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Alliance of Independent Authors Dublin launched

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Sarah Downey

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The rising popularity of self-publishing is evident as more and more writers choose to take the ‘indie route. Sarah Downey looked at the emergence on the publishing scene of a brand new resource for writers, ALLIA.
The London Book Fair 2012 saw the recent launch of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLIA), a new non-profit organisation for writers. Popular author, former literary agent and founder of the organisation Orna Ross described ALLIA as the “latest indication of how online technologies are radically shifting power structures.”

The Irish branch  of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLIA) had its inaugural meeting in Dublin on Tues 24th April, led by ALLIA founder and Director, Orna Ross (right), and Irish advisor to the Alliance, Vanessa O’Loughlin of The Inkwell Group and www.writing.ie.

The formation of the Irish branch of ALLIA has followed hot on the heels of the London Book Fair 2012 success. This featured key digital providers Amazon, Kobo and Blurb UK and a diverse panel of successful self-publishing authors including John Logan, Linda Gillard, from Texas, League of Extraordinary Authors founder Joni Rodgers,  and Words with Jam’s Dan Holloway explaining ‘How I Went Indie — And Why’.

“That LBF should open its arms to a self-publishing writers organisation is testament to the fact that we are in the middle of a literary revolution,” says Alliance Founder, Irish novelist Orna Ross. “Self-publishing is now the preferred choice for increasing numbers of writers who find they can make a living from their writing without the need of an agent or publisher.”

Founded in response to Orna Ross’s own experience as a trade-published author turned indie, ALLIA hopes to educate the literary and publishing sector about how and why so many writers are now making that choice, alerting them to writers creative and financial needs in the new publishing landscape. The Alliance is a global organisation with branches already springing up in London, San Diego and San Francisco offering guidance and help, connection and collaboration, a host of benefits and incentives, and world-class advisors including Joel FriedlanderMark CokerVictoria StraussVanessa O’Loughlin,Joanna Penn and Jane Friedman.

The Alliance hopes to foster mutually beneficial partnerships with distributors, rights agents, indie presses and booksellers; to encourage excellence and to be an advocate and campaigning voice for the indie author, within and outside the publishing industry.

The Irish branch of ALLIA will meet monthly in Dublin and can be contacted by emailinginfo@allianceindependentauthors.org or find out where the nearest meet-up to you will be held by clicking here

As Orna Ross says, “Such collaborations between writers, together with the creative potential offered by new technologies means, in the words of Thom Kephart of Amazon at the ALLIA launch: ‘There has never been a better time to be a author.’ ”

Dubliner Catherine Brophy who blogs at Rant In Ireland explains why she was at the first Alliance meet up:

“Publishers and agents tell me that they love what I write.   Then they ask the killer question, “What’s the love interest?” “It’s not that kind of novel.”  I reply, “but there’s plenty of sex.”

I tell them what the novel is about and get resonses like ‘It’s a tough climate…’ or ‘I’m not sure it’s for our list…’

So I came to the conclusion that they only way to get my work out there is to e-publish.

But how do you do it?   Yes I know, there are savannahs of information available on Google but, which is the good information?    Which is reliable? Who can you trust? Who is out there, lurking in cyberspace, waiting to snatch at your ill-informed purse?

Everyone said I should start a blog, so I did.  And they said I should go on Facebook. So I did. I started telling stories in Milk and Cookies and Yarnspinners because I love telling stories and I thought it might help build a readership. But I still feel quite lost in the ocean of cyberspace.  

When glitches happen I’m never sure if it’s because I did something stupid or it’s just one of those glitches.   When people tell me that it’s easy, that it’s only a couple of clicks, I want to scream NOOOOOOOO!   It’s not just a couple of clicks, it’s a couple of the CORRECT clicks and I don’t know what they are. When they tell me to play around with it, I want to beat their heads off a wall. I have played around. It’s the best way I know to lose HOURS OF WORK. So, when I read about Orna Ross and the Alliance of Independent Authors I couldn’t wait to get to the meeting.  

We had our first meeting last night. I was there. It was great. We met, we talked, we exchanged e-mails and to-day I feel refreshed and re-booted. Now, at last, there might be a cyber-lifebelt in sight.”

To see Catherine storytelling in real life, check out www.storymaps.ie and click on the Gaiety Theatre.

Shane Fitzpatrick told writing.ie:

I went into last night not expecting much, but was stunned by the wealth of knowledge and experience shared by everyone at the meeting. The openness and honesty about the industry, shown initially by Orna and continued by everyone around the table, was truly amazing. 
Many around the table had previous success with either self-publishing or had stories about how weird and wonderful the print industry can be. It was enlightening to say the very least! I probably was one of the most inexperienced writers sitting around the table but found the entire evening invaluable. 
Getting tips and advice from people who have had good and bad times within the industry, was fascinating and hopefully could steer me right in the future. Listening to Mick Rooney, Orna Ross and many of the people last night gave me insight I never had about self-publishing. 
For example – I never really thought that I would need a structural editor if I wished my initial book to be a success as an ebook. I always thought that a graphic designer would or could help with a cover design, but nearly everyone told me that you would need a specific ebook cover designer. 
Then also a very helpful tip from author Adrian White – of starting up an online blog. I researched it thoroughly today and have a good idea for a daily blog to get my name out there in the virtual world. 
The entire night was extremely helpful and informative to me. If there are future meetings of the Dublin Chapter, I will do my very utmost to attend to keep my batteries charged .

To find out more about the Alliance of Independent Authors, visit their website.

About the author

(c) Sarah Downey April 2012

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