ALLi Calls on Creative Industry Bodies in Six Countries to Include Entrepreneurial Author Training and Support in Literature, Publishing and Business Programs
Ten years after the widespread adoption of self-publishing by the author community, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is calling on the governments in six individual publishing territories—Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and US—to recognize the entrepreneurial nature of the new indie author. And to acknowledge the social, cultural and economic contribution of their work.
“Governments must acknowledge the increasing business, knowledge, cultural and social contributions of indie authors,” says Orna Ross, director and founder of ALLi. “It’s time creative industry leaders, at all levels, stepped up and engaged in global analysis and support of these pioneering, global author-businesses.”
“We are currently investigating what we can do to better support sustainable culture sector careers,” said the Hon. Grant Robertson, New Zealand Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, in a letter to ALLi. “In carrying out the policy work on this, my officials have encountered the trend that you describe in your message regarding the increasing significance of independent authors and self-publishing with the literary and publishing landscape.”
Government bodies, including ministries responsible for business, entrepreneurship, culture, intellectual property, the knowledge economy, and related industry organizations must get better at identifying, tracking, quantifying, and supporting independent authors and other creative digital micro-businesses.
“Author earnings in the trade publishing sector have been plummeting while publisher profits increase,” says Ross. “And that is a concern. However, unless we also look at the vibrant self-publishing sector, we miss out on the true picture. Independent and self-published authors are excluded from much current research and analysis, giving us highly skewed data and leading to widespread misinformation.”
“The creative economy… is highly transformative in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. (It) also generates non-monetary value that contributes significantly to achieving people-centered, inclusive and sustainable development.” – Greenfund’s Creative Economy Report
Authors are part of this transformative creative economy, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in all six targeted territories.
Digital micro-publishing businesses operate at the intersection between technology, culture, the broader economy, and wider society. Their creative products and services, including books and other text, video, audio, and the associated publishing expertise—design, editorial, digital distribution and marketing—rely on new knowledge and skills and require the ability to seize new opportunities.
“I can assure you that the New Zealand Government wants to see our cultural sector supported and growing sustainably,” said Associate Minister Robinson. “Critical to achieving this is ensuring that New Zealand artists and creative practitioners are able to achieve sustainable careers.”
If we are to help authors to succeed in the digital age, we need governments to set up new programs to provide business and mindset training for authors. Such training and support move authors beyond the realm of traditional grants and aid into an investment structure that is more of a benefit to them, and the broader economy, in the long term. Successful independent authors run sustainable and scalable businesses that hire other publishing professionals, earn more income, and pay more tax.
The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is the only global, non-profit association for self-publishing writers. ALLi aims to foster excellence and ethics in self-publishing; to support authors in the making and selling of their books; and to advocate for author independence through publishing skills, creative entrepreneurship and digital business development.
- The government of New Zealand has invited ALLi to make a submission as it reviews its copyright legislation.
- One in four U.S. readers (the most developed digital market) now read e-books. Self-publishing accounts for 24-34% of all ebook sales in each of the largest English-language markets.
- Self-publishing platforms take English-language ebooks into 190 countries (2018)
- Of the top-selling ebook authors in the US (the most developed self-publishing market), 28% are indie.
- As of 2018, 8% of ALLi members have sold more than 50,000 books in the past two years.
- Orna Ross recently gave evidence to the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Writers’ Group as part of its inquiry into author earnings on behalf of ALLi. ALLi’s evidence centered on the different challenges faced by independent authors compared to authors following the traditional publishing model.
- In the US, the arts and cultural sector contributed over $763.6 billion to the economy in 2015—more than the agriculture, transportation, or warehousing sectors. Of that amount, $22 billion was added by independent artists, writers, and performers. – National Endowment for the Arts
- Publishing in the US is a $1 trillion industry – Small Business Development Centre Network
- In the UK in 2016, the creative sector contributed £91.8bn gross value added (GVA), which was bigger than the automotive, life sciences, aerospace, oil and gas sectors combined. – Creative Industries Federation
- The direct economic contribution of UK publishing industry is £3.2bn (2017) – The Frontier Economics Report for the UK Publisher’s Association
- In Canada, culture’s economic impact is significant, contributing $54.6 billion per year to the economy and providing 630,000 jobs for Canadians. – Creative Canada Policy Framework
- Book publishing in Canada is a $1.7 billion industry – Ontario Media Development Corporation
- In Ireland, the creative sector represents only about three percent of total Irish employment. “The creative sector in Ireland are under recognized, under-valued and has difficulty getting financial support.” – Frank Crowley, Cork University Business School
- Bookselling contributes €132m to Irish economy
- Australia’s creative economy is growing at nearly twice the rate of the Australian rest of the economy – An Exploding Creative Economy Shows Innovation Policy Shouldn’t Focus Only on STEM
- Employment in the creative services sector is growing on average by nearly three times the rate of the Australian workforce – QUT Digital Media Research Centre
- In New Zealand, creative industries contribute more than $1.7 billion to the economy (2015). – Employment and national GDP impacts of music, book publishing, film and television and games in New Zealand
- The book publishing industry directly contributed $167m to national gross domestic product (GDP) in New Zealand (2015) – Economic Contribution of the New Zealand Book Publishing Industry 2015
ALLi Press Manager