Kicking off the blogging week, Debbie Young calls for indie authors to support each other's events to demonstrate to doubters the high quality and popular appeal of the self-publishing sector.
One of ALLi's many roles is to campaign for greater recognition and respect for self-published authors and their books. Our “Open Up to Indie Authors” campaign encourages literary events, festivals, prizes, reviewers, booksellers and other interested parties to find ways of including self-publishing authors in their programmes, events, listings and reviews.
We're always keen to share on this blog any examples of barriers breaking, e.g.
- this report by our News Editor Dan Holloway kicked off with a major prize win for indie author Alice Jolly with a book crowdfunded via Unbound
- Alison Morton's guest post celebrating the change of rules at the Romantic Novelists' Association to admit self-published authors (albeit still in a different category to trade-published authors
- this interview with Ezekel Alan, first indie winner of a Regional Commonwealth Prize
It is heartening to see the progress made in the last two or three years. In the run-up to the launch of the first ever Triskele Lit Fest, run by the Triskele Books collective (all ALLi members), Catriona Troth said “If we'd tried this two years ago, we'd probably have fallen flat on our faces”. But the fact is, the world is more receptive now than ever before to indie events.
Support Local Indie Author Events
Campaigning on blogs, signing petitions, and setting social media alight is all very well, but that's not all that's necessary. To add power and impact to events that showcase indie authors, we also need more bums on seats (as we say here in the UK – that's butts to you, my American-English speaking friends, not hobos!)
If we can make sure that whenever indie authors are included in lit fests that their events are a sell-out to an appreciative audience, we make it more likely that those festivals will invite indie authors back again.
Here are two imminent events at which I'll be attending primarily for the sake of an indie show of strength – though I'm sure I'll have a great time too:
- On Monday 10th October, Stroud Short Stories will be showcasing seven indie authors at an event in Cheltenham Literature Festival's main programme (the biggest and oldest festival of its kind in the UK) – albeit at a less than top slot in the billing, 9pm on a Monday night, but it's still a great opportunity.
- On Saturday 17th September, the Triskele Books collective, all members of ALLi, will stage its first Triskele Lit Fest in the heart of London, bringing together self-published and trade-published authors on the same stage, kindly sponsored by Ingram Spark and Matador.
What Indie Events Are You Supporting This Autumn?
I know it's not always possible for every indie author to go to events like this, whether due to responsibilities at home, health issues, travel problems or financial constraints. All I want to say is, please look out for any events near you that are showcasing indie authors, and do your best to attend if you can – whether major festivals, talks at libraries, launches in bookshops, or any other kind of event at which organisers might be tempted to say “Oh, let's not bother with a self-published author again – they didn't exactly attract the crowds.” Together we can make sure their reaction will be: “Wow, what a fab event – and what a great turn-out! Who else can we book like that?”
At first glance, this might sound like a call for positive discrimination, like saying “Please give this book 5* because it's self-published” or “Vote for this book in a Goodreads poll because it's self-published”. I'm just asking you to consider attending such events. I'm not saying you have to enjoy them. 😉 But you know what? I think you will.
For John Holland, organiser of Stroud Short Stories, one of the reasons for submitting for a spot at Cheltenham is his confidence in the quality of his writers:
I want to give a lie to the notion that authors who are not known beyond a local area or in some cases not known beyond their own bedrooms are necessarily amateurish or in some way inferior. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Last word to JJ Marsh, part of the Triskele team:
People should support festival events that don't feature household names for the same reasons you go to a farmers' market: to encounter something new and different, to ample the unusual, to stumble over a niche product with a passionate following.
(Declaration of interest: I am judge of the November Stroud Short Stories competition and will be running the ALLi stall at the Triskele Lit Fest – hope to see you there!)
OVER TO YOU If you hear of any examples of indie authors breaking down barriers, please don't hesitate to alert our News Editor Dan Holloway for inclusion in our weekly news round-up.
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