But before we dive into a summary of the Q&A segment, here’s a review of the self-publishing and indie author projects that have been absorbing their time.
Orna launched “How Authors Sell Publishing Rights” (which was co-authored with Helen Sedwick) at the San Francisco Writers Conference.
This new How-to for Authors ALLi guidebook looks at taking a rights-perspective on your author career, and covers translation, TV and Film rights. It's free for Member's to download via the Member's Zone and non-members can purchase a copy on e-retailer sites.
Rights are the final piece of the self-publishing jigsaw, but if you’re just starting out on your own indie-author journey you don't need to get side-tracked by Author Rights just just. It's a subject you may not broach until your a couple of years into your indie journey, but it is something you should have at the back of your mind from the beginning.
Joanna is in the editing phase of her Destroyer of Worlds book, #8 in her Arkane series, and is in the final stages of a colouring book project. She has partnered with her father, who is a fine artist, to create a visually beautiful (I've had a sneak peak!) adult colouring book.
Orna and Joanna also discussed how, as creatives, things are constantly changing and evolving all the time. Orna talks about her creative space and Joanna talks about her creative process.
They also gave a shout out to a recent article in Wired, about women in the North of Nigeria who are self-publishing littattafan soyayya (“books of love”), also known as Kano market literature.
February Ask ALLi Q&A Video via YouTube
Here’s the YouTube and Podcast recording that goes into more detail of the above activities and features the Self-Publishing Q&A with Orna and Joanna.
See below for a summary of the questions posed in this month’s Ask ALLi.
February Ask ALLi Q&A Podcast via SoundCloud
Ask ALLi Self-Publishing Questions
Q: I write Fantasy. How can I show my character's mind-speak (i.e. what they're thinking)?
The way writer's used to handle this approach and the way they do it now has moved on. Orna and Joanna provide a solid approach for improving the reading experience, and some tips on how you can leverage the accepted norms.
Here's a couple of tips they mention:
- The key is to make is clear that you've moved into the character's thoughts and make it clear who's doing the thinking.
- Google POV+Writing+Tips
- Check how other authors in your genre handle writing thoughts
Q. I've released my first non-fiction e-book, and I'm struggling with reads let alone sales, and I'd really like to get some book reviews.
A common topic on each of our Ask ALLi events is the Permafree pricing strategy, and it raised it's head again today. Earlier this month we published a related post on our Author Advice Centre:
Orna and Joanna also talked about the challenges associated with getting reviews and offered some solutions, and warned what services to avoid and which would be alright to pursue depending on your genre.
Q: “My Publisher” wants 8 books for 10 years. Do I have to accept these terms, or can I have it reduced?
How Authors Sell Publishing Rights” has sample contracts, and covers conditions and clauses to look out for. It also provides negotiation tips. Rights decisions like this depend on what authors are getting in return. Before you negotiate any of your rights, you need to be clear on what the Publisher is bringing to the table that you wouldn't be able to do for yourself.
Q: I'm a YA Writer. How should I market and promote for this segment?
Here's a couple of useful book marketing tips covered in this Ask ALLi:
- Target the social media and platforms that your target market is using (e.g. popular YA Author John Green has success with You Tube.)
- Research the Top 10 YA Authors (preferably indie-authors as they're doing their own marketing) and see what approaches and techniques they're using that would work for you
Q: Is it a problem that I have a separate ISBN for my e-book and POD, and my reviews and sales rank from my e-book won't transfer over to my POD listing on Amazon.
It wouldn't be an Ask ALLi event if we didn't get an ISBN question! Our video covers the differences in marketing digital vs. print, and why you don't need to worry about the rankings not transferring over.
Q: On book covers when you see “perfect for fans of <author>” .. do you need permission from the author to use their name?
Hear what Orna and Joanna have to say from a legal and personal perspective on the use of another author's name on a book cover, they also highlight an useful Amazon Description marketing approach used by Nick Stephenson that could help your book get into specific searches.
Q: What is the best way to promote books to an Indian market?
Couple Amazon's growth is in India with the cheapest smart phone ever, being released in India, and you will see the rise of more content-consumption on mobile phones instead of e-readers in this market. Find out what other industry trends and insights mean for indie authors thinking about breaking into emerging markets.
Q: I have questions about my fixed-pub layout kids book, and wonder how you control duplicate copies.
Fixed pub layout technology is a complex subject to broach is our Author Q&A session, but Andy Bromley one of our ALLi advisers (from Ingram UK) is happy to help ALLi members with this topic.
Watch the video to hear Orna and Joanna's thoughts about Digital Rights Management, and what you should and shouldn't worry about with regards to piracy.
This is just a taster of the discussions in this month’s Ask ALLi, please watch the video or listen to the podcast for all the good bits I’ve edited out.
Monthly Ask ALLi
Our monthly Member Q&A is part of our “Ask ALLi” Campaign: in which ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) commits to answering any question about self-publishing.
Where can I watch or listen to more Ask ALLi?
- You can catch up on all of our videos on ALLi’s YouTube Channel
- You can listen to all of our podcast recordings at ALLi’s SoundCloud Channel
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Meet the Ask ALLi Hosts
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author, as well as writing non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013.
She spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporations across the globe before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011.
Connect with Joanna on Twitter @
She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing.
Connect with Orna on Twitter @