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Alliance of Independent Authors FAQ

Am I Eligible to Join ALLi?

We have four grades of member, from Associate to Professional. Full details are available on the JOINING PAGE.

What Is An Independent Author?

At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs help to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.
So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:
  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You recognise that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. But you are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • You expect this equal partnership model to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • You recognise that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
  • You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.

Who Is Involved in The Alliance?

Our organisation was founded by author and former literary agent, Orna Ross, as a nonprofit endeavour, in response to her personal experience of self-publishing. We have an Advisory Board of world-class authors and educators, bloggers and service providers, all of whom hold the self-publishing choice in high esteem and all with exceptional knowledge and skills.  Their contribution is supplemented by our Literary Community Builders — writers creating vibrant self-publishing literary communities in their local areas or online.

What Is A Partner Member? How Do They Work With Author Members?

ALLi wants to commend good services to writers while alerting them to rogue providers and those who overcharge for services. Providers of services to self-publishing writers (including manuscript assessment, editorial, design and formatting, distribution, bookselling, marketing) are invited to join ALLi as partner members, if they agree to our Code of Standards and to being vetted by our Watchdog/Commendation services.

Once accepted as a Partner Member, service providers are introduced to Author Members in a variety of ways — through our ‘Find A Service’ database in the member area; through our online google group, through features in our blog and news updates and our member deals and discount page.

How Is My Membership Fee Used?

Once running expenses are covered, every penny goes back into the organisation for the benefit of our members.

Why Are More Writers Choosing Self-Publishing?

Self-publication served only a tiny number of writers before digital technology enabled print-on-demand and the direct distribution of ebooks. This technology has revolutionised authorship. It simultaneously does four things that are very good for writers. 1) It gives us a global readership, instead of confining us to specific territories. 2) Our books are continually available — there is no such thing as ‘out-of-print’ any more. 3) It takes away the necessity for ‘middlemen’ like agents, publishers and distributors (though we still may choose to work with such partners). And 4) it gives our readers a point-of-purchase just at the moment they discover they want our book.

As the creative possibilities of this revolution make themselves felt, the self-publishing option is attracting more and more writers.

But I Love Print Books.

So do we. We’re all writers and readers, we all love books in every format. Most self-publishing authors choose to produce print editions, which thanks to print-on-demand (POD) technology, is now a cost-effective option. Others work with publishing houses (paid or trade) for their print editions.

If I Self-Publish, Trade Publishers Won’t Be Interested In Me

On the contrary, and despite those who like to create a phoney war between self- and trade- publishing, many of our members happily move between the two, for different projects and for different phases of their writing lives. The stigma that once surrounded self-publishing has been displaced as more and more indies experience commercial and creative success, with relative ease.  Agents and publishers now trawl self-publishing sites looking for writers with proven talent and fanbases.

But What About Standards? Aren’t Self-Published Books of Low Quality?

Many are and many are not. More and more independent authors are producing books that are indistinguishable in quality from those produced by trade publishing houses. Indeed, in many cases, we hire the same freelance editors and designers.

It is one of the key objectives of the Alliance to encourage excellence and success, through example, advice and information. While recognising that ‘quality’ is a relative term, meaning different things to different people, we have a Code of Standards. We encourage our members to aim high and commit to continuous creative development in writing, formatting and promotion.

I Can’t Afford To Hire An Editor.

You can’t afford not to. Editing is an essential for all writers, at every stage of development.

Is The Alliance Against Trade Publishing?

On the contrary. We are to the forefront of seeking mutually beneficial arrangements with publishers and agents, where risks and rewards are shared in a more equitable way than the traditional 10% or less royalty arrangement for writers.  We are also facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships with bookstores and libraries, book clubs and festivals, reading agencies and other literary players — while also supporting those members who wish to remain as independent as possible.

I Self-Published And Now Have An Offer From An Agent/Publisher. Can You help?

Yes. We can look at your contracts and agreements and offer you independent advice.

Is There A Discount For Groups?

If you would like a group membership (for more than 5 members), please contact the Alliance directly to discuss.

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