This blog is run by The Alliance of Independent Authors, a non-profit association of the world’s best self-publishing authors and advisors (see below).

We have four categories of member: Associate/Student; Author; Partner and Professional.

Our core principles are excellence and inclusiveness. People self-publish for many reasons and all who want to do it well are invited to join our diverse, supportive and friendly community. Join Here.

ALLi Directors

    Orna Ross

    Founder and Director

    In 2011, in what she describes as the best move of her writing life, Orna took her rights back from her publisher, Penguin, to republish her books herself, with the titles and treatment she had originally envisaged for them. The experience led her to launch The Alliance of Independent Authors the following year at London Book Fair. Having enjoyed a 20-year career in media publishing and creative teaching, mentoring and facilitation, she is greatly excited by how author-publishing is now democratizing the business of books. Orna writes novels and poems and the Go Creative! series, which teaches the application of creative principles and practices to everyday life. “What I love most about author-publishing is the creative freedom,” she says. “You become the creative director of the book from inspiration to publication — and beyond. What I love most about ALLi is being in daily connection with such an engaged, talented, forward-thinking group of authors who are changing not only the status of writers in the industry but also, and more importantly, what we read — and how.” Orna blogs regularly on her Author Blog, on ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice blog and for many other websites and publications.

        Philip Lynch

        Resources Director

        Philip joined ALLi in 2013, bringing to the organisation 25 years of experience in large multinational environments within the paper industry, where he worked across a variety of managerial roles. All his previous jobs shared the collaborative and consultative approach he has brought to ALLi. Philip works closely with Orna on strategy, service provision, financial planning and day-to-day operations, as well as overseeing the Member Outreach and Watchdog Desks. He is charged with ensuring ALLi’s resources are best used for the benefit of its members.

        “I’m excited to be working in this new arena, where technologies are radically transforming behaviours, ways of working and routes to the reader,” he says, “It’s a pleasure to be involved such a vibrant community that’s so open to change and so supportive of each other.”

          ALLi Advisors

          Jane Friedman

          USA Advisor

          Jane is a former publishing & media exec who now teaches e-media full-time at the University of Cincinnati. She has spoken on writing, publishing, and the future of media at more than 200 events since 2001, including South by Southwest, BookExpo America, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Visit her blog for writers at

          “Self-publishing is for those with entrepreneurial spirit.” -Jane On Self-Publishing

          “You’re ready to go indie if you understand that it’s like embarking on a new business venture.” -Jane’s Top Tip

          Joel Friedlander

          Book Designer

          Joel is an award-winning book designer, a blogger, and the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish. Joel is the proprietor of Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California, a publishing services company where he’s helped launch many self-publishers since 1994. He also writes a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book at and is the creator of the new online training course, The Self-Publishing Roadmap.

          “Self-publishing gives you an opportunity to change the world, one reader at a time, but you have to treat your work with the respect it deserves.” – Joel On Self-Publishing

          Keep learning and don’t give up, book publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.” – Joel’s Top Tip

          Mark Coker

          Book Distribution

          Mark founded Smashwords in 2008 to change the way books are published, marketed and sold. Smashwords has grown to become the leading ebook distributor serving indie authors, small presses and literary agents and The Wall Street Journal has named Mark one of the “Stars of Self-Publishing.” Mark is co-author along with his wife, Lesleyann, of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the behind-the-scenes world of daytime television soap operas. It was Mark’s experience trying to get Boob Tube published that inspired him to start Smashwords. Mark is a long time angel investor and advisor to technology and media startups and a contributing columnist for the Huffington Post, where he writes about ebooks and the future of publishing.

          Dana Lynn Smith

          Book Marketing

          An industry veteran with 17 years of publishing experience, Dana helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her acclaimed Savvy Book Marketer blog, newsletter, how-to guides, and private coaching. She is the author of eight book marketing guidebooks, including How to Get Your Book Reviewed and How to Sell More Books on Amazon. Dana also develops book marketing plans for authors, conducts training programs, and speaks on publishing and marketing topics.

          “There’s never been a better time to be an author!” -Dana On Self-Publishing

          “A written marketing plan gives you a blueprint for promoting your book and keeps you focused on what’s most important.” -Dana’s Top Tip

          Mark McGuinness

          Creative Advisor

          Mark is a poet who earns his living as a coach to artists, indie writers and other creative entrepreneurs. He is an esteemed blogger at his own websites Lateral Action and Wishful Thinking as well as The 99%, Copyblogger and other important blogs for creatives.

          Self-publishing is just getting started.” -Mark On Self-Publishing

          “Accept that promoting your work is part of the job. And bring your creativity to that part as much as to writing your books.” -Mark’s Top Tip

          Vanessa O’Loughlin

          Irish Advisor

          Vanessa runs The Inkwell Group, Ireland’s leading and most comprehensive publishing consultancy, and is the founder of the national Irish writing resources website. Working closely with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature on projects such as The National Emerging Writer Programme and the Great Writing, Great Places series, Vanessa aims to bridge the gap between aspiring and published writers bringing Ireland’s top authors to guide and inspire new writers. As a literary scout she has launched the careers of many new writers.

          “Self Publishing puts writers in control. It is a unprecedented opportunity for all writers to see their work in print, whatever their aim or target reader.” -Vanessa On Self-Publishing

          “Professional editing is crucial for all writers. Edit, Edit, Edit. This is your opportunity to shine, ensure your words are polished to a gleam.” -Vanessa’s Top Tip

          Joanna Penn

          UK Advisor

          Joanna is the independent author of action-adventure thriller novels, Pentecost (Feb 2011) and Prophecy (Jan 2012). Both books have been Amazon bestsellers in the Action-Adventure category and Pentecost has sold over 22,000 copies. Joanna is an international speaker and consultant on digital publishing and online marketing. She also runs which helps people write, publish and market their books with useful articles, video, audios and multimedia training packages. The Creative Penn was voted one of the ‘Top 10 Blogs for Writers’ in 2010 and 2011.

          “Indie author-publishing is empowerment for your creativity and expression.” -Joanna On Self-Publishing

          “Spend time getting to know yourself, your goals for your book, your author brand and your target audience so you can make the right decisions about publishing and marketing.” -Joanna’s Top Tip

          Victoria Strauss

          Watchdog Advisor

          Victoria is the author of eight novels for adults and young adults, including the /Stone/ duology and, most recently, /Passion Blue/, a historical fantasy for teens. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in /Writer’s Digest/ and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards. An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Victoria is co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group. She maintains the popular Writer Beware website (, blog (, and Facebook page She received the Service to SFWA Award in 2009 for her work with Writer Beware.

          “Self-publishing is an increasingly viable alternative for new authors seeking an audience and established authors looking to bring older work back into circulation. As with any publishing option, it needs to be undertaken on the basis of knowledge, not hype.” – Victoria On Self-Publishing

          “Learn about your chosen field before jumping into it. Knowledge is your greatest ally and your best defense. An educated author will not only be better able to make the right choices for writing goals but will more easily avoid the schemes and scams that infest the writing world.” -Victoria’s Top Tip

          Rebecca Swift

          Literary Consultant

          Rebecca Swift is a biographer, poet, librettist and editor and Director of The Literary Consultancy (TLC). She has appeared at numerous literary festivals and panels talking about the relationship between writers and the publishing industry, and has taught poetry at West Dean College of Further Education, life-writing for the Hackney Music Development Trust and ‘Approaches to Publication’ for Skyros Writers’ Lab and TLC’s Literary Adventure holiday. She has written and reviewed for The Independent on Sunday and The Guardian.

          “Self-publishing is is now an option for many more writers than ever before, giving writers the chance to find readers — in both likely and unlikely places. This ease of potentially global distribution is radicalising the publishing industry.” – Rebecca On Self-Publishing

          Don’t be over excited by the relative ease of distribution. Continue to think about producing the best book, doing all that is necessary to offer a book that is worthy of your reader. The question of who sets standards, and how literature is judged being opened up, is part of what is radical about digital publishing — but good writers and great writers will still have to put in a good deal of work to achieve their best. Think hard also about whether traditional forms, such as the novel, are necessarily the best for you to express what you want to express. The potential of ebooks to disseminate short form work is exciting, and often in writing, less is more.” – Rebecca’s Top Tip

            David Vandagriff

            Legal Advisor

            David Vandagriff is an intellectual property attorney who works with contracts – negotiating them, writing them, analyzing them and helping clients understand them. He has experience, including litigation experience, with a wide variety of contracts, including contracts with some of the largest technology companies and financial institutions in the world. Currently, in addition to software licensing and general business contracts, David has a particular interest in the types of contracts authors have signed and may be asked to sign, including contracts with publishers and agents. David blog about book contracts and other topics of interest to authors on The Passive Voice —

            “Self-publishing is like the Emancipation Proclamation for authors so long as they watch out for those people and organizations who take advantage of the unwary.”David On Self-Publishing

            “Don’t sign anything you haven’t read and understood because whenever someone asks for your signature, they’re asking you to make a legally-binding commitment.”David’s Top Tip

            S.R. Johannes

            YA Advisor

            S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling teen wilderness thriller series, Untraceable, Uncontrollable and (forthcoming) Unstoppable. After earning an MBA and working in corporate America doing marketing for over 15 years, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She organizes the highly successful indie author online conference, IndieRecon, and is a founder member of author co-operative, The Indelibles.

            “Self publishing is not for everyone but it’s a wonderful option for those who want to have more control in the process.” – Shelley On Self-Publishing

            “As you consider self publishing, first research the industry and understand what you are getting into.”
            – Shelley’s Top Tip

            Tom Chalmers

            Rights Advisor

            Tom Chalmers set-up Legend Press in 2005, a book publisher focused predominantly on mainstream literary and commercial fiction, as well as publishing a small number of non-fiction titles. He has been shortlisted for UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Young Publisher of the Year, UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, and longlisted for the Enterprising Young Brit Awards. In 2008, Chalmers acquired a further publishing company, Paperbooks Publishing, run from the same office, and at the start of 2010 launched Legend Business, a business book imprint. Legend Press has also launched successful self-publishing and writer workshops ventures, now separate companies New Generation Publishing and Write-Connections respectively. In 2011, Legend Press was shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year. In 2012, he launched new venture IPR License, the first global and digital a platform on which to list and license literary rights. Chalmers also speaks regularly on publishing and business and is an Enterprise Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

            “There has never been a better time to be an independent author, although working through all the processes can be a minefield. ALLi is an important flag-bearer for indie authors and undertakes some great work in navigating and supporting authors through the self-publishing process.” -Tom On Self-Publishing

            ALLi Team

              Debbie Young

              Blog Editor

              Debbie joined ALLi in 2012 and became its blog editor in May 2013. She helps other authors increase their book sales via her Off The Shelf consultancy and her handbook Sell Your Books!, published in 2012. A compulsive blogger and book reviewer, she also writes short fiction, memoirs, and magazine articles about books and reading. She previously worked for the UK children’s reading charity “Read for Good” and now lives and works in a small English village as a full-time authorpreneur.

              As part of ALLi, I feel at the cutting edge of the brave new world of self-publishing, in the company of focused, energetic, creative and good-hearted writers across the globe. This is an exciting and inspiring combination that will certainly make me a better writer.”

                  Geraldine Somerset

                  Member Care Manager

                  A self confessed technology lover who trains and teaches in computer software for all levels, Geraldine is a pro with data and databases. As well as keeping on top of this for ALLi, Geraldine is also our Member Care manager, the first point of contact for the organisations and lending support and assisting members wherever she can.

                  “I love working at ALLi because of all the cool things our members are doing — along with the fulfilment and gratification of making a difference.”

                      Karen Lotter

                      Social Media Manager

                      Writer, photographer, workaholic info-junkie, WordPress fan, blogger, aging geek, toyi-toying* optimist, social media trainer and web writer, Karen is based in Durban, on the East coast of South Africa.
                      *A South African war dance used in times of oppression or celebration. – See more at:

                      “I’m enjoying being part of this surge in the world of publishing and part of this very eclectic mix of writers (and partners) across the world, who are taking charge of their own creative product and also helping their peers grow and thrive. In Africa we have a philosophy called “Ubuntu”: “I am because you are”; I see this recognition of inter-dependence in ALLi members. ALLi is there at the beginning of the rising indie curve, so it is a very exciting time to be involved. “

                          Nerys Hudson

                          Press and Media

                          Nerys started in publishing as a bookseller at Dialogue Books in Berlin. Since then, she has written for Writing Magazine, Litro, TimeOut Berlin and NPR Berlin, and also works as Publishing Assistant at The Curved House. At ALLi, Nerys works closely with Orna developing ALLi’s external and internal communications, across marketing, PR and membership outreach to help spread the word about ALLi, members’ books and achievements, and the merits of author-publishing.

                          “It’s a pleasure to be working in such a rapidly evolving time for publishing. The amount of possibilities available to authors and readers make this a great time for people who love stories – and we are delighted to be helping to share ALLi’s stories with the rest of the world.”

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