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FAQ: About Self-Publishing & Indie Authors

Ask ALLi from the Alliance of Independent Authors

Ask ALLi is an umbrella campaign in which we promise to answer any question anyone — from authors to media to other writing organisations — might have about self-publishing.

Among other initiatives, Ask ALLi embraces:

  • Our monthly Member Q&A in which Joanna Penn, of and Orna Ross, Director of ALLi, answer our members’ questions live on Google Hangout.
  • Our Ask ALLi Member Forums in which our associate, author and professional members help and advise each other.
  • Our Ask ALLi column which appears in our own newsletters, in newspapers, blogs, magazines and writing organisation communiques all over the world.

We pride ourselves on being able to answer any self-publishing question. Some frequently asked questions about independent authors and self-publishing are answered below.

What is an independent author?

At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs support to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.

So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:

  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You see yourself as the creative director of your books, from conception to completion through publishing and beyond.
  • You expect that status as creative director to be acknowledged in any partnership your negotiate, whether a paid author-service, or in a deal with trade-publisher or agent e.g. if you have an established author platform, you should receive a higher royalty rate and advance than an author who does not.
  • You recognise that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which needs to move from seeing the author purely as a resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as a creative director, with much to offer — and be rewarded for — in each step of the publishing process.
  • You are proud of your indie status and carry that self-respect into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to benefit all writers.