Orna RossAround the world, book publishing is undergoing transformation – and the change is not only to business models and technologies, but also to human lives.

Consider the example of Irish-born, London-dwelling author Orna Ross. She felt the experience of self-publishing her work as “radically empowering,” and she was inspired to want to empower others like her in the same way. In April 2012, Ross led the launch of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) at the London Book Fair. At the time, self-published authors were on the outside looking in at Earl’s Court; just two years later, bestselling authors and self-publishing vendors have moved to the center of attention at the London Book Fair. Later this month for BookExpo America, the Alliance debuts the 2014 edition of its guide, Choosing a Self-publishing Service.

“We found it useful in ALLi to make a distinction between the person who self-publishes a book for family or friends or for personal expression and who doesn’t really expect to sell a lot of books, and the person who wants to make this their career, who wants to actually become a full-time working writer and publisher,” Ross tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “When you become an author publisher, you are essentially entering into a partnership or a number of partnerships. You’re going into the collaboration business. Almost nobody can produce a good book on their own. You need input from other professionals like designers and editors and beta readers and reviewers.”

Choosing a Self-publishing ServiceIn 2013, The Bookseller, Britain’s trade magazine for the publishing industry, named Orna Ross to its list of “The 100 Most Influential People in Publishing.” Orna Ross worked for 20 years in media and publishing, and published fiction and non-fiction with both small and corporate publishing houses before striking out on her own in 2011. She is author of the Go Creative! series, which teaches the application of creative principles and practices to everyday life.

The Alliance of Independent Authors offers advice, support, education, contacts and community to author-publishers and enlists a global team of advisors and partners to foster ethics and excellence in self-publishing and encourage success. Advisors include Mark Coker and Joel Friedlander – both previous guests on Beyond the Book – as well as Tom Chalmers, founder of Legend Press and IPR License, who will appear at BEA’s uPublish U on a panel with CCC’s Skott Klebe on Saturday, May 31.

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