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Who Are ALLi’s Ambassadors And What Do They Do? ALLi Campaigns Podcast With Melissa Addey And Holly Greenland

Who Are ALLi’s Ambassadors and What Do They Do? ALLi Campaigns Podcast with Melissa Addey and Holly Greenland

This week, Campaigns Manager Melissa Addey and Blog Editor Holly Greenland explore the role of ALLi’s ambassadors: who they are and what they do. From opening up awards to speaking at events and gathering facts and figures all around the world, the ambassadors are part of ALLi’s outreach, amplifying ALLi’s voice to authors everywhere. Ambassadors work with our campaigning efforts to understand what needs to be done to support indie authors and make it happen.

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Listen to the Podcast: ALLi's Ambassadors

On the #AskALLi Campaigns Podcast, Campaigns Manager @MelissaAddey and Blog Editor Holly Greenland explore the role of ALLi’s ambassadors: who they are and what they do. Share on X

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About the Hosts

Holly Greenland is a self-published author, content writer and strategic communications consultant. She has worked in marketing and communications for nearly twenty years, including at the BBC, UK Parliament, and award-winning agency Social & Local. Holly is currently completing a Publishing PhD with Kingston University in London, investigating the factors that increase the likelihood of indie author success. Find out more about Holly's writing on her website or connect on LinkedIn.

Melissa Addey has a PhD in creative writing and writes historical fiction set in first-century Rome, eleventh-century Morocco and eighteenth-century China. She runs writing workshops covering both craft and entrepreneurship, most frequently for the British Library. She's also ALLi's campaigns manager, a role in which she loves observing and supporting the vast diversity of self-published authors. Visit her at her website and pick up a free novella.

Read the Transcripts: ALLi's Ambassadors

Melissa Addey: Welcome to the Alliance of Independent Authors Campaigns podcast. I'm Melissa Addey. I'm ALLi's campaigns manager.

Now, usually I'm joined by ALLi's director, Orna Ross, and she's normally here with me, but she, lucky thing, is attending the Future of Publishing Mastermind in New Orleans. Not jealous at all. I've been to New Orleans before and it's so nice, I want to be there.

So, this month, I've invited Holly Greenland along, who is our blog manager, to come and find out a bit more about ALLi's Ambassadors, who they are, what they do and how you can be one of them.

So hello, Holly.

Holly Greenland: Hello. Thank you for having me. I'm very excited to hear a lot more about the ambassadors because it's something I'm really interested in actually. At the moment, I've been working on my PhD, which I keep popping up and talking about on various podcasts. One of the big things there is about how we can reach out to more authors, more people who could be self-publishing. So yeah, really excited to hear a bit more about it.

Melissa Addey: Fantastic. It's really nice to have you along with us.

We always talk about a little bit about what we're doing outside of our ALLi work.

I'm currently doing book cover research for a new genre. So, I've normally written historical fiction, and I'm going into Regency romance, and so all of a sudden you have to look at a whole new category and try and figure out, what does that cover mean, what does that cover suggest about the book, and try and get it right and all that kind of thing.

So, I'm getting to look at new photographers, new book cover designers. So, it's very interesting. It's fun.

Holly Greenland: Wow. I'm really amazed by people who can just move between genres. Actually, one of the bits of data from the study that we've been doing is around how many genres people are covering, and some of the people that have responded to the survey have 15 genres.

Melissa Addey: No, how do they keep it straight in their mind?

Holly Greenland: Not many, but there's a few, and quite a lot of people have got five, six, seven. So, it's growing.

Melissa Addey: Wow, that is a juggling act. I'm not sure I could keep on top of that. I've mainly stuck to one and now I'm shifting into another. It's not even that difficult, it's not even that far away. It's historical to historical romance and I'm still like, Ooh.

Holly Greenland: Still, it's a lot to think about, isn't it?

Melissa Addey: It is, but it's fun. So, you are coming to the end of your PhD?

Holly Greenland: I am. It's funny, I think it's a bit like with finishing a book, maybe you're looking back on the whole thing and thinking, is this everything? Have I done everything? Is everything ready to go? It's a bit of wanting to end and not quite wanting to end. But yes, nearly finished. Yeah, it's been a busy couple of years.

Melissa Addey: Wow. What are you going to do with all that spare time?

Holly Greenland: Oh, go to bed. Yes.

Melissa Addey: That is probably what it feels like by the end of it. Oh, exhausting, exhausting.

Okay, as you all know, ALLi runs a range of core campaigns and also, we support other campaigns which may come and go depending on what's going on in the industry, and to help with that, because I am only one person, we have our wonderful ambassadors.

These are volunteer roles by very experienced ALLi members who helped spread the word about ALLi, and who help ALLi spread the word about our campaigns. So, I thought perhaps you'd like to hear about some of the things that they do.

So, one of the things that is always an interesting one is opening up awards. So, this fits into our OUTIA campaign, which is Open Up to Indie Authors.

So, that's where something, an opportunity of some sort, might be closed to indie authors in the industry, and one of the more obvious things that might be closed that a lot of authors notice is where an award is closed, or a fellowship or a residency, those kinds of really interesting opportunities, are closed to an indie author.

Actually, most very large prizes are now opening up to indies, so that's encouraging.

But for an example, I've got two recent examples about how our ambassadors are working with us on that. So, last year we had three members open up the Jesse Kesson fellowship. So, this is a lovely one. I want to do this one.

This is a thousand pounds and three weeks in a beautiful cottage up in Scotland, and you have the chance to run writing workshops and take part in public literary events.

Now they were interesting, because their wording said that they wouldn't have self-published authors, but they were able to consider each writer on their own merits, which we liked. That was very open minded of them.

So, three different ALLi ambassadors approached them and said, can I enter? This is my background, this is what I've done, can I enter?

For each one, they said, yes, we will consider each writer on their own merits, yes, you can enter. So, once we'd heard from those three different ambassadors, I then approached and said actually, given that you are open-minded in that way, how about changing the wording, because there are authors who would look at that wording and just walk away, they wouldn't realize that they could actually do that.

And they did, they actually changed the wording and it's now quite obviously open to self-published authors as well. So, I really applaud awards when they do this, when they are open minded in the first place, despite their wording, and they are then willing to reflect on that wording and change it accordingly.

Holly Greenland: So, actually they just hadn't maybe thought it through in a way, rather than actively discounting people?

Melissa Addey: Yeah, maybe it's something from the past. I think quite a lot of awards were set up a long time ago. That's just how it was then, and they didn't think about that, and then you're not constantly going back and checking all your wording, you just think, oh, yeah, it runs fine, and maybe you haven't thought what that's like. So, that's Moniack Mhor, that's Scotland's National Writing Centre, and the fellowship is open to all UK writers across a whole range of different literature. So, that was a lovely result last year.

So, this year I thought, what can we target? What can we go out there and look for?

So, I asked Anna Featherstone in Australia and Dina Santorelli in the US to send me some examples of big prestigious awards who are currently closed to indie authors.

Actually, most smaller awards are now open. We have a regular awards update, and so there's plenty of awards open. It's just that there are a few still left who are these bigger, older ones, who haven't changed their guidelines over the years.

It matters, the perception of it as well, it's not even about that individual award. It's about the perception of something being closed to self-published authors. I added a few that, in the UK, were still closed, and we started approaching organizations.

I just want to give a little tip of the hat to The Stella's in particular in Australia. This is a very major award for women's writing, and they came back almost immediately very positively, and they said, thank you for reaching out to us because this is something we've been thinking about, and we're going to go and have a conversation about that now with our board. I really like that because, even if it takes a bit longer, that's fine. It doesn't have to happen immediately, but to have the open mindedness to realize that's something they should have been looking at and to be ready to have a conversation about that is a really positive thing.

Actually, just to let all the self-published authors know, there are loads of really prestigious awards all over the world that you can enter.

The Pulitzer, the Newbery Medal, the Bram Stoker, the British Book Awards, Miles Franklin, the RAA Historical Novel Prize, the Commonwealth Book Prize, the Nebula, and the Rathbones Folio. Those are all huge prizes that are open to indie authors.

Holly Greenland: It's worth having a reminder, isn't it? Because sometimes you assume, oh maybe they're not, but that is a big list.

Melissa Addey: Yeah, and I think actually a lot of indie authors sometimes, because of having looked in the past, maybe have gone, oh, I expect they're all closed, and like you say, they haven't gone and had another look to see actually maybe they are up to date, maybe they have changed their rules. So, that's a nice thing for us to be able to see. We're always pleased when we can see that.

Some of the other things that ambassadors do with us is attend and speak at events. Some of them are about, specifically on the topic of self-publishing, like how to self-publish, and some of them are on ALLi's work and membership more generally.

Ruth Taylor was at an online authorpreneur summit just in January, and we've got Debbie Young, who's going to be at the London Festival of Writing in June. She's doing a joint talk with an ALLi partner member, Troubadour Books, about self-publishing.

Margaret Skea's just done a fantastic event with Amazon in Scotland, and she's about to have an opportunity to speak to Creative Scotland. This is an interesting one for us because they're a bit like the Arts Council England, so they hold a lot of funding to give out to arts organizations, and we're interested in talking to some of these arts organizations around the world because they often hold, if you like, the umbrella funding that then goes to fund an award. So therefore, whatever their rules are about the funding often trickle down into those smaller awards, and so that can cause a problem for us if their initial funding group says no self-published, then everything that they fund is likely to have that same that same issue.

So, it'd be very exciting for Margaret to talk to them and just feel out and see how they are around self-publishing. It should be interesting for us.

Then Mandy Oram in Portugal is running an online event in May, which is open to all the indie authors in Portugal to explain a little bit about ALLi and what ALLi does. Mandy made me laugh about Portugal because she said they really love festivals; everything has a festival. So, she says, there's loads of book festivals.

I think we need to book ourselves some time in Portugal.

One of the really useful things about why we have ambassadors is because they can respond, if you like, to how their own region does self-publishing. We have a lot of ambassadors in Australia, I think we have six, and they're currently looking at doing a really coordinated information push because they feel that there's a lot of organizations and a lot of various contacts that are not aware enough of where self-publishing has got to.

Because ambassadors know a region, that means they know who they can approach, they know what needs changing, they know how to reach out and who to reach out to.

Also, for those organizations, I think it's more important to hear from local people, to hear from people that they know are affected by the way they carry out their organization, their awards, whatever it is.

So, we support the ambassadors in working out a coordinated approach, just like we did with the Moniack Mhor award. That was trying to get a coordinated approach going, let's see what happens when different members of you approach them. That helps us give a standard message and we essentially are amplifying their voice, and they can amplify ALLi's voice in that way.

So, that's a good way of us working together.

Holly Greenland: Is there a similar body to ALLi in Australia? Obviously, we're a global body, is there an equivalent or are we reaching that group?

Melissa Addey: No, we're the ones. There are actually very few self-publishing associations around the world.

There's one in Germany that I'm aware of.

I initially thought when I first joined ALLi, oh, I expect there's one in every country, but actually ALLi is a global association and is covering most of those areas, especially the English-speaking parts of the world, obviously.

So yes, it's really nice that we have a lot of ambassadors in that area because it means they can actually take a coordinated approach and that gets a lot easier for them because it means it's not all on one person, but between them, they can really go, okay, you cover that, and I'll cover this.

Often if an organization hears multiple times from indie authors rather than just the one off where they go, I don't know, who's ever heard of them, but if you hear and you hear, you start going, oh, maybe there's more interested self-published authors out there than we realized, and maybe they have something to say and something to be heard.

Holly Greenland: Yeah, makes sense.

Melissa Addey: We use our ambassadors to link us to other organizations. So, Claire Flynn was, sort of, an informal ambassador for ALLi, but she was a very strong connection for us with the Romantic Novelist Association, and they've since joined us as an organization member.

So, now we work much more closely with them, so we have resources for their members. This is something we do for the organization members. They have resources that they can pass on to their members about self-publishing and I'll be doing a couple of talks for them at their big conference in August. So, that will be fun. One is on self-publishing for beginners.

I have to say, the romance genre is very up to speed on their self-publishing, but there are of course, some authors that have not tried that out yet as a route to market.

We'll also be talking them through the latest facts and figures from the Big Indie Author Data Drop, which is probably what we'll be covering next month on this podcast, because that's what I'm updating at the moment with your data from your PhD. So, that's coming along nicely. So, that's an interesting one for us as well to see that developing.

If you're interested in where you can find our ambassadors, if you like, there's a link to where they actually are on our website in the show notes.

So, for each ambassador, you can see what region they cover, you have their contact details, you have a little bit about them. So, if you spot a gap in your area, if you look on there and you think, oh, my area doesn't have an ambassador, then maybe you'd like to be our ambassador. So, if you do want to do that, do join, do let me know anytime.

On our SelfPubConnect forum, which is our private forum for ALLi members, you can see them with a red frame around their profile, and that tells you that they are one of our ambassadors and that they have a lot of knowledge, so do reach out.

Holly Greenland: Are there particular areas at the moment that we're looking to fill, or is it more of a spot-the-gap situation?

Melissa Addey: It's an ongoing search.

I think Australia and New Zealand, we've got a pretty good group going there at the moment, although I never say no, I'm always happy to hear from experienced people for that.

I think it would be quite good to have some more in the U.S., just because it's so big each individual state tends to have its own awards, its own funding, its own ways of doing things, and each state is so big that for one person to be covering the whole of America, it just doesn't work like that.

So, I would be very happy to hear more from people in different states across America, that would be interesting. Also, we're always happy to hear from European countries.

We have some in Canada, but we're always open to having more because, like I said that, when there's a group in a particular area that really allows them to pull together on something. In Europe at the moment, Europe's sort of a little bit behind, if you like, on the self-publishing front.

The UK, the US, and Australia really surged ahead, and the tipping point that came for us was 2015, you could really see self-publishing take off. Whereas in Europe, it looks more like 2019. So, there's that sort of slight backwards in terms of the timing of when more and more people started entering self-publishing.

So, even in Europe, even though they're in different countries, they are pulling together at the moment to try and get some self-publishing data for those countries to show, actually self-publishing is growing a lot in those countries and is becoming a more important thing, and they'd like more support for it from the government and that kind of thing.

So, even across different countries, you can end up doing something that pulls it all together.

Holly Greenland: There's lots of opportunity then?

Melissa Addey: There is. So, usually our ambassadors are members of ALLi, obviously, but they're usually quite established, self-published authors.

There are actually quite a lot of authorpreneurs, which is our kind of top category of membership for very experienced, very successful indie authors, who volunteered to be ambassadors for us, which is fantastic because it means they've really got a lot of background on it and a lot of experience themselves, and that allows them to share their expertise and share their experience with other authors.

I always say to the ambassadors, they would say, what exactly do you want me to do? And I say, I want you to do it your way, because there are people who love doing podcasts. There are people who love going to events. There are people who really don't want to do either of those things, but they'd really like to write a blog about it, or they'd like to just speak to people individually and answer their questions, and that kind of thing. There are people who want to collect data; there's so many different things.

I often get ambassadors and they go; I think I've only done this thing, or I've only done this. thing, and I'm like, yeah, but that's another little thing, and it all adds up and it all spreads ripples outwards, and each of those little elements comes together to make something a lot bigger.

If you want to talk to one of your ambassadors and you have one in your region, you can reach out to them anytime with your self-publishing queries or issues. So again, if you think that there's something important in your area that you would like them to know about, that you'd like ALLi's support with, you can reach out to them and then they will reach out to me, and we'll talk about what we can do to support.

If anybody wants to be an ambassador, I'm always willing to have new people volunteer. So, you need to be an ALLi member. You need to have some experience in self-publishing, and you can email me at [email protected].

You can visit our core campaigns on allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns, and you could also look up our ambassadors on allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns/alli-ambassadors, and that will show you all the ambassadors that we currently have at the moment. I try to keep that page up to date with all our people.

So, that gives you a little bit of a whirlwind tour to what our ambassadors do.

Holly Greenland: That's a massive amount. That's really interesting. I really love the idea of people pulling together in different countries to make change happen. So yeah, I'm going to go and have a little nose at who they are now.

Melissa Addey: Yeah, it's a really good thing, and sometimes they write for the blog as well. So, you'll come across them when they do things like an Out and About section, or share knowledge.

I think we had Debbie and Ian and Rhiannon wrote about doing indie book fairs. So, they'd each done those in different ways, in different countries, and so they were able to share what that was like and their experiences and their tips, if you wanted to do it in your own country or your own region. So, that could be a fun way of finding things out from them.

Alrighty, so I think we will finish there. Next month, I will be telling you about the Big Indie Author Data Drop update because that's what we're working on at the moment. More facts and figures to share with you.

For now, thank you very much, Holly.

Take care, everyone. Bye.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy is an author, book editor, and journalist. He is also the Content and Communications Manager for the Alliance of Independent Authors, where he hosts and produces podcasts and keeps the blog updated. You can find more of his work at https://howardlovy.com/


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