As independent authors, one of the biggest challenges we face is “discoverability.” In the vast ocean of new books being uploaded onto Amazon every day, launching our own may feel a bit like casting a tiny message in a bottle into titanic waves. In order for our readers to find us, we need reviews—a lot of them—and preferably great ones from well-known and respected sources. With this in mind, Kristan Julius, ALLi author member checked out the Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize. This is her review and experience.
You’ve written a book, hired a crack editor, encased it in a jacket that is a work of art and formatted the interior with lustrous font and arresting headings. You’ve put it out there, and lo! you’ve gained some readers. A fantastic achievement.
Now you’d like to get your book into a bookstore or library. You’d like to attend one of the literary events that are mushrooming up near you. You’d like to join the appropriate association for your genre. Except you can’t.
According to their way of thinking, even though you sell more and/or have more great reviews than the writers they’re headlining, you’re not “properly” published.
This is wrong, and one of ALLi’s core campaigns is trying to change the outdated attitudes that underlie this response, and impress upon all players in the book world that they have a responsibility to include self-publishers in their offerings.
This is our Open Up To Indie Authors campaign for a more inclusive book world (found on Twitter and other places online with the hashtag #PublishingOpenUp).
Our campaign includes a petition, lobbying of the industry, education seminars and a guidebook by Debbie Young, Commissioning Editor for ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice Center, and Dan Holloway, ALLi’s news editor, Opening Up To Indie Authors (like all our guidebooks, the digital edition is free to ALLi members).
When we started this campaign back in 2014, its aims were threefold:
- to equip self-published authors with the information and attitude they need to collaborate successfully with other players in the book trade and literary environments
- to tackle the challenges of incorporating self-published books into literary organizations and events
- to raise awareness of the high quality and professional standards offered by the best self-publishing authors and encourage their inclusion
We know there are challenges in incorporating self-publishing into existing programs that are based on trade publishing’s curatorial role. We discuss them in detail in our book.
But to renege on that challenge is to fail to serve the reading and writing community, to cut off great writing from the readership it deserves.
To ignore what is now the most vibrant sector of the publishing industry, and the best thing to have happened for authors in decades, if not centuries, is to fail to do your job as a books professional.
This book also demonstrates, through education and example, how authors and various personnel in the industry — librarians, booksellers, reviewers, festival organisers and prize-giving committees — can successfully work together to the advantage of all.
Help Change Publishing With A Few Minutes Of Your Time
ALLi’s Open Up To Indie Authors campaign has a very simple aim: to remove discrimination against self-published books.
If you support the aims of this campaign to create a more inclusive books industry, know that it only takes a few minutes of your time to make a difference. You can:
- Sign our petition
- Pass the petition on to an author friend. Change.org inadvertently closed our petition down. Now we’re back up and aiming for 10,000 signatures. We need your help.
- Had a win? Tell us about it. We want to note the advances made by indies, internationally, so we can learn from each other. We want to show off some of the amazing successes our members, and other authors, have scored, against difficult odds and sometimes outright opposition. Write to [email protected]
- In the trade? Show your support. Are you in trade publishing? A well-known writer? A librarian? Do you know somebody like this? We’re gathering signatures not just from indie authors but from well-known people from throughout the book trade who support this campaign.
- Forward Us Your Ideas… and even better, your willingness to implement them. Again, write to [email protected]
We want those who are campaigning for change to know they have the support of the wider community. And for those who are resisting to know this is an unstoppable wave, and that they have a responsibility to make room in their programs for indie authors.
All of us at ALLi look forward to the day when this campaign will no longer be necessary.Are you an #indie #author? This #PublishingOpenUp campaign report by @OrnaRoss is important for you Click To Tweet
FURTHER READING ABOUT #PUBLISHINGOPENUP