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Our Advisors

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


Joanna Penn

Enterprise & Artificial Intelligence 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”


Helen Sedwick

Legal Advisor

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“Self-publishing has made it possible for writers to control their work from inspiration to publication and beyond. Writers should take the time to understand licensing, the currency of the publishing industry. Any writer capable of mastering plot, characterization and story structure can learn the legalese to protect their rights and their wallets.”

When Helen Sedwick self-published her historical novel Coyote Winds, she found no legal guide to assist independent authors navigate the legal side of self-publishing.

So she used her 30 years of legal experience to cut through the legalese and write Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook. Her goal is to keep writers out of court and at their desks.

Helen on ALLi:
“ALLi has assembled a formidable team of the leaders in independent publishing. I am excited by the opportunity to be one of them.”


Andrew Bromley

Academic Publishing Advisor

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“Independent publishing, whether developed by the individual author or via a collective, has the ability to revolutionise learning, breaking down the knowledge barriers of entry and bringing the educator closer to the learning as never before.”

Andy Bromley is the Marketing Manager at Ingram Content Group, the world’s largest distributor of physical and digitally published content. He has experience in Higher Education publishing, previously working for Pearson Education and Academic publishing with Cambridge University Press, whilst also having experience in schools and tertiary education when working as the Resource Development Manager for the exam board OCR, part of Cambridge Assessment. Andy has particular interests in the types of publishing that supports learning, both professional development and formal education.

Andrew on ALLi:
“The best thing about being a part of ALLi is their unique ability to share intelligence from the smartest minds in the industry. There isn’t a day that goes by where I do not learn something new from reading a blog post, a news thread or having a direct conversation with an ALLi member.”

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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.”

Dalma Szentpály

Dalma Szentpály

Poetry Books Advisor

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Dalma Szentpály co-hosts the Self-Publishing Poetry salon. She works at PublishDrive as a self-publishing professional and has been a lifelong lover of poetry. A native Hungarian, she started learning about lyricism from poetry giants like Attila József and János Pilinszky but also recited brooding lines of verse from international poets like Pablo Neruda or Anna Ahmatova. In university, she fell in love with W.B. Yeats and Emily Dickinson and wrote her thesis about the “villanelle” form in Sylvia Plath’s poetry. As a university lecturer and an event manager at an independent bookstore in Budapest Dalma encouraged readers to re-engage with poetry. Check out her blog post about contemporary poetry trends.

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Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Publishing Wide Advisor

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Writers have never had more opportunity in the history of writing and publishing; and the options available are only going to grow thanks to advances in technology. But navigating these numerous available paths and choices requires careful reflection and insight. Writers need to take the time to understand their own personal goals and the true power they hold when it comes to effectively leveraging that most powerful resource they possess: their creative IP (Intellectual Property).

Mark has worked in the book industry since 1992, the same year his first fiction was published. He was responsible for the creation of Kobo Writing Life, Rakuten Kobo's direct self-publishing platform, and was involved in the earliest establishment of quality metadata standards with Canadian data exchange between publishers and retailers as an active participant and board member of BookNet Canada. His roles in the industry include Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations (Rakuten Kobo), Director of Business Development (Draft2Digital), President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, and Professional Advisor to the Honours Bachelor of Creative Writing and Publishing program for Sheridan College.

As a writer Mark has embraced both traditional publishing and indie publishing. Since 2018 he has shared his reflections as a writer and book industry representative on Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing a weekly podcast open to all the opportunities available to writers.

Mark's top tip:
“There is no single path to success for a writer. And thinking about publishing wide goes well beyond just an “exclusive to Amazon VS other eBook retailers” mindset. Being truly wide means being open to all of the possibilities available.”


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.”

Linh Thoi

Linh Thoi

e-Book Advisor

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“Self-publishing requires thorough research to understand and navigate a large industry. But, it can be a completely rewarding path for those who venture to put themselves out there and take a less traditional route to reaching out to others with their words and images.”

Linh Thoi is the founder of ltt ebooks, an eBook production company that provides eBook consultation and production services to authors and publishers. Linh began her publishing career in 2011 working in the digital departments of traditional publishers like Parragon Books and Workman Publishing. She then had a very fun stretch at Amazon helping to create the animated Harry Potter eBooks. Since 2016, Linh has been using her publishing, design and technical skills to provide authors and companies with advice and create digital versions of their projects. Linh is willing to tackle and offer help on any book genre, so feel free to reach out.

Top Tip:

“Curb your expectations about how the digital version of your book will look and function compared to the print version. Be sure to do some research about the prevalent eBook formats and how they function. If you come into the digital process with an open mind (and hopefully some knowledge), you'll be much much happier with the end results.”

Kathryn Goldman

Legal Advisor

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“There has never been a better time for artists to prosper from their art. Self-publishing and its evolving technologies allow writers to make the move from author to entrepreneur. But with that move comes the responsibility to produce professional work using sound business practices.”

Kathryn Goldman is an intellectual property attorney who focuses her practice on the protection and enforcement of copyright and trademark rights for businesses and individuals. She represents creative professionals, writers, artists, photographers, and innovative entrepreneurs. Leaving 30 years in litigation behind her, Kathryn now focuses her work on keeping creatives out of court so they can create more work.

Kathryn runs the Creative Law Center where she teaches creatives and entrepreneurs how to protect their work so they can profit from it. The resources found at the Creative Law Center are concentrated on copyright and content protection, trademark and branding, and business building including the establishment of multiple income streams through licensing.

Top Tip:

The rights in your creative work are like rabbits. You get a couple and you learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. (hat tip to John Steinbeck)

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