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?
Orna is reviewing the ALLi publications, and managing upgrades to this self-publishing advice website with a goal of making the content more easily accessible. She's also putting together a multimedia magazine summarising the Indie Author Fringe events and activities from London Book Fair and BookExpo America, and is also working on her Go Creative project, and you can check out the progress on OrnaRoss.com.
Joanna is working on her “Author Mindset” Book, and later in the webcast she mused that maybe she was being to harsh in some of the chapters. (Sounds like a tell-it-like it is book is in the works).
As a side note, Joanna has seen falling income from audio books. Her audio sales have dropped from 7% to 2% of her income.
Subscription models are eating into audio book royalties.
Both Orna and Joanna have an exciting summer of writing ahead of them, and are in agreement on the challenges of writing non-fiction.
In the News – in brief
- Waterstones England are getting out of ebooks, and giving ebook customers to Kobo, and this is a better outcome than when Nook left the UK and gave its customers to Sainsburys.
- The Bookseller came out this week, and it's the first time that we’ve seen Trade Publishing worried about the self-publishing phenomenon.
- A massive number of small publishers are entering the arena, and there's fragmentation at all levels. We're also seeing lots of indies collaborating on activities together.
Indie Authors are not the outsiders anymore
- Pronoun, a distribution service, has been bought out by MacMillan.
Pronoun’s platform will continue to be offered for free to individual authors and that the service will also continue to “pay royalties on Pronoun’s existing payment schedule.”
May'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 in this month’s Ask ALLi with Orna and Joanna:
Q: In a previous Ask ALLi Joanna mentioned that she was moving from direct with Nook, to Draft2Digital distribution, I thought the advice was that it was best to go direct?
Joanna goes direct with Amazon, iBooks and Kobo, and Draft2Digital for all of the other channels. Find out why Joanna decided to switch to Draft2Digital and abandon her direct relationship with Nook.
Joanna has also gone back to selling direct from her website, but you can't buy her books if you're in the EU … find out why, and how she's doing this direct selling, and also about her bundle strategy.
Q: When a book is finally finished… what is the right order for all of the follow up activities to get it to market?
Joanna and Orna discuss which order beta readers, structural edits, line edits, proof reading and formatting should occur. And provide advice about the importance of planning ahead to secure good editors and cover designers.
Q: Do you need to send hard copies to the British Library?
Although it's a legal requirement in the UK to send 6 copies of your book, some authors don't feel compelled to comply.
As self-publishers we are the publisher, and it's our role to do it ourselves or hire the services required to get our book to market.
Check out the ALLi How to Choose a Self-Publishing Service guide, which provides the criteria you need to consider before engaging others to complete self-publishing tasks on your behalf.
Q: What is the current best practice on formatting?
For ebooks you can quite easily do it yourself using Scrivener for basic formatting. For print books there are multiple options, and Jutoh, Calibre, InDesign and HTML formatting were mentioned.
Of course, if formatting fills your head with dread, it's easy to outsource these tasks to a formatting service.
There are numerous Authors Publishing Authors services on the self-publishing landscape now, and even if you don't want to do the tasks yourself, Orna and Joanna recommend that you educate yourself about the process before outsourcing, so that you know what you need and want.
To be a successful indie you have to be curious enough to find out about all aspects of the self-publishing process … the best way to learn is write a book about it!
Q: What's your input on Amazon Affiliate accounts?
Affiliate income is a normal part of internet business, and there's nothing wrong with being an affiliate as long as you use it in an ethical manner.
Marketing and Promotion are really broad topics, and something all indie authors need to familiarise themselves with and master in order to reach readers.
Joanna penned “How to Market a Book”, and there's a whole host of articles on this blog about the topic of book marketing
Here's some quick tips handed out in our Ask ALLi author Q&A:
- When selling ebooks, concentrate on internet marketing.
- Make sure you set up your sales funnels.
- Don't forget to leverage the marketing built into the book itself (cover, description and layout), and make the most of your title and keywords
- Podcasts and Guest Posts are still one of the most useful ways of spreading the word about a non-fiction book.
My biggest non-fiction sellers are the ones with a SEO search term in the title, which works for Amazon because of it's search-engine framework.
Here's the other indie author questions posed to Orna and Joanna this month:
Q: How would you define the difference between a non-fiction writers and a journalist?
Q: My illustrator is having problems uploading my book to Amazon, who can I contact for uploading to Amazon?
Q: I'm on my first book. My first publishers when out of business and I accepted their replacement publisher. How do I take my published book to a new printer and create an ebook?
Q: As a new authors about to engage an editor and proofreader, I have concerns about sending copies to people I haven't met. Can I protect against this piracy and copyright infringement?
Q: I'm considering engaging a book publicist, what advice do you have?
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 28th June
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 @