A non-profit body representing the interests of self-published authors will launch this spring. Author and former literary agent Orna Ross is readying the The Alliance of Independent Authors for launch internationally, with its website set to go live within weeks.
She said: "We will be speaking up on behalf of independent authors, and making links with booksellers, wholesalers, agents and legacy publishers, so people have an idea of what our creative needs are. It requires a change of attitude both in writers and in other players. In the past, the author was a resource to be mined, but indie authorship is about meeting the publisher as a partner."
The organisation intends to have an international membership, and hopes to attract 500 members in its first year, organising a biannual conference and monthly meetings for members, as well as providing a helpline, newsletters, and advice on issues such as payment and contracts. It will be funded by membership fees.
Ross previously ran writing school and literary agency Font in Dublin, and published two novels with Penguin before becoming a self-published author. "The real significant change [in the industry] is how are publishers and agents going to add value now? We all need to rethink that . . . I think we are only starting. It's a truly revolutionary thing," she said. She added that independent authors have the opportunity now to build a career for themselves over time, using the internet to develop and market their work globally. The "moment in the sun" given to an author by a traditional publisher is "not enough" for the majority, she said.
The society's name has been altered from The Society of Independent Authors, after representations from The Society of Authors that the similarity between the two names could create confusion.
SoA deputy general secretary Kate Pool said that increasing numbers of their traditionally published members now also sometimes self-publish. Self-published authors can join the SoA as associates, becoming eligible for full membership if they sell more than 200 copies a year, or if they are also published traditionally.