success. We will happily list these publishers and their books, but we won’t review them, because we don’t think they need our help. Below are some (very flexible) guidelines we use when deciding what’s Above Ground:
– Publishes more than 1,000 books per year
– Has many imprints or is an imprint of a large “indie” publisher
– Its books can be found in book stores or on the New York Times Best Seller list

Our Decisions are Final

Yes, it’s a highly subjective system, and plenty of publishing companies toe the line. If we decide your publishing company is Above Ground, take it as a compliment and tell all your friends. Don’t try to argue the fine points; we make them up anyway.