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Former agent to launch international organization for self-published authors

Just in time for the spring book season, a non-profit organization for self-published authors is getting an international roll-out.

Headed up in London, England, by Orna Nass, an author and former literary agent, The Alliance of Independent Authors will represent the interests of self-published authors in dealings with booksellers, trade publishers, literary agents, and wholesalers. According to Nass, who is quoted by The Bookseller, the purpose of the group is to raise awareness among industry stakeholders of the “creative needs” of writers who take a DIY approach to book publishing.

“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,” Nass says.

The alliance’s website should be live in the coming weeks, and Nass hopes to sign up about 500 members in the organization’s first year. She intends to offer “a biannual conference and monthly meetings for members, as well as providing a helpline, newsletters, and advice on issues such as payment and contracts.”

Though there are some organizations specifically tailored to self-published authors in Canada, they seem few and far between, and their activity levels are anything but regular. (For example, the Independent Authors and Illustrators of Canada, founded in 2008, recently lost its Web domain and has had its site taken down.)

In 2004, the Canadian ISBN Agency estimated 65 per cent of Canada’s publishing output came from self-published authors. Last year, an R.R. Bowker study found that self-published books in the U.S. had grown to more than 764,000 titles, up from more than 285,000 in 2008 and 134,000 in 2007.