Each month, Joanna and Orna answer Members’ self-publishing questions during our regular Live Ask ALLi event. If you missed this author Q&A you can watch the video and listen to the podcast here. I’ve also included a summary of the questions that were asked and answered this month.
Orna and Joanna began the Ask ALLi discussion by sharing their current priorities and then moved onto answering members’ questions.
What are Orna and Joanna working on?
Joanna has been working on a fiction short story and launching her “Successful Author Mindset” non fiction ebook, print book and audio. The print book is also available as a Workbook, with space to write your answers to the questions within Joanna's book.
If you're writing a non fiction book of your own, have you considered creating a Workbook version of your print book?
In the News
Although it's early days to know the true impact of the Brexit vote in Britain, this drastic change in the landscape highlights an important philosophy that all indie authors need to follow:
Never rely on one market, or one store, or one income stream.
… or one currency.
In this month's Ask ALLi, find out how the fall in the British Pound exchange rate will have an immediate impact on indie author royalty payments. It's good for UK based authors earning royalties in foreign currencies that are being converted into British Pounds, but not so good for International authors who are having their British Pound royalties converted to their local currency.
June's Ask ALLi
Watch the You Tube video to find out the answers to the self-publishing questions that were raised at this month’s Ask ALLi Author Q&A, or listen to the podcast here:
Watch the Ask ALLi Video
Listen the Ask ALLi Podcast
Ask ALLi Self-Publishing Questions
Here’s a summary of the questions and a brief synopsis of the answers in this month’s Ask ALLi with Orna and Joanna (for more in-depth answers – you should watch the video or listen to the podcast):
Q: How did you find your beta readers and how many do you have?
Genre is the key consideration when creating a beta reading group and although Orna and Joanna have a different approach to beta readers, they agree that you shouldn't give your book to somebody who doesn't read in your genre. Find out more about their different approaches, but above all, engage a beta reader you trust and open yourself up to hearing the feedback.
Q: What should I instruct an editor or line editor to look out for in my manuscript?
A good editor doesn’t need instructions, as their role is to make recommendations about how to improve your manuscript.
Q: Past, Present or Future – which tense is most appropriate?
Our duo agree, it's really hard to write in present tense. Fledgling authors should start off with the simpler approach of writing in the past tense. But if you're adamant your book needs mixed tenses, make sure you have sound justification for it. Most importantly, make sure your mixed tenses don't confuse the reader. (Cue … need for an editor…)
Q: Is it ok to self-publish before you go to school?
You don't need to go to a specialist school to self publish your book, neither. The key for any author is to write as much as you can, and there are some great communities on the web for young writers:
Q: I'm designing my own book covers. If I download photos from the internet, am I breaking copyright?
You should only use images that are copyright free. Just because an image is Creative Commons, doesn't mean that it can be used for commercial purposes (like on your cover), so your best option is to search for ROYALTY FREE images.
Q: Is there funding to help an independent publishers?
There are grants and funds available for publishers and they're usually awarded based on artistic and cultural merit, but could entail a myriad of hoops to jump through. The best approach of funding your book is selling it – rather than upfront funding.
Q: Are Bookbub Ads and Goodreads Deals worth the effort?
When both of these paid advertising options are available, you can get a first mover's advantage by trying them out. Start off with a small investment to test the waters and expand from there.
Paid advertising works better for box sets, than single books. Give readers what they want … more than one book.
Q: Are review bloggers and guest blogging still a powerful marketing strategy?
Blog Tours are a lot of work and you need to conduct a in-depth research to make sure you're finding bloggers with a large enough (and relevant) audience to make it worth the level of effort. Assess whether you should go down this route, or spend the time writing a novella or short story as a giveaway, which could garner more attention.
Be careful with your time and think strategically.
Good review sites work for promoting your fiction if you find the right target blogs for your niche.
It's a lot easier to find guest blogs to help you showcase your Non Fiction book, and researching key bloggers who host a regular podcast on your topic/niche is a great strategy.
What's in the works?
Orna is working on ALLi publications to maximise the massive body of content that is contained on this self-publishing advice blog. A new Publications Editor has been engaged, and they will be managing the Self-Publishing Quarterly, the Indie Author Fringe Magazine, and Partner Directory.
Joanna has a book launch and is using paid advertising and email marketing. She also incorporated Facebook Live Videos into her marketing strategy.
Live videos are real-time video posts on Facebook. Live videos from public figures you follow and your friends will appear in your News Feed. (They're only available on Facebook Pages)
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.
Our next Ask ALLi is on Tuesday JULY 26TH 2016
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
Interested in Joining ALLi? Besides being able to submit questions to this monthly Q&A, there are lots of other benefits of being an ALLi Member. Click this banner to find out more.
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 @
Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”.
She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing.
Connect with Orna on Twitter @