Alliance of Independent Authors Launches at London Book Fair

by | Apr 23, 2012

As interest has continued to grow in self-publishing in the past few years, thousands of writers have jumped in to test the waters.

Some have had a good experience and sold books, made friends and learned a lot of new things they never knew before about books and the world of publishing.

Others, not so much. There’s a constant stream of stories about authors who ended up at the wrong place, perhaps lured in by strategic and emotional advertising. Now they are stuck, out thousands of dollars and often with a book that just can’t be sold.

But self-publishing is maturing as an industry, too. There are more events designed for self-publishers, more visibility for companies that offer services for them, and a higher profile at industry events.

One of the most welcome of these is the launch last week at the London Book Fair of the Alliance of Independent Authors (AIA).

self-publishing

What makes this different is that it has been set up by its founder, Orna Ross, as a nonprofit educational organization. Here’s the mission statement from the AIA website:

Mission: The Alliance of Independent Authors is a global, nonprofit, collaborative collective of independent self-publishing writers. We invite such writers to join together in a spirit of mutual co-operation, empowerment and service to the reading and writing community.

The Alliance is committed to being a force for solidarity, mutual respect and active collaboration within the writing, publishing and book-selling sectors. As well encouraging ethics and excellence in writing, printing, publication and promotion, our aim is to promote, support, advocate for and advance the interests of independent, self-publishing authors.

In the long tradition of reading and writing communities, the Alliance supports free speech, free expression and the equality and dignity of all — regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation and is outspoken in defence of artistic freedom, human rights and social justice. It is within this context that we place our core mission: the democratisation of writing and publishing.

I was invited by Orna to be an advisor to the group, and I was happy to accept. A few weeks later I had the chance to meet and talk to Orna while she was here on a visit, and I’m optimistic about the prospects for the AIA.

self-publishingOrna has already recruited quite a few experts to advise members, and she has set the membership fee at a very reasonable level. It seems to me that groups like this prosper if they can reach a critical mass of membership, although it’s hard to say in advance what that will be.

But there’s ample evidence in the world of self-publishing that organizations like AIA and our own Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and local groups like BAIPA, PALA and many others can be critical to your success, and to avoiding the most damaging mistakes on the road to publication.

Other benefits promised to members of AIA include:

  • Self-Publishing Advice & Guidance
  • Member Meetups & Self-Publishing Contacts
  • Encouraging Self-Publishing Excellence
  • News & Information
  • Advocacy for Self-Publishing Writers
  • Member Discounts & Incentives

If this sounds interesting to you, go over to the AIA website and check it out.

And let me know what you think. Is education and community like this helpful to you as an indie author?

More

Listen to Radio Litopia‘s report on the launch: Shiny, Happy, Publishing People

Read Joanna Penn‘s report from the London Book Fair, including a charming video about the AIA launch.

Photo by ChrisGoldNY

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

13 Comments

  1. Orna Ross

    Hi Joel and gang! Firstly thanks Joel for drawing your readers attention to our launch. I’d just like to address the issue of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ — and agree with James and others that such polarities are unhelpful.

    A lot of the media hype about ebooks versus pbooks, authors versus publishers, is just that. Hype. A phoney war. Any good book – ebook or pbook – is always a collaborative effort. And lots of writers are now choosing the hybrid model — self-publishing for one title, trade for another.

    The publishing industry has done a great job of bringing books to appreciative readers for centuries. In the old model, though, the writer was like a resource to be mined. What technology has done is changed that dynamic. Now the two parties meet more as equal partners.

    Already we are encouraging our members to seek new kinds of financial arrangements with subsidiary rights agents and publishers, where risks and rewards are shared in a different way to the traditional royalty arrangements, which were generally unfavourable to writers.

    What was palpable at London Book Fair was that self publishing was bringing home a question for those involved in the trade: what value are we bringing in this new landscape of empowered authorship?
    This is good for writers.

    The Alliance hopes to facilitate many mutually beneficial partnerships — while also recognising that many of our authors are happiest going it alone.

    Reply
    • James

      The Alliance hopes to facilitate many mutually beneficial partnerships — while also recognising that many of our authors are happiest going it alone.

      Thanks, Orna. That still sounds like a false dichotomy to me: “partnerships” or “go it alone”. One of my points above (and of a few other commenters) is that smart writers don’t do either/or–they do what fits the current project.

      But, to simplify–when I’m asked to join a professional organization, my first question is always “what can I get here that I can’t get any other way”? So far, it sounds like I can form partnerships, share knowledge, network and ally with other authors anytime I want, via many other (free) methods. I’m always willing to reevaluate later, though, and probably will.

      Reply
  2. Michael

    I agree $99 seems steep, given the vague features and benefits. It’s not like the WGA giving you medical benefits. A bit of a chicken-and-egg, maybe? Trading on a reputation they haven’t established yet? (Not saying they won’t or can’t, but getting there is tricky…)

    Totally agree with James on the “us and them”. It sometimes sounds like the US 2-party political system. Is self-publishing until you get a 3-book deal from Random House a bad thing? Selling out? I don’t think so.

    The other point about self-publishing growing and (more importantly) maturing as an industry couldn’t be more true. I just attended the LA Times Book Fair at USC yesterday, and indie/self publishers were out in full force. Many of their booths/presentations were far more professional looking than they’ve been at the same event in years past.

    Reply
  3. Bob Mayer

    Sounds like a lot of things an author can do on their own.

    Sort of like self-publishing.

    Reply
  4. Laura

    I think anything that helps us learn and navigate through the confusing maze of the publishing world is helpful.

    My first book will be self-published, not because I am against traditional publishing, but because the material is timely and waiting for two or three years to see it published will make portions of it obsolete.

    That being said, I think there is room for all types of organizations. Yes, there will always be some overlap. It is up to the subscriber to find which best fits their needs. It’s the same with anything we choose to engage in whether it be reading magazines, certain genres of literature, or buying a car.

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  5. Sheila Jeffries

    Hi,
    This sounds exciting. I am about to publish Solomon’s Tale with Matador, and , after 12 books in mainstream, I’ve found the self publishing journey
    liberating and inspiring ! The freedom to publish in my own voice a book written from the heart. We have high hopes for Solomon’s Tale and we are already networking it in America. I’d love to join you please. I did try to do it on line through the website, but it wouldn’t go. Please do email me and I will offer encouragement to other writers if it helps.

    Reply
  6. James

    It’s a great idea, but there’s one big problem with it for me: it furthers the “us vs. them” mentality around self-publishing. Smart authors are open to publishing however it works best for their work, be it self or managed publishing.

    In other words, plenty of folks will decide “I am only a self-publishing author”, but many others will say “I am an author who publishes in the most advantageous way possible, book by book”. Like Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath, and JK Rowling, for three oft-repeated examples.

    Reply
  7. Anthea Lawson

    $99 may seem reasonable to some, but I have to say, I balked. I currently have memberships in SFWA, RWA, and various local chapters. The Alliance of Independent Authors is asking more than any of these long-established professional organizations, and for me, it’s too much right now. (Especially when I get many of the benefits they offer for free from my groups and loops.) Still, I can see how membership in AIA would provide a lot of value for someone who’s just starting out and doesn’t have other support networks or infrastructure.

    That said, it looks like a fine organization and I’ll keep my eye on it. :)

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Good point, Anthea, and since you’re a member of several organizations this may or may not represent a good value for you.

      But some writers organizations restrict membership to traditionally-published authors, don’t they? The AIA is specifically geared for indie authors, so it may appeal more to that group than to othrers.

      Reply
      • Anthea Lawson

        True, many writer’s organizations restrict membership to authors with publishing credentials – except the RWA.

        I do see that the AIA requires a full member to have self-published a novel-length work – but their associate membership (which is a little unclear, at first reading it looked like a ‘students only’ type membership) is $55, which makes a lot more sense. Especially if the point is to help members get to that first self-published book in the first place. :)

        Reply
    • James

      Yep, me too. $100 smells a bit like another professional organization looking to fund itself through high fees and fuzzy promises of professional benefit. Ironically enough, I think this kind of organization (and fee) is increasingly anachronistic. I’ve held two of these for many years–until around 2010, when I canceled both and saved hundreds. I haven’t missed a thing.

      Reply
  8. Turndog Millionaire

    Really love what Orna is doing, it sounds very interesting and I’m sure it will become a huge success. The support she has is big

    I certainly intend to join when i get a little closer to publishing. I think it’s a great place to evolve as a writer and learn about an ever changing publishing industry.

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

    Reply
  9. Michael N. Marcus

    This can be confusing. There is also an Association of Independent Authors: https://www.independent-authors.org/

    And we have both SPAN and SPAWN, and dozens of others.

    Do writers really need so many organizations, and organizations with similar names?

    Michael N. Marcus

    — Newly updated, “Self-Publish Your Book Without Losing Your Shirt: business basics for self-publishing authors,” https://www.amazon.com/dp/0983057273
    — Coming soon: “499 Important Self-publishing Tips for a Penny Apiece” (e-book) https://www.silversandsbooks.com/booksaboutpublishing/499selfpublishingtips.html
    — New: deluxe hardcover edition of “Stories I’d Tell My Children (but maybe not until they’re adults),” https://www.amazon.com/dp/0983057249
    https://www.BookMakingBlog.blogspot.com
    https://www.BookFur.com (information, help and book reviews for authors)
    — Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series: https://www.silversandsbooks.com/booksaboutpublishing.html

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Alliance of Independent Authors Launches at London Book Fair | The Passive Voice - [...] success, and to avoiding the most damaging mistakes on the road to publication.Link to the rest at The Book…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.