The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has chosen Book Expo America week to launch a campaign to encourage the book trade, literary festivals and book award organisations to ‘open up’ to the self-publishing community. In a week where several book trade CEO’s spoke openly at BEA about the challenges and threats facing the industry (and happily pointed fingers at who they feel is to blame), ALLi focussed more on a constructive campaign to petition trade organisations and associations in the UK, USA and Canada to do more to acknowledge the value and diversity of self-published books.
The ALLi Petition specifically states:
“While recognising that there are challenges in incorporating such writers, it has become a necessity if bookstores, libraries, literary events and reviewers are to be inclusive of writers and cogniscent of readers’ requirements.”
ALLi is aiming to amass a petition of 10,000 signatures and the organisation works directly with its members to provide professional guidance, advice and resources to encourage self-published authors and service providers to adhere to professional standards of quality and ethics. Self-published author and ALLi member, Dan Holloway, is currently leading the ‘Open Up to Indies’ campaign on behalf of ALLi and he spoke to The Bookseller magazine on Thursday about the petition and its aims.
“I would like the Booksellers Association in the UK to encourage booksellers to recognise that indie bookshops and self-published writers are a natural partnership, and to work together with writers to exploit that partnership to their mutual benefit.”
Holloway also urged booksellers to consider self-published books on their individual merits and not ‘how they are produced.’
Tim Godfray of the Booksellers Association in the UK responded to the ALLi petition by saying:
“We would be happy to speak to ALLi about how we can help each other in the future. Ultimately it is up to individual bookshops about who they choose to stock, but the first step is to get booksellers and writers together, and we can help with that.”
Godfray is right to make the important point that whether publishers and official associations take a constructive and inclusive approach to the best of self-published books, ultimately booksellers and the organisers of literary awards and festivals will always have the final word, and that is something not specifically exclusive to the self-publishing community. Outside of quality, many booksellers will not stock self-published titles because printed stocks are only available through POD (print on demand) distribution without standard trade returnability terms.
You can view and sign the ALLi petition here.