skip to Main Content

Ethical Self-Publishing Campaign

Our ethical self-publishing  campaign encourages authors and self-publishing services to follow the guiding principles of putting the reader first as well as operating with transparency and courtesy to those with whom they do business.

What we at ALLi are doing

When setting out to self-publish, authors can very quickly become overwhelmed or misled. Many of the people who run author services are knowledgeable, dedicated, helpful and fair; unfortunately, others are clueless, greedy, callous or manipulative.

How do you know who to trust in an unregulated marketplace where …

… the same service with the same deliverables can cost $500 or $15,000?
… useless services are sold at inflated prices?
… one large operation with many imprints and controversial practices can dominate the information stream?

As authors, we too play a part in furthering ethics and excellence in self-publishing by creating quality work and running our businesses with transparency and courtesy.

Ethical issues are bound to arise, and we at ALLi respond to those with support and information so that authors can make informed choices.


Our Services Directory: ALLi vets services for quality, customer service and value for money. Approved services agree to our code of practice and join as Partners to be listed in our Services Directory. From editors to cover designers, our author members can choose self-publishing services safe in the knowledge that they are not being ripped off. We also have a book by John Doppler, Choose the Best Self-Publishing Services, which like all our guidebooks is free to members (available to purchase here by non-members).


Watchdog Desk: Our very own watchdog John Doppler is the first port of call for those who wish to confidentially report on unethical behaviour within the self-publishing industry. ALLi investigates and, where appropriate, acts on reports wherever possible, including issuing warnings to our authors and subscribers.


Knowledge Base: ALLi is committed to continuously providing high quality information and news related to indie publishing, from the basic first steps in the self-publishing process to more advanced topics. We want all authors to have access to the information you need to make well-informed decisions for yourselves and your businesses.


Author Code of Standards and Book Checklist: We share success stories where organisations such as author events and awards have opened up to indie authors, and we encourage indies to make the most of those opportunities so that you can enjoy greater success and visibility throughout the publishing industry.

Current important ethical issues in self-publishing

The latest research to help you make ethical business decisions

ALLi both commissions original independent research (the Indie Author Income Survey) and collates sector data from across the world (the Big Indie Author Data Drop) to bring you the best and most complete source of self-publishing facts and figures, enabling you to make informed ethical decisions about your writing and publishing.


AI in writing and publishing

While ALLi believes that artificial intelligence has already become a useful tool for many authors (for example, Google Translate now allows authors to do research for their books across languages), all new technology has to go through a period of exploration and clarification about how it will be used ethically and legally, for example, in the creation of images and text content. The impacts are broad and complex, and it will take years to address questions related to issues such as copyright, and to fully understand the impact it will have on the livelihood of many creatives.

You’ll find ALLi's current guidelines related to AI at, and you can deep up to date on breaking developments by searching for Artificial Intelligence in our Self-Publishing Advice Centre. It's a topic we'll be returning to frequently.

Author Safety

Authors should respect readers by creating high-quality books, but equally should be respected by readers and be safe to write. Sadly this is not always the case. We have created an author safety guide that we share beyond our own membership, and we recommend that you read and implement it.

How you as an author can both protect yourself and act ethically in your own business

Services Directory

We at ALLi believe that no individual author can do it all themselves—after all, we’re the Alliance of Independent Authors, not the Alliance of Self-Published Authors. To help you put together your perfect publishing team, ALLi vets author services against a range of criteria, including customer service and value for money. We rely on our own assessment, feedback from ALLi Advisors and the wider author community, internet research and sometimes mystery shopping to make our evaluations.

Members: Download your copy in the Member Zone

Knowledge Base

Not sure how to do something or whether there are ethical issues around it? Check out our extensive knowledge base, filled with honest, expert, high-quality information on all possible aspects of self-publishing.

Podcast with 500+ episodes: Listen to them here

Blog with 3000+ posts: Read them here

YouTube channel with 600+ videos: View them here

Watchdog Desk

If you come across people or businesses within the self-publishing world who are behaving in a way you find unethical, please contact our Watchdog Desk. We treat such information confidentially and if, upon investigation, we agree that the actions are unethical, we may take actions such as issuing a warning via our Watchdog Desk or launching or participating in a campaign to address the situation.


You can read about Audiblegate here—the history of the issue as well as practical and proactive next steps to take in this important campaign.

How to be an eco author

As authors, we need to understand our sector’s impact on the planet and actions we can take to be eco-responsible authors; we’ve documented five simple steps you can take here.

Content Accessibility Guidelines

Not only do multiple formats of your books—large print, ebook, and audio—help grow your writing and publishing business, they also make for greater accessibility for readers (and can provide an entrée to organizations like libraries and writing associations as well).

Read this post about ways you can make your work more accessible. For example, have you ever tried using a screen reader to audit your own website? If you haven’t filled in the ‘alt text’—a screen reader will voice for visually impaired users—the result will be an odd pause in the read-out, which may give the impression that something has gone wrong. If you're attending an event such as a festival, ask if the venues are accessible, whether that's relevant to you or not: the more people ask, the more events will provide accessible venues.


Here are some of the questions authors most frequently ask about self-publishing standards and quality.

In the early years of self-publishing, authors didn’t always understand the importance of treating the process as the professional creative endeavour that it is. As indie authors as a whole became more savvy, often thanks to the efforts of professional organizations like ALLi, they gained the knowledge and tools needed to produce books that are just as professionally produced—in some cases, better produced—than those from the trade publishing houses. In many cases, we are hiring the same freelance editors and designers as the biggest traditional publishers.

The relative ease of self-publishing makes it possible to publish low-quality content; it’s the responsibility of each individual author to commit to the appropriate publishing process and to use the tool and knowledge available from sources like ALLi to meet a high standard of excellence.

Digital publishing is expanding writing and reading in all formats: print, ebook, and audio. Despite fears voiced by some when ebooks were first introduced, print books continue to enjoy huge popularity; in fact, readers often purchase the same book from their favorite authors in multiple formats.

Libraries increasingly include audio and ebook editions in their collections, and even some brick-and-mortar bookstores have partnered with audiobook distributors to good advantage.

The efficiency of print-on-demand has made print books available to bookstores without the need for the large, resource-consuming print runs that traditional publishers still rely on.

Showcase your Ethical Author Status

As part of our ethical author focus, we have an author member code of standards, which covers areas such as book promotion, reviews, financial ethics and plagiarism. If you agree to the guiding principles of this code, you can sign up; a badge is available for download to display on your author website to publicly demonstrate your commitment to ethical publishing!
Select a size below and copy the code to embed in your site.

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author Large" target="_blank"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author Medium" target="_blank"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author Small" target="_blank"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author Medium" target="_blank"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author Medium" target="_blank"/></a>

Join our Campaigners mailing list

We would love to enlist your support for ALLi’s Campaigns! Just add your name and email to our Campaigners mailing list. We may solicit your help with one of our campaigns—for example, by sending an email to ask an organization to include indies (we'll provide a template to follow), identifying poor quality awards, or identifying which areas in the indie publishing world you'd like us to focus on next.

Back To Top
×Close search