Anyone familiar with the science publications will understand what I mean by peer review; the combined process of editing, reviewing and managing content.
What relevance does this have to indie publishing? If you do not have a publishing company working for you then it is up to you to edit and format your work for publication. We often require a second, third, … pair of eyes to check our work for small spelling mistakes, formatting errors, or grammatical slip-ups. Short of hiring an editor to do this, it is often easiser and more efficient to share the workload. In fact, this is ultimately the process used by Wikipedia; a familiar resource for most internet users.
For example you write a book and decide to self-publish, but do not have a qualified editor on hand. What do you do?
Say another writer is in the same predicament. Do you exchange books and agree to proofread/edit each others? Or do you choose to publish without this step, potentially damaging your author platform?
Let me stress, this is not a new idea; several writing groups already exchange work and I’m sure there’ll be other indie authors out there exchanging ideas.
Of course the disadvantage of peer review is that it relies on mutual trust and honesty. If you do not know ‘said writer’ personally they could choose to plagarise your work, or only put in minimal effort at editing it. There is also the question of recruiting peers and the potentially long timescales involved. It is an evolving process. Once you know someone is a trustworthy ‘peer’ you will be more likely to collaborate with them, but where do you start?
If you’re interested I’ve given a compact flowchart of the peer review process below. It’s not complete, so for those interested in more detail click here. There’s also a great leaflet about the process available from sense about science.
Some remaining questions:
Would you as an author be interested in a similar process?
Or, if you’re a reader, would this make you more likely to invest in an unknown author?