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23 March 2018

Digital deposit service for publishers to be launched in 2019

National edeposit (NED), an online service for the deposit, archiving, management, discovery and delivery of published electronic material across Australia, will be launched in early 2019.

The service is a collaboration between Australia’s nine national, state and territory libraries and will enable publishers to deposit a book once through a single service to meet both their state or territory library and national library legal deposit responsibilities.

National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) said that Australian publishers will play an important role in contributing to NED as the service responds ‘to the major challenge of capturing and preserving the digital documentary history of Australia for the future’.

An information session for publishers was held in Melbourne in February, with more planned around the country in the lead-up to the launch.

More information will be available on the NED website closer to the launch date.


SWF 2018 program announced

The program has been announced for this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF), which runs from 30 April to 6 May.

Sixty international guests and 400 Australian writers, academics and public figures will take part in events held across greater Sydney, with the festival moving its main hubfrom Walsh Bay to a temporary home at Carriageworks and the Seymour Centre while the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct is redeveloped.

American authors André Aciman, Min Jin Lee and Alexis Okeowo will each deliver an opening address on the festival’s theme of power. Pulitzer Prize-winning US novelist Jennifer Egan will deliver the festival’s closing address about ‘the power of media culture and its relationship with storytelling’.

International authors include US psychotherapist Amy Bloom; Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz; American authors Tayari Jones and Eileen Miles; journalists and political commentators Masha Gessen and Katy Tur; and poets Cleo Wade and Yrsa Daley-Ward.

Other international guests include podcast hosts Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham of Still Processing, and Aminatou Sow of Call Your Girlfriend; British broadcaster Robert E Kelly; founder of the book club and digital platform Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim; and debut authors Jenny Zhang, Gabriel Tallent and Carmen Maria Machado.

More than 400 Australian authors and public figures will appear at the festival, including Helen Garner, Jane Harper, Ceridwen Dovey, Robert Drewe, Michael Robotham, Kim Scott, Christos Tsiolkas, Alexis Wright, Stan Grant, Jamila Rizvi, deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party Tanya Plibersek, broadcast journalist Leigh Sales and filmmaker Warwick Thornton.

A two-day family program will be held at Sydney Town Hall on 5 and 6 May, featuring Jeff Kinney, Junot Díaz, Jacqueline Harvey and Leigh Hobbs. The festival will also bring back its full-day program dedicated to young adult fiction, which will be held at Riverside Theatres in Parramatta on 5 May.

International guests at this year’s ‘All Day YA’ include Patrick Ness, Jesse Andrews and Cleo Wade, while local authors Shaun Tan, Alice Pung and Jay Kristoff will also feature. Other highlights include a poetry slam between Omar Musa and Evelyn Araluen, and the return of Teen Con, where publishers pitch their forthcoming titles.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, former UK children’s laureate Chris Riddell and British author A F Harrold will be among the children’s and YA authors participating in the festival’s schools program.

The festival’s Live & Local streaming program will bring events to regional and national audiences, with more than 35 venues signing on to broadcast select festival events.

The 2018 program will mark SWF CEO Jo Dyer’s last at the festival, as she takes up her new role as director of Adelaide Writers’ Week.

A number of international guests will also participate in Wheeler Centre events, including André Aciman, Junot Díaz, Eileen Myles, Patrick Ness, Jennifer Egan, Jenny Zhang and Jeff Kinney.

To see the full SWF program, click here.

This news story first appeared in Books+Publishing on 16 March 2018. Books+Publishing is Australia’s leading source of print and digital news about the book industry, keeping subscribers up to date with the latest industry news, announcements, job advertisements, events, trends and more.

Self-publishing essentials with Ellie Marney: hybrid authorship

The publishing industry has gone through big changes in the last few years—and perhaps the biggest change has been the emergence of a new model of authorship.

What is a hybrid author?

A hybrid author is a writer who is published both traditionally and independently. Some of their work (books, articles, poetry, screen or stage works, critique) is released through traditional means, and some is self-published.

You’re allowed to do that?

Yes. It’s 2018—people (even literary awards) are starting to realise that self-published books have legitimacy, and writers are starting to realise that they may need to diversify if they want to sustain a professional career. The publishing industry is in a state of flux as Amazon alters the literary landscape, and as movements like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and industry surveys like the Romance Diversity Report interrogate who gets published and why.

But authors should watch out for non-compete clauses in their contracts with traditional publishers, to ensure that they have control over the worlds and characters they want to self-publish.

Are publishers okay with the hybrid model? Does it disadvantage an author to have a foot in both camps?

Most publishers are aware that an author needs to earn money from their published work, and that if you’re an already-signed emerging or midlist author, you may need to expand your range of options to keep writing. Hybrid authors are actively raising their profiles with each new book released and extending their audience with click-through links to buy their other works, so trade publishers should see this as win-win scenario.

Indie authors can learn a lot from working with traditional publishing editors and teams. There have been cases where self-published authors with a proven track record have gone on to get deals with traditional publishers, but indie authors querying trade publishers are encouraged to be honest about their sales numbers (for print, audio and ebook formats) and explain how their business is run.

Be aware of your brand, too. If you’re publishing literary fiction with a trade publisher and erotic suspense fiction independently, you will need to talk it over with your publisher who might prefer a single recognisable brand.  And honestly, your readers prefer a single recognisable brand, too! In this situation, a pseudonym might be a good solution. You’ll also need to discuss timing of releases, so you and your traditional publisher aren’t releasing simultaneously.

What do agents think?

This is an area that’s still ‘under review’ in Australia, so much of the advice comes from the US. Agents generally only earn money on contracts they’ve arranged for authors through traditional publishers, so it’s good to let your agent know if you’re planning to self-publish. But indie authors still need help with controlling, enforcing and selling their rights (local, world, media, etc.). Agents have a good perspective on the industry and what’s selling, so as US literary industry advocate Jane Friedman notes in her article ‘Literary Agents and the Hybrid Author’, there are advantages to having an agent if you’re a hybrid author.

Some agents work closely with their authors to smooth the self-publishing road (also called ‘assisted publishing’, ‘partnership publishing’ or ‘co-publishing’), lining up editors and designers, and helping with distribution or placement, and this is a model worth examining. But be wary if an agency asks for commission on work they haven’t had any part in publishing.

What’s the worst thing about being hybrid?

Greater responsibility can be a burden. You have to shoulder any additional financial risk on self-published titles, formulate a business plan and do all the back-end work, and without an agent, you’re the sole negotiator in trade publishing discussions. You have to be super-organised. You might find that wearing two hats—being both author and publisher—can be exhausting.

What’s the best thing?

The author has absolute control over the titles they release independently—from the words and the cover to the pricing—and this provides greater flexibility to promote both their indie and their traditionally published work. You aren’t exclusively at the mercy of publisher timelines—there’s nothing stopping you from publishing a book or novella in between trade releases, if you want to maintain career momentum and increase discoverability. If you’re judicious about your brand, you can jump between genres or categories, releasing stories that your trade publisher doesn’t want to take a chance on.

In a nutshell, you have true control over your career, more options to publish, and you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

Hybrid authors: advice from the pros

‘Research is everything. Find great people (such as cover artists etc.) to work with, and stick with them.’Kylie Scott, New York Times bestselling author of Trust.

‘I cannot overstate the importance of having someone who will call you on your bull***t, be it your editor with your publisher or someone you have hired on a freelance basis. So invest in good people. Hold yourself to a high standard. And keep your options open, because you never know what’s around the corner in this industry.’Sarah Mayberry, USA Today bestselling author of Temporary.

Ellie Marney is a teacher and hybrid YA author. She lives in Victoria with her family, and her new book, White Night (Allen & Unwin), is out March 2018. Find her at or on Twitter or Instagram.
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FAQ with the ISBN team

What is a ‘publisher imprint’, and why does Amazon ask me for one?

An imprint of a publisher is a trade name under which it publishes a work. A single publishing company may have multiple imprints, often using the different names as brands to market works to various demographic consumer segments (for example, to differentiate between your cookery books and general fiction novels).

When Amazon asks for your ‘publisher imprint,’ it is the name you have registered with us at (and appears as your publishing company name on Books in Print). This name is displayed to the public wherever you sell your book and in distribution channels. It is also listed on your book’s copyright page, and assigned to your ISBN.

Self-publishers can use their author name but it may be preferable to create a distinction between the author name and the publisher for public relations and marketing (brand-building) reasons. It can be an invented name, the name of one’s existing business or website, or some other variation.

To research the originality of your imprint name, you could do an Amazon search or a Business name (ABN) search at

If you need to change the imprint (or Books in Print company name) you have created, you will need to contact the ISBN Agency at Always have one of your ISBNs ready to quote as a reference.


Nelly Thomas on her picture book 'Some Girls'

Describe your latest book in under 50 words.

An early childhood picture book that instils confidence in little girls by challenging gender and other stereotypes.

Why self-publish?

For creative control over the content and because traditional publishers move too slowly. I did pitch the book initially to one publisher and they took three months to say no. I didn’t want to waste more time as I felt the issue was urgent and needed to be discussed right now.

What year did you start and where are you based?

I wrote Some Girls in January 2017 and published it in March 2018. I live in Melbourne.

How many people did you contract on your book and what did you do yourself?

I wrote the book and contracted an illustrator, designer and publicist. I worked very closely with the illustrator on what images I wanted—I briefed her on exactly who I wanted included and how they should be presented. The designer then did all the text, fonts and layout.

What makes your book unique?

It’s an issues-based book (about gender roles), but it’s not earnest. It’s got a lot of diversity, but it’s not heavy-handed. It’s fun, funny, bright and simply reflects my community. That makes it radical in some senses, but to me it’s just normal. Not all girls are blonde, blue-eyed, pretty and like Barbies. I just included kids doing what they do—having fun and loving each other.

What has been your biggest success?

Initially I thought I’d just print 100 copies—enough for my local community. I did a Pozible campaign and raised $20,000! We ended up getting three offers from publishers (not the one that rejected me initially!) and printed 6,000. We’re close to a reprint now. The biggest success has been the sheer reach; I have partnered with Black Inc to do the distribution (I am still the publisher) and they have gotten the book into far more places than I ever would have. It’s seemingly everywhere!

What has been your biggest challenge?

Time. And cash flow. It has taken over my life and to date, I’ve not drawn a cent. A lot of cash flow is needed for contractors, printing costs and other costs. I am on track to make that back—and hopefully some actual profit—but I’m almost 18 months in and I doubt I’ll see a return for at least another six months. You need some money in the bank.

What would be top tip for those starting out in self-publishing?

Be very organised. Don’t do it until all your ducks are in a row and you’re ready to go. That includes some money in the bank and some contacts. Have faith in your project but don’t assume that will get you through—it must be a good project, done well and you have to have some serious business sense. If you don’t have the latter, go the traditional publishing route. You’ve got to know your own limitations.

What will you publish next?

Part 2: Some Boys. Same book but adapted for boys.


Upcoming Events


Swancon, (29 March – 2 April) Perth, WA.
Conclave 3, (30 March – 2 April), Auckland, NZ.


Editors NSW: Unreadability, (3 April), Sydney, NSW.
Newcastle Writers Festival, (6-8 April) Newcastle, NSW.
CapriCon, (7 April) Rockhampton, Qld.
Australian Storytellers Festival, (8 April) Fremantle, WA.
Jane Austen Festival Australia, (12-15 April) Canberra, ACT.
Home Cooked Comics Festival, (15 April), Darebin City, Vic.
Supanova, (20-22 April) Melbourne, Vic.
Writers Group Convention, (21 April) Brisbane, Qld.
Stratford on Avon Shakespeare Festival, (21 April – 6 May) Stratford, Vic.
Unearthed Pemberton, (26 April – 6 May) Pemberton, WA.
Supanova, (27-29 April) Gold Coast, Qld.
Speculate: the Victorian speculative writers festival, (28 April) Melbourne, Vic.
Sydney Writers Festival, (30 April – 6 May) Sydney, NSW.


10 reasons to avoid using Microsoft Word for your print book layout

While there is a lot you can do with Microsoft Word, it was never created to be a page-layout program. It was meant to be a word-processing program—something you can use to create letters, proposals and the like. Word is not a graphic design application. Good graphic design is a subtle art that considers many skills like typography, the use of white space, image selection, alignment and the creation of tone and texture. Graphic designers are skilled in using the applications required for computer generated graphic design. These applications include InDesign and/or Quark Xpress for desktop publishing. Photoshop is the industry standard for image manipulation, while Illustrator is the favoured application for drawing images.

Here are some reasons to reconsider using Word to design your print book:

1. You cannot easily control the canvas size because Word margins adjust according to the computer’s default printer settings.

2. You cannot easily control a font’s kerning (the space between letters) or kerning for individual sets of letters in Word. Also, if a Word document is opened on a computer without the fonts installed then Word changes the font to one that the computer does have installed.

3. You cannot control, with precision, the ‘leading’ (pronounced ledding) which is the typographer’s word for line-spacing. Yes, you can control it up to a point with single or double line-spacing, however, convention suggests a leading value of 50%—that’s 50% larger than (or 1.5 times the size of) your chosen typeface. In other words, if you’re using 12-point type, start with 18-point leading. Word does not give you this much control.

4. You cannot explore the fundamentals of book design. Take ‘optical margins’ as an example. This is just one thing you won’t get your word processor to do, but with a dedicated typesetting program like Adobe InDesign, you can improve the look of your book design with a simple feature. The hanging punctuation makes the edges of the text look straighter even when it’s not. Optical margins make for better book design.

5. Commercial printers will generally not accept Word files because they cannot control the output. However, some will build it into the print cost and create PDFs to print from. Digital printers such as Lightning Source and IngramSpark will not accept word files, only PDF layouts. (You can make ‘press-quality PDFs’ from Word, but you have a built-black problem as explained in #7 below).

6. Word cannot handle EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) graphic files well. Yes, you can insert all kinds of images into Word, but it is difficult to lock an image in place on a page and control the way that text flows round it. Essentially, it’s difficult and time-consuming to get graphics to ‘stay put’ on a page, wrap text around them, and control them. Graphics tend to ‘fly off’ to other pages, even when you take steps to painstakingly anchor graphics correctly.

7. Graphics do not translate well from Word into the world of offset or digital printing, which typically requires a high-resolution CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) image. When an image is placed into Word, often it is automatically converted to an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) image which is not advisable for digital printing nor offset printing. Sometimes these graphics may get converted back to CMYK for a ‘press-quality PDF’ (PQ-PDF) by the printer. This sounds like a simple solution to the problem, but when you ‘preflight’ (the process of confirming that the digital files required for the printing process are all present, valid, correctly formatted, and of the desired type) the resulting PQ-PDF, you end up with built-blacks (not 100% black) for any text that was in the graphic. Text in a built-black is too small for offset presses to print and you’ll end up with yellow or magenta or cyan halos around the text.

8. Word doesn’t use the colour matching system known as PMS (Pantone Matching System). PMS is the system that printing companies use to print your project. This is a standard in the design and printing industry and ensures that your project colours will match the colours you choose. A Word program only uses RGB. So, you’ll pay a fortune at the prepress stage to get your film output correctly. That’s if they output it at all … you never know! Word files are difficult to colour separate, if at all, and colour photos will be less than satisfactory. Essentially, you’ll spend a lot of money to get a very inferior print run.

9. If you supply a manuscript created in Word to a printer, you may pay more to have your project produced. This is due to the extra time that must be spent to get your project to output correctly and be usable by the printer. Often this is built into the printing costs, so you may not know the amount that is added to the total. You may also encounter a lower quality project because it was created in Word. Printers are not book specialists so often they will redo your book (either set it up in InDesign, or create a PDF from your word document) and in the process, make some fundamental publishing errors. For example, page numbers may appear on blank pages.

10. Even though you can create columns in Word, typically, text does not flow well. This is most noticeable when your Word document, that you have carefully laid out and created your columns of text, is opened in someone else’s Word software—the text flow is totally out of whack! Images may have jumped from the second to the third column, your text may run off the page—often it will look like a dog’s breakfast. Word does not transfer safely between computers (or even to printers’ computers).

In short, you will spend too much time on layout/production using Word; spend too much money at prepress to get usable, correct print files; and shed too many tears when you see the final inferior product.

To avoid disappointment, it is best to use software that is intended for this type of work such as Adobe InDesign. Using a book designer who sets out in InDesign will guarantee the flow of your text as well as your image placement. The result will look professional, be received by the marketplace and end-users will view it as a quality product. Plus, you will save yourself money by doing it the right way from the beginning.

Still want to do it yourself?

While using professional graphic design software is always our recommended route for book publishing, there’s a shift now towards a mid-range type of software that attempts to combine the word processing functions with layout functions.

The most popular is Microsoft Publisher which is only suitable for flyers, business brochures and similar projects, with templates available to make creative jobs easier. Apple’s Pages is considered a hybrid and can be used either as a word processor or as a layout engine (depending on the type of document you create). This category is showing the most growth in recent years, with more programs coming onto the market.

Relatively new to the scene is HTML software; it allows you to work on your book in the cloud—which is great for digital (ebooks) but still needs to go some way towards creating outputs suitable for print on demand and offset printing. We believe automated page composition will be the new norm and the future of self-publishing, where authors can design, edit, process, publish and promote in the cloud.


This support article is a guide only. Please make your decisions based on your own due diligence and research. 

Julie-Ann Harper has 25 years of experience in publishing, business training, self-publishing workshops and presentations. She is a passionate advocate towards true self-publishing and helping authors to view publishing as a business. Pick-a-WooWoo Publishing is the only Australian company listed under IngramSpark’s Resource Experts page as an ‘IngramSpark Self-Publishing Friend’.





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