Each month Joanna and Orna answer Member’s self-publishing questions. Before herehey kick off the Q&A segment, both hosts shared their recent exploits.
Orna's feet haven't touched the ground. She recently attended NINC in Florida (Novelists, Inc. is the only writers organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published novelists) and then shot off to the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Look out for a blog post from Orna giving an overview of the self-publishing insights that came out of these events, but one overarching theme at both was the shift in the indie world towards publishing as a global endeavor.
This theme is mirrored in our #GoingGlobal ALLi campaign, and is also the backbone of the free online Indie Author Fringe events we're planning for next year, which are scheduled during London Book Fair, BEA and Frankfurt Book Fair.
Carrying on the global theme, Joanna has just published Profanación in Spanish, part of her fast-paced Arkane thriller series.
Once again, the topic of ISBNs reared it's pretty little head again, as Orna and Joanna discussed the impact that ISBNs are having on the Author Earnings Report and the scaremongering trigged in the mainstream press about the decline of ebook sales.
But don't worry … the sky isn't falling, and there's still no better time to be an indie author – than right now!
You can hear more about these indie author topics and the answers to your self-publishing questions in the YouTube and Soundcloud recordings of our live Ask ALLi event.
(A summary of the questions are listed further down the page)
October Ask ALLi Q&A Video via YouTube
October Ask ALLi Q&A Podcast via SoundCloud
Ask ALLi Question Summary
Q: I'm writing my first book and I'm overwhelmed by all the other self-publishing and indie author tasks I should be doing like blogging and marketing. What should I focus on?
The sooner you can build your audience and start reaching readers the better, but the priority is to avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed so your focus should be on writing your book.
Joanna and Orna suggested some alternatives for a middle ground. Being an indie author doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach, and they made some useful recommendations about how authors can prioritize their list of activities and create new writing habits.
This segment of Ask ALLi is excellent for any new author who is also feeling overwhelmed about where they should be spending their time.
Q: I've never written a book before, and wanted to know if I needed to hire a lawyer to look over the self-publishing contracts from IngramSpark and CreateSpace?
The good news is that ALLi Advisor Helen Sedwick has already done the legwork on this topic. She's an indie author and a practicing Lawyer who has already dissected these contracts for us. Helen is also the author of the “Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook”
Orna discusses the options if you decide not to sign the contracts, but because competition in this space is limited … so are your options.
Q: What are the pros and cons of using ACX?
Both Orna and Joanna use ACX, and recommend the service. Again it boils down to not a lot of other options in the market-place, but ACX is highly recommend, not least because of the way they manage the back-end business process and their distribution through Audible.
It would be good to see more competition in the audio landscape, and our Ask ALLi team discussed the possibilities and impact of Apple's iTunes or GooglePlay joining the party.
If you're considering whether you want to make the investment to turn your ebook into an audio book, you only need to consider the advent of systems like CarPlay, and the convenience of whisper sync (which allows readers to switch seamlessly between reading and listening).
Q: What are the pitfalls of creating a 2nd Edition version of a currently published novel?
The concept of versioning is a bleed-over from traditional publishing, and Orna and Joanna discussed the strategy behind versioning and how they've handled switching to different versions on their books.
The beauty of POD and self-publishing is that you can control what gets published and how often your content is updated.
Q: I’ve marketed my book in the UK and the US in the same way, but have had minimal sales success in the US. Is this market a harder nut to crack?
It was fitting that our last Ask ALLi question was focused on the difference in global markets. Listen to the video to see what advice Orna and Joanna give about the elements that can impact your success in a different market, and also how to target a specific market
It all boils down to a topic that's a recurring theme for fiction writers; if you only have one book to sell it's harder to market.
One is just the beginning of the journey!
This is just a taster of the topics and discussions in this month's Ask ALLi. The complete event is available via YouTube and SoundClound.
In the Works
Orna is working on ALLi's “Choosing a Self-Publishing Service” which will be available shortly, and she is partnering with Helen Sedwick to create “How Authors Sell Publishing Rights”.
If you're looking for some creative inspiration this month, Orna and Joanna recommend “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Our next Ask ALLi is on November 24th 2015 and will be the last one for the year.
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
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 London-based 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 @