The indie author community is renowned for being welcoming, helpful, and supportive. What better time than the end of one year and the start of a new for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) team to consider ways to give back to the indie author community in 2023.
Being an independent, “indie” author is, like anything else that offers big creative and commercial rewards, a challenging endeavor. As self-publishers, we are responsible for everything from writing and editing to marketing and distribution. What keeps this from being an isolating experience is the support of other self-publishing authors.
Even if you've only just entered the indie sphere, it won't have missed your attention that the community is extremely helpful and supportive. It is a trait of our community to to repay the kindness received as a new author by passing it on.
When indie authors work together and help each other out, it create a more positive and nurturing environment and can also help to raise the profile and credibility of self-publishing as a whole. By demonstrating that indie authors are professional, supportive, and committed to their writing and publishing craft, we combat outdated stereotypes and stigma about self-publishing and show it to be a viable and respected option for all authors.
Giving Back to the Indie Author Community: Free Groups and Resources
Established authors set up social media groups to give back, answer the questions of newer authors to share knowledge and lessons learned. e.g. Craig Martelle (20 Books to 50K), Erin Wright Wide for the Win, and Rebecca Hefner (Marketing Audiobooks Wide).
And then there's the wealth of free information on podcasts from ALLi advisors and others.
- Joanna Penn's Creative Penn Podcast
- Sacha Black's Rebel Author
- Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing Formula
- Sell More Books Show
- Wish I'd Known Then
- How Do You Write?
Free conferences and summits
Giving Back to the Indie Author Community: Co-optition
Giving back to the indie author community can feel personally rewarding, giving a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction but it also has a healthy element of self-interest.
The term co-opetition was coined by Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff in their 1996 book “Co-Opetition,” in which they describe co-opetition as a strategic approach that allows businesses to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes while also competing against each other. According to Brandenburger and Nalebuff, co-opetition can involve a wide range of activities, including sharing resources, collaborating on research and development, and jointly marketing products or services.
Co-opetition can be a useful approach for indie authors because it allows us to collaborate and work together while also competing against each other in the marketplace. Here are a few potential benefits of co-opetition for indie authors:
- Sharing resources and knowledge: By collaborating with other indie authors, writers can share resources and knowledge that can help them to improve their craft and succeed in the publishing industry. For example, writers could collaborate on research for a book, share tips and tricks for self-publishing, or offer each other feedback and support.
- Collaborating on marketing and promotion: Indie authors often face challenges when it comes to marketing and promoting their work, as they may not have the same resources as traditional publishers. By collaborating with other writers, indie authors can pool their resources and reach a larger audience through joint promotions and marketing campaigns.
- Leveraging the strengths of other writers: Co-opetition can also allow indie authors to leverage the strengths and expertise of other writers. For example, writers with complementary skills or areas of expertise could collaborate on a book or other project, combining their talents to create something more powerful and impactful than they could have achieved alone.
Overall, co-opetition can be a valuable approach for indie authors to share resources, reach a larger audience, and leverage the strengths of other writers to improve their craft and succeed in the marketplace.
How ALLi Gives Back: The Self-Publishing Advice Center
The Alliance of Independent Authors prides itself on giving back to the community that fostered its creation through the Self-Publishing Advice Center that hosts this Self-Publishing Advice Blog. This outreach service to the wider community provides a wealth of educational information on all seven publishing processes for authors at all levels of publishing, as well as the latest self-publishing news and interviews with inspiring indie authors.
In addition, ALLi is associated with the Self-Publishing Advice Conference (SelfPubCon), an annual online conference exclusively for indie authors, featuring the cream of the crop of self-publishing experts and advisors as speakers and sponsors, that is made available freely to all for three days free each year and free for six months to ALLi members. Find out more here.
How ALLi Gives Back: Self-Publishing Guidebooks
ALLi also publishes a range of in-depth guide books to help you through every stage of the publishing process and we often extract some content to share freely on our blog too. ALLi members receive digital copies for free.
How ALLi Gives Back: ALLi Campaigns
The Alliance of Independent Authors is a professional business membership organisation that advises, campaigns for, and empowers self-publishing authors. A non-profit, our mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing and we provide authors with trusted advice, supportive guidance, and a range of resources, within a welcoming community.
We have spent the past decade advocating and campaigning for for authors in the publishing, self-publishing and creative industries.
Our mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing and our watchdog desk, vetted Services Directory and service ratings lists exist to make sure authors don't get scammed by vanity presses and others.
Open Up to Indie Authors
We work continuously with other organizations around the globe to open up awards, grants, bookstores, libraries, festivals, events and other opportunities to indie authors and we now see a big difference in attitudes from when we were first founded.
ALLi is working with partners over the coming year to create better data around author income, what makes an author successful, how our industry is growing, and more.
Industry Responsive Campaigns
When an issue arises, such as author safety, we are able to respond quickly with guidance for our members and we work with our peers to support large campaigns like Audiblegate, to lend our influence and numbers.
Because a lot of our campaigns work can only be done by an organization that has the time and influence to continuously address such issues, membership fees support the whole self-publishing industry and especially those who might not be able to afford membership right now. You can read more about our campaigns here.
We have three levels of author membership. Find out more about us here.
Ideas for Giving Back to the Indie Author Community
Free or Low Cost Ideas
- We all know how important reviews are, but when was the last time you left one? Could you leave a review for the last few books you read by indie authors?
- Maybe you could share the news of an indie author book you loved on your social media profiles, or perhaps in your newsletter
- If you have friends or loved ones looking for gifts, why not recommend an indie authors book?
- Answer the questions of other authors in Facebook forums or author groups
- Offer to beta read or critique a friend's work
Melissa Addey, Campaigns Manager for ALLi had a wonderful experience of someone giving to her:
Alison Baverstock, Professor of Publishing at Kingston University, wrote a foreword for a non-fiction book I wrote on merchandising ideas for authors when I was barely starting out and she'd never met me, I was so grateful to have someone relevant in the field taking what I was doing seriously!
Low to Medium Cost
- Buy indie author books
- Buy indie author books direct from their websites
- Gift indie author books to friends and family
- Support indie authors patreon or memberships
- Attend courses or conferences run by indie authors
- Give yourself a monthly budget to buy indie books
- Buy an indie book a month and gift it to a friend or family member
- Join ALLi or other author organizations
- Support an indie author Kickstarter campaign
More Expensive Ideas
- Gift an ALLi membership
- Gift a writing conference ticket to someone who can't afford one
- Gift a course to someone who would love to take it but can't afford it
- Pay for an author's cover or support their publication costs
Overall, there are many ways that you can give back to the indie author community and support other self-publishing writers. Whether you share your knowledge and experience, collaborate with other writers, promote the work of others, or participate in online writing communities, you can make a positive impact and contribute to the success of other indie authors.
As well as finding personal fulfilment in helping others succeed, this creates a more positive and supportive environment for all writers, and raises the profile and credibility of self-publishing.
What's not to give?