The Alliance of Independent Authors is affectionately known as ALLi (pronouced “ally”). We are a non-profit professional membership organisation for self-publishing authors. Our mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing, we have a global team of ambassadors and advisors, and we provide independent authors with a suite of benefits and bonuses.
We are the only non-profit organization directly representing independent authors globally. We have members on all seven continents, and our outreach campaigns, self-publishing services centre, guidebooks, podcast and blog reach way beyond our membership, and have had an impact at every level of the wider author community.
Our members are the kind of authors who see themselves as the creative directors of their books and their author businesses, who consider trade publishing to be just one route to market, and who value creative and commercial independence. Those authors now best known as indie authors.
ALLi was founded by Orna Ross and her husband and co-director Philip Lynch at London Book Fair 2012, born out of Orna’s prior work as a poet and author, creativity facilitator, and literary agent, and Philip’s prior work as a company director at a large multinational.
Orna: In the years before landing a good deal for my first novel, I had been through 54 rejections. Though I was thrilled to sign that two-book contract, and needed the substantial advance, I was soon frustrated by the processes of corporate publishing through Penguin, especially having no input into branding, marketing and reaching readers. After spending years writing this novel, and more years in the effort to find a publisher, I wanted to build my readership slowly, one right reader at a time.
They had other ideas. Where I saw my book as page-turning, thought-provoking novel about family and national histories and the ties that bind, they saw what was then called “chick lit”. They made the book an instant bestseller… but at a price. A headless woman on the beach wafting about among neon pink lettering did not attract my ideal readers. Landing a contract with a trade publisher was not the golden ticket I had expected.
How lucky we all are that there is now another way.
For my first attempt at self-publishing, I decided on a poetry chapbook. It would be shorter and easier than a novel and, I reasoned, as nobody bought poetry anyway, I could make all the mistakes I was undoubtedly going to make without too many people noticing.
But I was wrong. I was astonished when my little book started to sell. I soon self-published again, a non-fiction book this time, and this time I put it on all the other major platforms: Apple, Kobo, IngramSpark as well as Amazon.
Soon I was getting my fiction rights back from Penguin and earning far more money from books than I ever had before. I immediately loved being the creative director of my own books and business, gaining great creative freedom through commercial control.
I searched for a professional association to join but there wasn’t one with a focus on the two aspects of self-publishing were most important to me: excellence and ethics.
I had a heart and soul-searching night or two. I’d just been through a serious illness and time was precious. I had many books I wanted to write. Did I really want to do this? Turned out I did. When the coming generations would ask me where I was during this transformative period in publishing, I wanted to be able to say: Right at the heart of it, beating the drum for authors.
Then Philip said he was in too, which gave the organisation the business underpinnings we would need. We wanted it to be a nonprofit and he discovered the option of forming a community interest company (CIC), which was the ideal structure.
And so, at The London Book Fair 2012, ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors was born. And my enthusiasm for author-publishing has grown with each passing year.