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30 July 2018

ASA seeks author feedback for campaign to extend PLR/ELR to digital books

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has appealed to authors, including self-published authors, for information to help it campaign the government to extend the current Public and Educational Lending Rights (PLR and ELR) schemes to cover digital publications.

The schemes, intended to compensate authors and publishers for the loss of potential sales income due to their books being available for free through public and educational lending libraries, do not currently cover the lending of ebooks or audiobooks.

The information requested by the ASA, which can be sourced from author royalty statements, will help the society to understand ‘the complicated world of ebook lending’ and how publishers account to authors for ebooks that are licensed to library aggregators (such as OverDrive).

‘We don’t wish to see our digital-only writers disadvantaged and would love to see this pot of money expanded, and, at least, shared more equitably among Australia’s authors and illustrators,’ said the ASA.

Self-published authors can advise the ASA on whether their ebooks are available to libraries for loaning and share their experiences in dealing directly with aggregators.

For more information, visit the ASA website.


Small Press Network announces staff changes

The Small Press Network (SPN) has announced the appointment of Tim Coronel as general manager. Coronel, who was previously communications manager for SPN, takes over from Matthia Dempsey, who has held the role since 2016 and will continue to coordinate this year’s Independent Publishing Conference, alongside secretary of the SPN board Michaela Skelly, who is responsible for conference sponsorships.

‘Matthia and I work well together and this has been a natural transition,’ said Coronel. ‘I’m working on organising more professional development events to help our members and continuing to build the member benefits on offer. Meanwhile, Matthia and Michaela will deliver another must-attend conference.’

SPN chair Michael Webster thanked Matthia for her contribution to the association’s development and success over the past few years, highlighting the growth in membership and services, including the annual conference, mentor program, Christmas catalogue and the revised ASA author contract. ‘She’ll be missed, but we are delighted that’s she’s agreed to remain connected to SPN,’ said Webster.

SPN also announced that it has secured funding from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for three more years, which will support the annual Independent Publishing Conference until 2021.

This news story first appeared in Books+Publishing on 16 July 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.

Bookings open for inaugural Indie Publishing Forums

Bookings are now open for the inaugural Indie Publishing Forums, a series of events aimed at small publishers, self-publishers, aspiring writers, established authors, students of publishing and creative writing, and those interested in how book publishing works.

The Indie Publishing Forums are a joint initiative created by the Small Press Network (SPN), IngramSpark, Books+Publishing and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), and supported by the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Queensland Writers Centre, Writers Victoria and Writing NSW.

Held in the evenings, the forums will take place in Melbourne (at the Wheeler Centre on 31 July), Brisbane (at the State Library of Queensland on 1 August) and Sydney (at the Sebel Chatswood on 9 August).

Each forum will feature a keynote address by IngramSpark US director Robin Cutler on the changing technological face of publishing and how that affects a book’s pathway to market.

Panels of industry experts will discuss topics such as the current state of the market in Australia, identifiers and metadata, timelines for marketing and publicity, how to deal with a distributor, author/publisher relations, and what booksellers are looking for. The sessions will also incorporate audience Q&As.

Panellists include:

  • Books+Publishing CEO Gary Pengelly
  • Authors Ellie Marney and Kim Wilkins
  • Black Inc. international director Sophy Williams
  • Spineless Wonders director of publishing Bronwyn Mehan
  • Dennis Jones & Associates CEO Dennis Jones
  • ASA legal services manager Olivia Lanchester
  • Writers Victoria director Angela Savage 
  • Booksellers Megan O’Brien (Brunswick Bound), Sarah Deasy (Avid Reader) and Scott Whitmont (Lindfield Bookshop)
  • Author-service providers Julie-Ann Harper, Alex Fullarton and Jenny Mosher.

The Melbourne and Sydney forums will be chaired by SPN communications manager Tim Coronel, and the Brisbane event by crime writer and researcher Meg Vann.

For more information, including on how to book, see the IngramSpark website.

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US sales declined slightly in 2017; 5.4% rise in adult nonfiction sales

US publishers’ total industry sales fell slightly in 2017 to US$26.23 billion (A$35.5bn), down from US$26.27 billion (A$35.6bn) in 2016, according to results released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and reported in Publishers Weekly.

The results are based on sales from more than 1200 publishers (which accounted for US$15.55 billion; A$21bn), combined with estimates based on AAP’s model for publishers that did not report sales.

Sales in trade publishing—the industry’s largest segment—rose 0.3% to US$15.95 billion (A$21.6bn), led by a 5.4% increase in adult nonfiction sales. Sales declined in adult fiction and children’s/young adult fiction.

Higher education sales rose by 0.5%, but sales of books for preschoolers dropped 2.9%, and sales in the professional segment fell by less than 1%.

The results also highlighted the growth in downloadable audio, which reached US$820 million (A$1.1bn) in 2017. The format saw 28.8 % year-over-year growth from 2016 to 2017. Ebook sales fell 5.3% in 2017 to US $2.05 billion (A$2.8bn).

Sales through online retailers rose 6.4% to US$6.18 billion (A$8.4bn), and in 2017 these accounted for 38.8% of all trade sales. Meanwhile sales through physical retailers fell 6.5% to US$3.88 billion (A$5.3bn), accounting for 24.3%, with sales made by intermediaries (mainly wholesalers) accounting for 24.9% of sales.

This news story first appeared in Books+Publishing on 24 July 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-publisher essentials with Ellie Marney: your publishing one-stop shop

When first researching the process of self-publishing, it can seem as if there are hundreds of different articles and books on the subject but no single map of the journey. This article outlines the most basic steps of self-publishing to at least make that part easier—you will still need to sort out banking, and social media and promotional platforms. While we’ve tried to include only reputable organisations and companies here, remember to do your own research and check the fine print—the providers listed are not guaranteed, but they’re a good place to start.

Step 1: Write the book

Always the first and most crucial step! If you’d like some professional advice on writing, with the chance to attend workshops and masterclasses, check out the writer support networks in your state or area:

Step 2: Beta the book

Ask some trusted friends—hopefully keen readers, and hopefully also readers from within the demographic the book is aimed at—to read your work. Alternatively, you can find manuscript assessment services at most of the writers support networks listed above.

Step 3: Edit the book

Search the databases of these professional organisations to find freelance editors who work in your state or area. If you’re involved in a writing or self-publishing group, ask members for recommendations.

Step 4: Copyedit the book

Most freelance editors worth their salt will also provide copyediting services. Check the professional editing organisations listed above.

Step 5: Get a cover

This is one of the most important parts of the self-publishing process—and your book’s primary sales pitch! Look for local freelance cover designers to find someone whose portfolio and qualifications seem like a good fit. Alternatively, try an overseas-based designer—there are a lot out there, so be clear about what you want. Remember you will need to use PayPal (or equivalent) to pay an overseas designer. It’s also possible to have covers designed by freelancers on sites like Reedsy, but it might involve some work to find someone who seems reputable.

Quality designers are booked months in advance, so plan early. Have a clear understanding of what you want—ebook cover? Paperback cover? Both? What fonts and design elements do you need? What’s your publishing schedule? It’s worth reading Lara Willard’s article on working with a book cover designer to get some tips.



Step 6: Buy ISBNs

All ISBNs (in Australia and overseas) are sold by Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services. It’s much cheaper if you buy a pack of 10.

Step 7: Typeset/layout the book

Typesetting is when you set up the pages of the book, populate it with your text, and make sure the fonts and titles all look good. Some editors do typeset and layout, so ask your editor. You can also do this yourself—if you have graphic design skills, you might be equipped to use InDesign to create pages. If you’re less skilled, then user-friendly interfaces like Blurb or Vellum or Book Design Templates might be the way to go, or you can search online for book layout services.

Remember, if you’re also producing paperbacks of your book, you’ll need to ensure that layout is correct for both ebook and paperback—paperbacks need extra attention for things like gutters and margins.

Step 8: Proof the book

Read through your pages again (for the hundredth time!) and after you’re done, ask or hire someone with fresh eyes to read through and catch the tiny errors that you’ll inevitably miss—proofing might be something you can swap with another self-publishing author.

Step 9: Convert your book to formats

Once you have the completed pages of your beautifully typeset and laid-out book, you can convert it to the appropriate formats for publication with a free tool like Calibre.

Step 10: Publish the book

Read through the instructions for creating an account for each platform, and the uploading process. Be aware that you will need to fill out banking, tax and identity details for each platform you use.

As an ebook:

As a print-on-demand (POD) paperback:

  • IngramSpark—most popular choice for local print copies
  • KDP Print—the easiest choice for overseas print
  • Createspace—now Amazon-owned; it’s likely this will eventually be folded into KDP Print
  • Lulu—but be aware of postage costs

Step 11: Market and promote

Marketing tips and techniques are available all over the internet, but it’s a good idea to look at some of the information provided by the people listed below:

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the market by checking:

If you’re struggling to keep up with it all, you might want to consult a local author service provider (but again, watch the fine print):

Finally, good luck with your self-publishing efforts, and all the best for your next publication!

Ellie Marney is a teacher and hybrid YA author. She lives in Victoria with her family, and her latest book, White Night (Allen & Unwin), was published in March 2018. Find her at or on Twitter or Instagram.

FAQ with the ISBN team

What is double allocation of ISBNs and how can I avoid it?

‘Double allocation’ is when an ISBN that is already assigned to a title is used again for a new title in error.

It is not advisable to assume that all your previously allocated ISBNs will have title information visible against them in your MyIdentifiers account.

There are various reasons why an ISBN may have been allocated to a published title but the title is not appearing in your MyIdentifiers account against that ISBN.

  • You may have urgently needed the ISBN for marketing etc and did not have time to add the title details
  • You may not have known the final title when you assigned the ISBN
  • Previous staff at your company or organisation may have assigned an ISBN but not put the title details
  • You may have sent Thorpe-Bowker the title details but for some reason the details were never added
  • You may have allowed other people involved in the publishing process to have access to your account, such as a printer or designer, who may not be aware of the correct procedures.

When allocating a new ISBN from your MyIdentifiers account, we would recommend you check your own records and also check the ISBN at

If that ISBN has been assigned to a title and a legal deposit copy has been submitted to the National Library it will appear on the NLA catalogue.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure you select an ISBN that is available and not already allocated to another of your publications.

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Helen Scheuerer on 'Reign of Mist'

Helen Scheuerer, YA fantasy author and founding editor of Writer’s Edit (an online learning platform for writers), spoke to Australian Self-Publisher about her indie publishing experience.

Describe your latest book in under 50 words. 

Sure! Reign of Mist (out 13 September) is the second instalment in my YA fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It’s a fast-paced epic filled with secrets, deadly mist, forbidden magic and corruption.

Why self-publish?

Over the last four years or so, I learnt a lot about indie publishing through my website Writer’s Edit, and our small press (which published three creative writing volumes called Kindling).

It was thanks to this experience that pretty much as soon as I had the first draft of Heart of Mist I knew I wanted to take the indie route. I yearned for the creative control and the control over my publication schedule. I love the production aspect of publishing, and I wanted to be involved in the process from start to finish.

What year did you start and where are you based? 

I’ve been on the indie publishing scene since 2013 when Writer’s Edit was established, but my experiences as an author are far more recent. My debut, Heart of Mist was released last year (2017) and received a great response, hitting the #1 spot on Amazon in under 24 hours. I finished writing the manuscript for Heart of Mist while I was travelling in the UK but I’m currently based in Sydney, which is where I’m originally from.

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

One of the reasons I’m not a major fan of the term ‘self-publish’ is because it implies it’s a solo effort. For me, I think when self-publishing is done right, it’s done in the same way that the traditional publishing houses put their books together: with a team.

I have a professional cover designer, an editor and a proofreader, as well as a street team (a team of readers and bloggers who review the books and help spread the word) for book promotion. I do my own typesetting and ebook formatting only because I have previous experience with these aspects of production, otherwise I’d be hiring a freelancer for those, too!

What makes your book unique? 

I think perhaps the blurred moral lines throughout the series is unique. None of the protagonists are wholly good, and that’s something I find refreshing about them. They’re all deeply flawed characters, they make mistakes (plenty of them) and we get to see them confront their demons internally as well as on the battlefield.

What has been your biggest success?

 Hitting number one on Amazon in under 24 hours on launch day for Heart of Mist and then maintaining a top 10 position for the next 10 months or so. The official launch at Better Read Than Dead was also a standout—we had over 100 people show up, and the book hit the shop’s bestseller list as well.

I’ve also been able to live off Heart of Mist, which is something I hadn’t imagined for myself at the time. While being a full-time author definitely isn’t easy, it’s been the dream since I was very young.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Sadly, there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding indie publishing and so it can be hard to be taken seriously by bookshops, festivals, events and residencies. Most of the time I’m alright with that … Being an indie is what enables me to do what I love for a living, but sometimes trying to break into the industry can be frustrating.

I’m lucky that I love the different facets of book production and marketing, however it does mean that there’s a fair bit of juggling involved. I’ve especially learned that as I’ve moved onto the later books in the series. At any one time, I’ve got numerous books at different stages of production which can make the actual writing aspect of being an author tricky sometimes!

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

Being a self-published author is essentially running a small business. You are the author, the publisher, the treasurer and the marketer. Don’t underestimate how many different hats you’ll have to wear in order to make your book the best version of itself, and to get it into the hands of the right readers. Researching your options and hiring the right team is crucial.

What will you publish next? 

The second book in The Oremere Chronicles, Reign of Mist, will be released on 13 September this year, with the third and final book in the series to be released in 2019. I also regularly publish prequel e-shorts to the series between books.

Newtown’s Better Read Than Dead will be hosting the official launch party for Reign of Mist.


Upcoming events


ALIA/LIANZA joint 2018 Conference, (30 July–2 Aug) Gold Coast, Qld.
Indie Publishing Forum, (31 July) Melbourne, Vic.


Indie Publishing Forum, (1 Aug) Brisbane, Qld.
Red Dirt Poetry Festival, (2-5 Aug) Alice Springs, NT
Byron Bay Writers Festival, (3-5 Aug) Byron Bay, NSW
Shoalhaven Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, (4 Aug) Nowra, NSW
Words in Winter, (4-26 Aug) Daylesford and surrounding towns, Vic.
Indie Publishing Forum, (9 Aug) Sydney, NSW
Bendigo Writers Festival, (10-12 Aug) Bendigo, Vic.
Mudgee Readers’ Festival, (10-12 Aug) Mudgee, NSW
Corrugated Lines, (10-12 Aug) Broome, WA
Cairns Tropical Writers Festival, (10-12 Aug) Cairns, Qld.
New Norcia Writers Festival, (11 Aug) New Norcia, WA
Love Your Bookshop Day, (11 Aug) National
Perth Poetry Festival, (10-19 Aug) Perth, WA
Romance Writers of Australia conference, (17-19 Aug) Sydney, NSW
Writers Unleashed, (18 Aug) Gymea, NSW
CBCA Book Week, (18-24 Aug) National
Mandurah Readers and Writers Festival, (22-23 Aug) Mandurah, WA
Australasian Medical Writers Association Annual Conference, (23-25 Aug) Melbourne, Vic.
Queensland Poetry Festival, (23-26 Aug) Brisbane, Qld.
Canberra Writers Festival, (23-26 Aug) Canberra, ACT
Salisbury Writers’ Festival, (24-26 Aug) Salisbury, SA
Melbourne Writers Festival, (24 Aug–2 Sep) Melbourne, Vic.
Ashgrove Literature Festival, (27-30 Aug) Ashgrove, Qld.
Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival, (31 Aug–1 Sep) Sydney, NSW


ASA self-publishing workshop

Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is running a two-day workshop that will cast light on the myths and realities of self-publishing in 2018 and increase your chances of publishing success.

This comprehensive professional workshop will give you:

  • An in-depth understanding of the entire publishing, sales, marketing and distribution process
  • An invaluable resource pack to help you publish safely
  • A list of contacts for reliable sources of advice and expertise
  • The opportunity to receive direct feedback on your work in relation to certain steps of the process
  • A tutorial on how to turn your manuscript into an ebook
  • Advice on creating a public profile and developing speaking skills
  • Feedback from authors with experience of self-publishing
  • A networking marketplace to meet competent and ethical providers
  • Familiarity with metadata, keywords and SEO
  • The confidence to publish your work as a professional.

You will take away many valuable resources, including:

  • Costing template, sample rights reversion letter and P&L template
  • Tips and tricks to help you select competent and ethical service providers
  • A completed title budget for your work
  • Information on how to apply for a US tax file number
  • A draft publicity campaign for your book
  • A targeted press release.

The ASA advises members on their publishing options on a daily basis and no one has seen more traditional and self-publishing arrangements—both good and bad—than we have. We’re therefore uniquely positioned to offer you expert advice and in-depth knowledge on the entire process.

Event details

Date: 21-22 September 2018, 8.30am-4.30pm.
Location: ASA offices, C1.06 22-36 Mountain St, Ultimo NSW.
Bookings: phone (02) 9211 1004, email, or website.

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8 ways to make your book's back matter work harder and smarter

Back matter (or end matter) is the content that goes at the back of your book to help you sell more books and grow your audience. And it is incredibly important, especially for ebooks.

Even if people are reading your book for free—you may be giving it away, or the reader may have borrowed the ebook or paperback from a public library—it’s important to make a connection with those readers and turn them into fans.

The following steps will make your back matter work better for you. They mostly apply to ebooks (because you’ll be including direct links) but they’re just as important in paperbacks. Swap out the ‘click here’s for a shortened printed link in your paperback where possible, so that paperback readers can look you up when they’re next on a device.

1. Do not type ‘The End’ at the back of your ebook.

When I first read this advice a year or so ago, it felt counterintuitive. An author always writes ‘the end’ at the end of their story. With ebooks though, especially ebooks borrowed from public libraries, readers will flick back to the library website on their device to see what else is available once they see those closing words.

As an author, you want the reader to stay with you for just a little bit longer. You’ve charmed and delighted them for an entire novel—now show them your next one!

Because we don’t have digital lending rights in Australia at the moment (Join the ASA and help campaign for your own interests!) it would be excellent to get at least a sale or two after winning a reader over.

Instead of writing ‘the end’, just use a scene break or an ornamental break or those three asterisks in the middle of the line.

Now you’re ready to write the rest of your back matter, which will help you get more sales and make stronger connections with your readers.

2. Thank the reader.

Something along the lines of ‘Thank you so much for reading Oliver and Gustav’s story. I hope you had a wonderful time with them in the Andes as they battled snow monsters. I’d also like to thank my pet turtles for their inspiration and support, and my physiotherapist for fixing my shoulder again and again.’

Then it’s time to…

3. Mention and provide a link to your author newsletter.

For example: ‘Would you like to be the first to hear about my latest news? Please click here to sign up to my author newsletter. I’ll send them out whenever I have some news (once every two weeks, once every two months). They will be packed full of survival tips, the best recipes for snow monster stew, and free and discount book offers.’

Make the words ‘click here’ a link to your signup page. If you’re putting this in a printed book, it may be a little trickier. Perhaps encourage them to visit your author website and join your newsletter that way.

If you don’t have an author newsletter yet, click here for my free guide on how to set up an author newsletter and help it grow. And no, you don’t have to sign up to my newsletter to get it. (But you will see at the back I have extra links if you feel like it afterwards.)

4. Mention your other book in the series—and then include a sample chapter.

‘If you loved reading about Oliver and Gustav and their acrobatic goats, you will adore the next death-defying book in this series. Turn the page to read the first chapter of their next incredible story, Oliver and Gustav and the Fang Dragon of Bhutan.’ Then put that first chapter in.

If you don’t have other books in this series, add a chapter from any other book or short story you’ve written. If this is your very first book, don’t stress. Just mention you’re writing more books and you’d love them to visit your website (and include a link).

5. Do not write ‘The End’ after that sample first chapter either.

Instead, put in another scene break.

6. Add your buy links.

You could write: ‘Click here to buy the rest of Oliver and Gustav and the Fang Dragon of Bhutan.’

Make the link go to this book’s page on your author website, where you’ve already placed direct buy links, because you’re so very organised. Do not make the link go directly to the Amazon or iBooks stores (unless you are loading retailer-specific editions directly to those stores). iBooks will knock back books with direct Amazon links and vice versa.

You can also create aggregator links using the free service on The reader will click a link that takes them to a centralised page showing all the retailers connected to the book, and they can then click through to buy the book via their retailer of choice.

7. Include an ‘Also By’ section.

List all of your other books and/or short stories that are available for purchase. Also list your author website or, at the very least, your author Facebook page.

8. Ask for a review.

And ask nicely: ‘Authors love reviews. If you enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or your website of choice.’

Do not provide direct links here either, as some distributors will get cranky. And by cranky, I mean they’ll refuse to sell your book if you mention the competition.


It looks like a lot of work, but it’s fairly easy to create your own ‘back matter template’ and put it into the back of all your ebooks. I’m currently reformatting my fiction and nonfiction titles to do this very thing.

Print is a little more difficult, as you can’t put direct links in a paperback. But you can put your author website, and you can ask for reviews, and you can easily put the first chapter of another book in the back of a print book.

Keep writing awesome books!


Ebony McKenna is the Melbourne author of seven YA novels and multiple nonfiction guides for authors. Her latest title is Get Your Book Into Australian Libraries. You can find her on Facebook or her website. If you find her wasting time on Twitter, tell her to get back to work.



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