A manifesto for self-publishing authors

A manifesto for self-publishing authors

"I do not ask anyone for permission to publish." The founding director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), Orna Ross joined us here at The FutureBook in August to explain her limited-edition "Secret Rose" publishing project timed to #Yeats2015 observances. Now, she answers our call for manifestos on the future of the book business. "I am proud of my self-publishing status." That indie spirit surely is something she'll bring to a special role in conference plans we'll announce Tuesday, 8th September. (Be sure to check The FutureBook for details.)  And we're glad to have her experienced perspective here today, as she writes, "I can afford, more than anyone else, to rethink the 'book', and what it means to 'publish' and to be 'a publisher'." — Porter Anderson

I hereby declare:

That I will not renege on the best publishing opportunities for authors ever and I will not allow the publishing industry to renege on its responsibilities to writers and readers.

I publish the best books I am capable of. I first learn how to meet trade publishing standards in editorial and design, formatting and production, marketing and promotion, and then think about how I can creatively extend those limits. In doing the best I can, I give myself permission to make mistakes, to fail, to try again and "fail better".

I publish in as many formats, and on as many platforms, as possible, to my own benefit and the health of the industry as a whole.

I recognise that author-publishing success is dependent on digital, and that POD technology and bookstore distribution does not yet allow self-publishers to thrive in print (except perhaps in premium  editions, sold direct online). I therefore make ebooks my primary focus and audiobooks secondary, until such time as print technology and distribution better serves self-publishers. I consider that print may, for now, be most usefully treated as a subsidiary right.

I do not ask anyone for permission to publish, or for a pat on the back, or for a contract that insults my skills and existing readership. Instead, I ask questions about how paid publishing services and trade publishers can better support authors and serve readers.

I acknowledge that I am more nimble, and closer to the reader, than any other player in publishing. I understand this gives  me more power than any other individual publishing stakeholder (though only if I claim it). I can afford to be magnanimous to others who may feel threatened by self-publishing. I can afford, more than anyone else, to rethink the “book”, and what it means to “publish” and to be "a publisher”.

I am proud of my self-publishing status. 

I take that pride into all my dealings with other publishing professionals, for my own benefit and that of other authors and our readers.

We're interested in having your "Five-Minute Manifesto" for The Future of the Book Business. In his article, Those magnificent manifestos, The Bookseller editor Philip Jones renews his call for the FutureBook audience to reflect on five years of digital "to challenge the customs we have begun to adopt." The response is so robust that I've extended our deadline for submissions of manifestos to Monday (7th September). See below for details and a list of those published to date. Your statement, preferably no more than 500 words, should be sent to Porter.Anderson@theBookseller.com. Please send along a headshot and short bio, as well.

And mark your diary for The FutureBook Conference, 4th December, The Mermaid, London. More details are coming Tuesday 8th September.

#FutureBook15 manifestos:

Main image - iStockphoto: Almir1968