Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Orna Ross

Open Up To Indie Authors


I’ve read so much trash in the news about how self-published authors are ruining humanity’s “Literary Heritage” that I’m convinced certain people are quite jealous of Indie writers. Opening Up To Indie Authors

“How dare they decide to publish without the blessing of the Gatekeepers?!”

Well, simply put, they’re quite fed up with what traditional publishers represent.

If you really have no clue about what’s been happening with the Indie author movement, check out my over-100 posts about self-publishing.

And, if you want a more experienced perspective than mine—a writer who’s always been a maverick—you can read what Orna Ross, Founder and Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has to say in, Why Self-publishing Is So Good For Literary Culture.

To encourage you to read her article, let me share a few excerpts:

“Corporate publishers and agents now scour self-publishing sites, hoping to woo writers away from the indie option.”

“Corporate publishing works from a scarcity model, grounded in commercial principles. It selects a very few books to be published, assigns them a value dictated by publishing overheads and supply chain, and protects their value with copyright.”

“Self-publishing works from an abundance model, grounded in creative principles. All books can be published and it is writers and readers who decide on value, based on a wide variety of considerations.”

“This apparent cri de coeur about literary values is actually fear of change, often from those who are invested in the old order. And fear of the creative. Creativity is never orderly and neat; it’s colourful and chaotic and kaleidoscopic and we need a publishing scene that acknowledges, and is prepared to be more reflective of, that truth.”

This past April, Alli launched their Opening Up To Indie Authors Campaign.

Here’s the campaign in a nutshell:

“Festivals, awards, libraries, bricks and mortar bookstores and writing associations all are traditional bastions of the world of letters and with good reason. Finding ways to build positive connections and relationships with these places can be of huge benefit for you and your books – as they offer your work the crucial exposure to readers who are just waiting to discover their next good read.”

Obviously, the “you” in that statement is the self-published or Indie author; and, they’ve published a Guidebook for Indies to help them engage the traditional arenas of literary activity.

How the Guidebook aids writers:

  • “By helping indie authors better understand how the book trade operates, including retailers, events organisers, libraries, awards programmes and reviewers
  • “By making clear that the best modern self-published books meet the quality standards expected from the best trade-published work”

This guide is also aimed at those who work in the literary, publishing and books industries: award bodies, book fairs and conferences, libraries, literary festival and event organisers, retailers, reviewers and anyone who acts as a bridge between writer and reader.”

And, I especially encourage you to Sign Their Petition.

After you sign it, the page changes to an opportunity to widen your influence with a contribution that helps spread the word on Change.org.

Even if you don’t read the book or sign the petition, your ideas and feelings about this movement are very welcome in the Comments :-)
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The Ethics of Publishing


Readers, Writers, Publishers… 

Publishing

Image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nkzs

Each depends on the other two

Yet, Traditional Publishing has taken little real account of who they depend on and is experiencing no end of problems

Yesterday’s post featured a call for authors to stand up taller and demand long-overdue change in the publishing industry.

And, the Self-Publishing Phenomenon is learning to walk and may yet run rings around the Legacy Gatekeepers.

I’ve even written a post called, Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?

So

Turning to an article on the Alliance of Independent Authors‘ blog—Opinion: Orna Ross asks “What is publishing for”?—we find this statement:

“Neglect of authors has never run higher in publishing, revealed in language like ‘slush pile’ and ‘list culling’. Free market ideologies run the show and supermarkets and bookstore chains dominate, deciding in advance which books will have the best chance of success, on purely commercial grounds; telling publishers what price to sell at, how many copies to print, what to put on the cover, what to call the books and even what to put inside them.”

And, lest self-publishing authors gloat, she also says:

“But this is not a trade-only phenomenon. Indie authors also talk too often in commercial, and not often enough in creative, terms. Constant checking of stats, a cyber flurry over the latest indie to make a killing on Kindle and, most worryingly at the moment, a  relentless pressure to work faster and longer, that is at odds with creative rhythms, and that is no guarantee of success.”

And, putting Readers right where they belong—as prime movers of the best promotion method in the world—she says [bolding by me]:

“An over-emphasis  on money is a  distortion of our business, of what we do and why we do it. The publishing business is a creative business. That means it’s changeable, mercurial, hard to pin down. The only thing that sells books for sure is word-of-mouth and what sets that off for a particular title is, to a large degree, a mystery.”

Reading the whole article would be educational for Readers, Writers, and Publishers—if they desire a dose of clear Reality :-)
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“What IS An Indie Author?”


Yesterday, I published the post, Why Would An Author Want To Be Independent?, which had two videos exploring the benefits of “self-publishing”.

Today, I’ll let you in on something that turned my interest strongly toward an organization mentioned yesterday—The Alliance of Independent Authors—better known as ALLi.

As some of you know, I’ve focused my “social networking” on Google Plus (though I consider this blog to be a social network).

I’d circled ALLi to see their posts and discovered one called What IS An Indie Author <— That link is to the post on G+ –> here’s one to their blog post on the same topic

That blog post listed ALLi’s qualifiers for calling oneself an Indie.

In the G+ post, I made this comment:

“I notice the first ‘definitive’ statement is:
‘You have self-published at least one book.’
What is ALLi’s definition of ‘self-published’?”

Orna Ross, the Founder of ALLi, made this reply:

“Essentially, that the author paid and was the creative director of the book.”

I thanked her, then received this reply:

“You’ve actually sparked an entire debate in the office, Alexander, which led to this: Put The Author At The Centre, Not The Publisher.”

The Comments on that blog post, that my simple question apparently spawned, are interesting and quite varied

I do recommend reading both blog posts on the ALLi site but here’s a bit of that last one:

“Let’s talk terminology — a subject that’s been exercising minds around ALLi Towers of late.  And for the purposes of this post, three particular terms.

“* What to call authors who publish their own work?

“* What to call those who publish the work of others?

“* What to call those who help authors to publish?”

Before the terms for those categories are revealed, an interesting definition of “Publishing” is given.

Then comes their new, defining terminology:

“* An author who publishes his or her own work = Author-Publisher.

“* An individual or company that invests in work they haven’t written themselves with a view to making a profit = Trade-Publisher.

“* An individual/company that provides services — jacket & page design; editorial & proofing; printing & formatting; marketing & promotion for an upfront fee = Author-Service.”

As I said, the Comments on that post are varied

Orna shows great skill in her responses to a few comments that, less wisely handled, could have started a CommentWar :-)

My TakeAway (besides that ALLi is a fine organization) is an acute awareness that my comments, though seemingly neutral, can fuel another’s deep thought
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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