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Our Advisors

ALLi Advisors are self-publishing experts who offer trusted advice to our organization and its members.


Joanna Penn

Enterprise & Technology Advisor

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“Indie author-publishing is empowerment for your creativity and expression.”

Joanna Penn writes non-fiction for authors and is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author as J.F.Penn. She’s also an award-winning podcaster, creative entrepreneur, and international professional speaker.

Joanna hosts our monthly Advanced Self-Publishing Salon Livestream and podcast with Orna Ross

Top Tip:
“Spend time getting to know yourself, your goals for your book, your author brand and your target audience so you can make the right decisions about publishing and marketing.”


Mark Coker

Distribution Advisor

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“The big publisher gatekeeper-as-curator is being replaced by readers, as it should be.

Mark founded Smashwords in 2008 to change the way books are published, marketed and sold. Smashwords has grown to become the leading ebook distributor serving indie authors, small presses and literary agents and The Wall Street Journal has named Mark one of the “Stars of Self-Publishing.” Mark is co-author along with his wife, Lesleyann, of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the behind-the-scenes world of daytime television soap operas.

It was Mark’s experience trying to get Boob Tube published that inspired him to start Smashwords. Mark is a long time angel investor and advisor to technology and media startups and a contributing columnist for the Huffington Post, where he writes about ebooks and the future of publishing.

Top Tip:
“Authors should distribute their books to as many retailers as possible.”


Jane Friedman

Publishing Advisor

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“Self-publishing is for those with entrepreneurial spirit.”

Jane is a former publishing & media exec who now teaches e-media full-time at the University of Cincinnati. She has spoken on writing, publishing, and the future of media at more than 200 events since 2001, including South by Southwest, BookExpo America, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Jane has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the co-founder of The Hot Sheet, an essential publishing industry newsletter for authors

Top Tip:
“You’re ready to go indie if you understand that it’s like embarking on a new business venture.”

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Ricardo Fayet

Book Marketing Advisor

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“The self in self-publishing is actually misleading, as the indie publishing community is the most vibrant and helpful in the industry.”

Ricardo Fayet is one of the four founders of Reedsy, a marketplace connecting authors to the world’s top publishing talent—from editors to cover designers, book marketers, or literary translators. He’s the author of How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market and a regular presenter at several prestigious writers’ conferences: NINC, RWA Australia, and The Self Publishing Show Live, among others.

Ricardo's top tip:
“Get the basics right. Nothing is as important as your book, your cover, and your book description. Any effort or spend before all these are as good as they can be will be wasted.”


Mark McGuinness

Creative Advisor

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“Indie publishing is a natural fit for independent-minded creatives.”

Mark is an award-winning poet who coaches creative professionals to achieve their artistic and professional ambitions. His poems appear in leading literary journals and he has published four books of career guidance for creatives. He contributed to two international best sellers published by 99U. The Russian editions of his books are published in Moscow by Mann, Ivanov & Ferber.

Mark is the host of The 21st Century Creative podcast.

Top Tip:
“Forget the career ladder – start creating assets.”


Karen Inglis

Children’s Publishing Advisor

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“There’s so much to learn with self-publishing, and it’s a process that is naturally empowering”

Karen Inglis is the author of The Secret Lake (8-11yrs), Eeek! The Runaway Alien (7-10 yrs), Henry Haynes and the Great Escape (6-8 yrs) and Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep (3-5 yrs). Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep is also available as an interactive book app and an enhanced eBook. Since first self-publishing in 2011 Karen has sold around 8,000 books – around a half in print. Her titles are stocked in independent bookshops and branches of Waterstones in southwest London. She regularly visits schools and has appeared as a speaker at a number of self-publishing events. If you’re a writer, also see her blog at

Karen on ALLi:
“ALLi is the go-to organisation for any self-publisher”

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Oriana Leckert

Crowdfunding Advisor

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“Independent publishing allows authors to cultivate their readership and grow their community on their own terms.”

Oriana Leckert is the Director of Publishing & Comics Outreach at Kickstarter, where she helps creators bring a marvelous array of literary projects to life. She’s written and edited for Vice, MTV News, Slate, Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Atlas Obscura, and many more. Her first book, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, grew out of a multi-year project chronicling the rise and fall of under-the-radar creative places across New York City.

Oriana's top tip:
“Crowdfunding your literary project is an extremely effective way to take control of your publishing career, make money from your creative practice, create something unique, and share it directly with your most dedicated readers.”


David Vandagriff

Legal Advisor

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“Self-publishing is like the Emancipation Proclamation for authors so long as they watch out for those people and organizations who take advantage of the unwary.”

David Vandagriff is an intellectual property attorney who works with contracts – negotiating them, writing them, analyzing them and helping clients understand them. He has experience, including litigation experience, with a wide variety of contracts, including contracts with some of the largest technology companies and financial institutions in the world.

Currently, in addition to software licensing and general business contracts, David has a particular interest in the types of contracts authors have signed and may be asked to sign, including contracts with publishers and agents. David blogs about book contracts and other topics of interest to authors on The Passive Voice.

David's top tip:
“Don’t sign anything you haven’t read and understood because whenever someone asks for your signature, they’re asking you to make a legally-binding commitment.”


Ethan Ellenberg

Literary Agent & Contract Advisor

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“Self Publishing is a challenging business. Stay focused on your writing and find a way to manage the business in a way that subordinates its demands to your real job—storyteller.”

Ethan Ellenberg is President of the New York based Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency and has been working as an agent for more than 30 years. He is best known for his work in genre fiction of all kinds and represents a number of bestselling authors including John Scalzi, Dennis E. Taylor, Sharon Shinn, MaryJanice Davidson, Shelly Laurenston, Bertrice Small and others. He also represents top children’s talent including Caldecott winner Eric Rohmann, Golden Kite Award Winner Candace Fleming and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award winner Marthe Jocelyn.

He is the co-founder of Royalty Reminder, a web-based software application created for Authors to inventory and manage all their intellectual property.


Kristina Stanley

Story Editing Advisor

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“Writing a successful novel depends on your ability to edit, improve, and revise your work. Only when you master story editing, can you master storytelling.”

Combining her degree in computer mathematics with her success as a bestselling, award-winning author and fiction editor, Kristina Stanley is the creator and CEO of Fictionary – creative editing software for fiction writers and editors. She is a Fictionary Certified Story Coach.

Her novels include The Stone Mountain mystery series and Look the Other Way, and she’s the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Book to Non-Bookstores. She’s a passionate guide-dog trainer and hiker.

Top Tip:

“To edit your own story, try editing someone else’s. You’ll be amazed at what you learn that you can apply to your own story.”

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Hannah Jacobson

Awards & Story Marketing Advisor

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“Awards and story marketing amplify the voices of indie authors everywhere.”

Hannah Jacobson is the founder of Book Award Pro, the company that helps authors get validation for their books. Every year, authors spanning 6 continents win thousands of new awards using Book Award Pro.

As the company's founder, Hannah's expertise has been recognized as the leading voice in book awards and author advocacy.

Top Tip:

“Embrace awards and the value they provide your book. Remember that every step of the journey counts. Story marketing is an authentic way to share that journey with your readers.”

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Russell Nohelty

Crowdfunding Advisor

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“Independent publishing lets you control your own fate instead of leaving it in other people's hands.”

Russell Nohelty is a USA Today bestselling fantasy author who has written dozens of novels and graphic novels including The Godsverse Chronicles, The Obsidian Spindle Saga, and Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter. He is the publisher of Wannabe Press, founder of The Author Stack, cocreator of the Author Ecosystem archetype system, and cofounder of The Future of Publishing Mastermind. He has helped authors raise over $1.5 million through crowdfunding, and raised nearly $500,000 for his own publishing projects.

Top Tip:

“Crowdfunding book projects is a great way to recoup your production costs, perfect your messaging, and build a nest egg for marketing and advertising before your book even hits retailers.”

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Maggie Marr

Book-to-Screen Advisor

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“I take pride in being a strategic and futuristic thinker who actualizes positive outcomes for my clients.”

Maggie Marr is a USA Today Best Selling Author of over 20 books, including the beloved and best selling Hollywood Girls Club Series.

She is a former ICM motion picture literary agent; while at ICM she worked on such projects as Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, Underworld, Last First Kiss, Bourne Identity, Bridget Jone's Diary, Game of Thrones, and a host of other books to film and TV projects.

Maggie is a founding member of the Womens Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). She founded Maggie Marr Legal, a boutique intellectual property law practice dedicated to the sales, representation, and legal needs of creatives.

Top Tip:

“Always find an entertainment attorney to review any and all deals for your IP before signing.”

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