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).
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.
Orna 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?
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