When The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) was founded in 2012, the idea was to create an association that not only provided education, support and promotion for self-published authors — but also to campaign on their behalf. The Open Up to Indie Authors campaign is our latest author advocacy programme, aimed at book fairs and conferences, award bodies and libraries, festival and event organisers, retailers and reviewers, and anyone who acts as a bridge between writer and reader.
And at self-publishing writers too.
Such author-publishers have now proven their commercial and creative worth. Many ALLi members have sold more than 100,000 copies, and some have sold millions. They are also publishing books of niche reader interest and outstanding literary quality too.
Agents and publishers are waiting in the wings to jump on the latest self-published hit but if we look to the wider world of books, we see self-publishing writers largely excluded on dubious grounds.
Which is where our Open Up to Indie Authors campaign comes in. Our aim is to challenge and debunk some of the popular myths that may stop players like libraries, reviewers, bookstores, festivals and prizes from embracing self-published work. And to provide ways they can incorporate self-publishing into their shelves and schedules.
Take the often mooted “problem” of discoverability, the idea that the number of books published has grown to such slush-pile proportions that it’s hard to discover good books among bad. Unpicking this argument takes but a simple change of mindset: from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking; from commercial imperatives to creative.
In an abundance model, excess and redundancy are no cause for concern. It is true self-publishing is enabling more poor-quality books to be published than ever before but what’s important in an abundance model is not how many bad books are enabled — they quickly fall out of visibility — but how many good books are enabled.
The fears surrounding discovery often come from those who are invested in an older order, who don’t seem to understand how it now works for readers, who are increasingly buying and researching books online. Online algorithms are very effective — and getting better. Book search through categories and keywords offer tailored discovery that is far more nuanced than browsing a bookstore.
Readers can access book descriptions, independent reader reviews, and samples before they decide to buy. In short, good books are actually easier to find than they have ever been.
And when viewed through a creative, rather than critical or commercial lens, we see a publishing world that is colourful and chaotic and kaleidoscopic and all the richer for it. The challenge here is not so much discoverability, it’s actually enabling the publishing industry to acknowledge and reflect that truth.
The Open Up to Indie Authors campaign includes a petition, a hashtag (#PublishingOpenUp), lobbying of the industry, education seminars and a guidebook,
The guidebook Opening Up to Indie Authors by Debbie Young, ALLi’s blog editor, and Dan Holloway, an ALLi community builder, aims to do three things:
- equip self-published authors with the information and attitude they need to collaborate successfully with other players in the books and literary ecosystem.
- tackle the challenges of incorporating self-published books into literary organisations and events.
- raise awareness of the high quality and professional standards offered by the best self-publishing authors — and encourage their inclusion.
The guidebook is the first of its kind and the launch marks another publishing first for The Alliance of Independent Authors. In association with Kobo Writing Life, the self-publishing wing of Kobo Books, and harnessing their links with retail partner bookstores all over the world, we are simultaneously launching this guide in bookstores around Europe, the US and Canada as well as across the UK and Ireland.
To be able to work with Kobo Writing Life (KWL) is a publishing pleasure, and has allowed ALLi to launch our campaign on an unprecedented scale.
We greatly admire the close links Kobo has fostered with their global retail network and directly with people like you; and their ability to transcend the borders of online and off. We see in Kobo a huge success story of how the industry does not need to be divided and how we all benefit when seemingly disparate strands are brought together.
Come to our launch: If you are attending London book fair we’d like to invite you to the launch at the Kobo Booth, Earl’s Court 2 on Tuesday 8th April, 2.00pm, where you can purchase copies of our guidebook, Opening Up To Indie Authors, with 50% off.
Find us at Author HQ (at London Book Fair), on Tuesday 8th April, from 1:00 –2:00 pm, where Diego Marano, Kobo Writing Life Manager, UK, will lead a conversation with Orna Ross, Founder & Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and author Ben Galley entitled “Breaking through. What independent authors know about reaching readers.”
- Join ALLi: If you are a self-published author, we’d like to invite you to join ALLi so you can avail of this opportunity.
- Read An Indie Author: If you are a reader, we look forward to bringing you an exciting range of books in all genres through this campaign.
- Sign Our Petition: Finally, if you agree that all other things being equal, a self-published book should be treated equally, we’d like to invite you to sign our petition: .