Self-published author Debbie Young considers why she originally joined ALLi and reveals some lesser-known benefits that came as a pleasant surprise! Read on to make sure you're getting full value from ALLi membership – and if you're not yet a member, discover what you're missing!
When I joined the Alliance of Independent Authors about six months after its launch at the London Book Fair in April 2012, I had lots of reasons:
- to feel part of an authors' organisation that was the best fit for my writing ambitions
- to bond with other authors who I knew had already joined
- to make new friends among like-minded authors
- to show moral support for ALLi's stated aims
- to raise awareness of my profile as an author
- to be allowed to write guest posts on the blog
- to be entitled to display the beautiful membership badge on my author blog and in my author bio
- and finally – dare I confess this mercenary reason? – because it seemed like the perfect place to find new readers for Sell Your Books!, the book promotion handbook that I'd recently written specifically for self-published authors
At just £75 per year, that list of benefits struck me as pretty good value – and that was even before I'd considered the long list of discounts on various author services that I later discovered on the ALLi website.
Eighteen months on, all of these reasons have been justified – plus I've discovered many more benefits that I hadn't realised existed when I signed on the virtual dotted line, such as a long list of discounts for various author services and the opportunity to more than cover the cost of joining by smart use of ALLi's affiliate marketing scheme.
Private Facebook Forum for Confidential Self-publishing Advice
I didn't realise till after I'd joined that there is a fabulous private Facebook group. ALLi's blog is packed with valuable advice and stimulating opinion from self-published authors all over the world, but the Facebook forum adds another dimension: the opportunity to ask, away from the public eye, any question about any aspect of self-publishing – and to have it answered, usually within moments, by an experienced, authoritative author who has “been there, done that” and knows the answers. It's also a place to gain moral support if you've had a bad experience or are feeling discouraged or demotivated. There isn't a better place to find evidence of the camaraderie of the self-publishing community than the ALLi Facebook forum.
Real-Life Friendships – Not Just Online
Many ALLi members quickly turned into great online friends, and as time goes by, I'm meeting more of them in real life too. I'm not the only one hugely excited about the prospect of meeting the real people behind those Facebook thumbnail photos and status updates at the London Book Fair in April. ALLi's founder, Orna Ross, has even given the syndrome its own acronym: PAFES – Pre Author Fair Excitement Syndrome! (By the way, ALLi members are entitled to a 50% discount on admission to the London Book Fair!)
At the Hub of Self-Publishing Developments
Call it revolution, call it evolution – however you wish to describe it, self-publishing is developing fast, and it's good to feel that I'm part of an organisation at the hub of such change. It's not for nothing that ALLi's founder, Orna Ross, was recently named as one of publishing's top 100 influences. Not just self-publishing, but publishing as a whole, please note!
Affiliate Marketing Scheme (i.e. Get Paid to Belong!)
I also discovered after I'd joined that ALLi's Affiliate Marketing Scheme makes it possible to cover the costs of your membership fee by a simple “member-get-member” mechanism, effectively making it free to belong – or even profitable! This benefit is open to all ALLi members and in itself justifies becoming a member of the organisation.
How it works is simple: for every new member that joins ALLi via your unique identifier, you will be paid, automatically and directly, 30% of the new member's first year's membership fee. You can either state is as a simple URL, or hide it behind a number of graphic formats designed to fit whatever size space you have to fill. Here are a couple of the variants:
You can include your identifier anywhere you like: on your website or blog, on your email footer, within your author bio on your ebooks, etc. Assuming you are an author member, you need only attract four new author members before you've actually earned 120% of the cost of your own annual subscription.
There is no upper limit to how much you can earn this way – although it's understood that you will use this power wisely and courteously! No-one should pester people into joining just so they can claim commission.
Most self-published authors, like me, will have a network of like-minded writer friends who are not yet members. I haven't had to try very hard to more than cover my membership fees. I've even earned commission from someone I don't know – they'd simply clicked on the link on my blog, and ALLi's clever IT system did the rest. First I knew of it was the appearance of a nice surprise in my bank account!
The Remington Touch
As regular readers of this blog will know, my respect for ALLi has caused me to become even more closely involved since I joined back in 2012. Last summer, I had what I think of as a Remington moment – remember the old ad featuring Victor Kiam, with the strapline “I liked the razor so much I bought the company”? Well, I didn't buy the company, but I did become commissioning editor of this blog, a role I feel enormously privileged to play. I'm also increasingly involved in ALLi's other editorial projects, such as co-writing with Dan Holloway the imminent ALLi handbook, Opening Up To Indie Authors, which will be launched in partnership with Kobo at the London Book Fair in April.
All in all, I think it's fair to say I've got my money's worth! How about you?
And if you've not joined ALLi yet, what are you waiting for? Head over to the ALLi website today to sign up – you'll be very glad you did!
Here's an ongoing post about why other ALLi members joined up – Why I Joined ALLi – feel free to add your reasons if you haven't already done so!