Australian Self-Publisher
Image not loaded. Advertisement:
29 March 2019

Self-published authors among winners of the ANZ Photobook Awards 2018

A number of self-published titles were among the winners of the Australia and New Zealand Photobook Awards 2018, presented at a ceremony in Melbourne on 16 March.

Photobook winner

  • Second Sight (Sarah Walker & Perimeter Books)

Photobook commended

  • Huon (Noah Thompson)

Student winner

  • ROYGBIV (Kira Sampurno)

Student commended

  • Craigieburn, it’s not the same (Yask Desai)


  • I Want This Life and Another (Robyn Daly)
  • Living with AIDS (1988) (Fiona Clark & Michael Lett)
  • Permission To Belong (Tammy Law)
  • The Tensile Strength of a Heartstring (Hannah Rose Arnold)

The winners and finalists were chosen from 117, mostly self-published, entries. They share in a total of $13,500 in cash and Momento Pro printing credit prizes.

For more information about the awards, click here.


Self-publishers among Aurealis Awards finalists

Three self-published books are among the finalists for the Aurealis Awards, presented for science fiction, fantasy and horror writing in Australia.

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson is one of six finalists in the best fantasy novel category; Deathship Jenny by Rob O’Connor is one of three finalists up for best graphic novel/illustrated work; and David Versace’s ‘The Dressmaker and the Colonel’s Coat’, which appears in his collection Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales, is one of six finalists for best fantasy novella.

The winners will be announced on 4 May at a ceremony in Melbourne. For more information about this year’s awards, go to the Aurealis Awards website.


Davis wins inaugural £1500 Selfies Award for a self-published novel

In the UK, Jane Davis’ self-published novel Smash All the Windows has won the inaugural Selfies Award for a self-published work of fiction.

Smash All the Windows explores the emotional lives of the families of victims in the wake of a disaster. It is Davis’ eighth novel. The judging panel was ‘impressed not only with the quality of Davis’ writing, but also with her committed publishing and marketing of the novel’, according to BookBrunch, which administers the award.

Jane Steen was awarded a runner-up certificate for her novel Lady Helena Investigates. Winners were chosen from an all-women shortlist of eight.

Davis wins £1500 (A$2685), a ‘bespoke book cover design’ by designer Aimee Coveney and a book publicity campaign worth £1000 (A$1790). Davis was presented with the award at the 2019 London Book Fair.

In its inaugural year, the award is for adult fiction only, but will expand to include other categories in the future. Entry is restricted to UK-based authors.

For more information, visit the Selfies website.

This news story first appeared in Books+Publishing on 25 March 2019. 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.
Image not loaded. Advertisement:

Self-publishing marketplace Reedsy launches new marketing platform for authors

In the UK, self-publishing marketplace Reedsy has launched a new marketing platform for authors, Reedsy Discovery, reports Forbes.

The book review portal will alert readers to new books its expert reviewers have recommended each week. Users will also have access to curated digital bookshelves, preview chapters, a weekly newsletter of top books across genres, and will be able to connect with other readers over the platform.

Self-published authors are charged US$50 (A$70) for exposure on the site and can make their books available to reviewers for download prior to their book launch date.

Reedsy CEO and co-founder Emmanuel Nataf told the Bookseller’s FutureBook ‘as most authors are not interested in marketing and the self-publishing market keeps growing, we felt we had to do more to help authors reach their audience’.

Nataf said the platform is aimed at ‘a range of people’, including authors, reviewers and readers. ‘For reviewers, it’s an opportunity to build their audience … readers get a space to follow new indie releases and share them with friends, plus curated selections of books in their favorite genres,’ said Nataf.

Reedsy was founded in 2014 and includes 150,000 authors in its community, as well as editors, designers, marketers and ghostwriters.


The author next door: Stocking self-published books

Kelsey Oldham talks to booksellers about stocking self-published books.

Most Australian bookshops acknowledge that stocking self-published books is important—in theory. In practice, however, store policies are often opaque or ad-hoc, and whether or not a book is stocked is dependent on a number of factors that can vary wildly from author to author—including design, subject matter and price. Unfortunately, despite best intentions, a lot of the time self-published titles have trouble moving for a number of reasons, including a lack of publicity and marketing support. However, both inner-city and regional booksellers seem to be having success with a particular kind of self-published book—those by local authors.

Melbourne’s Brunswick Bound has a strong focus on local self-published authors, as does Collins Booksellers in Thirroul, New South Wales. National franchise Dymocks is also committed to supporting Australian authors. However, Dymocks acknowledges that the logistics around national coverage are difficult to organise when it comes to self-published books. The solution to this, according to Dymocks general manager Sophie Higgins, is for authors to approach their local shops first. ‘When a self-published author is already stocked in a local Dymocks store they can then show success and early sales, which is helpful in making decisions about stocking more broadly,’ says Higgins.

Both Brunswick Bound and Collins Thirroul prefer to stock local self-published authors over non-local self-published titles. ‘Being local is the selling point for us,’ says Collins Thirroul owner Amanda Isler. ‘We find it difficult to say no to a local, and we are slower to take up books from elsewhere.’ Brunswick Bound’s Megan O’Brien adds that being a member of the community means that local authors are in a unique position to promote their books. ‘[Local authors] have participated in not only reading at but also attending and promoting our events through their networks,’ says O’Brien. ‘In many cases, this support has been invaluable.’

In Brunswick, local authors are backed by both their bookshop and the community. ‘We try to support local writers as much as possible, including hosting a monthly event series that highlights local authors, promotion of local authors books via our window and social media, and by stocking self-published books by our local authors,’ says O’Brien. She notes that although stocking self-published and locally produced books is more work for the shop than ordering stock through traditional channels, ‘We have had some great success with our local authors of self-published books and have formed some wonderful partnerships with many of them.’

A common piece of advice for self-published authors is to try their luck by cold-calling. However, for bookshops such as Collins Thirroul this is actually not ideal. ‘I have found it frustrating in the past when authors arrive unannounced and often ignore the fact that the store and/or manager is busy,’ says Isler. ‘One tip for authors is to ask if the store has time to speak, introduce themselves and say that they would like to send an email or pop in [to chat] about their book.’ O’Brien echoes Isler’s point—an author who is already a familiar face in a shop is already at an advantage. ‘If I were to advise a self-published author about how to approach their local bookshop, the first thing I would advise them is to ask themselves if they are already a member of their bookshop’s community.’

This feature story first appeared in Issue 1 2019 of Books+Publishing magazine, your inside view to the Australian and New Zealand book industry, celebrating 100 years in 2021.

Shatzkin on the capabilities of Ingram's Lightning Print Australia

Earlier this year, US digital publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin visited Ingram’s Lightning Print print-on-demand operation outside of Melbourne as part of a trip examining the Australian and New Zealand book industries. ‘Ingram Spark, the web-based service [Ingram] offers to enable small publishers and self-publishers to deliver books and ebooks, is being discovered here as a way to facilitate global sales,’ Shatzkin writes.

Shatzkin shares how the Lightning Print operation can help Australian authors and publishers reach the global market here.

Image not loaded. Advertisement:

Momento Pro: How to self-publish a photobook in the Antipodes

This piece originally ran on the Momento Pro blog.

Momento Pro has spent 15 years immersed in photobook printing, learning about people’s publishing experiences in Australia and New Zealand, and making friends with all the services that can help make your book a success.

We’ve also hosted photobook awards since 2011, which give us unique insight and statistics into Antipodean photobook publications. In this blog post we share our findings in a simple guide that includes data, questions and topics for you to consider before publishing your photobook.

Here’s what we think you should know before venturing into self-publishing:

  • Why you’re publishing
  • Who your audience is
  • How you’ll fund it
  • Photobook design rules
  • Formats that suit your budget
  • How many copies you’ll need
  • What price is suitable
  • How you’ll sell and promote it.

Read on to start your publishing journey.

Publishing options

There are various publishing models available to artists and photographers in Australia and New Zealand today including:

  • Major local or international trade publishers
  • Independent local or international art book publishers
  • Cultural institution or academic publishers
  • Self-publishing.

If you can attract one of the top three listed above, then hats off to you, but the reality is that self-publishing is the most viable option for Australian and New Zealand artists in 2019, and that’s where we can help you. Self-publishing may also be your ticket to gaining the attention of a publisher, and potentially scoring a deal at a later stage.

While the information below focuses on the process of self-publishing, we don’t recommend you ‘do it alone’. One of the most valuable lessons we’ve learnt is that books produced with input from experts in editing, design, distribution, sales or marketing are more successful in achieving their purpose, finding their audience and attracting sales.

Read the full article here.


Advice from the ISBN team

Why does a book need an ISBN?

ISBNs are linked to essential information.
They allow booksellers and readers to know what book they are buying, what the book is about, and who the author is.

They are the global standard for identifying titles.
ISBNs are used worldwide as a unique identifier for books. They are used to simplify the distribution and purchase of books throughout the global supply chain.

Most retailers require ISBNs to track book inventory.
Without an ISBN, you will not be found in most bookstores, either online or down the street from your house. Buying an ISBN is the first step to ensure that your book is not lost in the wilderness.

Buying an ISBN improves the chances your book will be found.
Buying your ISBNs and registering your titles on My Identifiers ensures that information about your book will be stored in our Books In Print database. This opens up a world of possibilities that your book is listed with many retailers, libraries, Bookwire, as well as online services like Google Books, Apple’s iBooks, and many others.

For more information, contact the Australian ISBN agency on (03) 8517-8349 during business hours or email

Matt Simon on ‘Dancing with the Bull’

Matt Simon spent 25 years in senior executive roles for multinational companies like J P Morgan, Standard Chartered Bank, Merrill Lynch and NAB—but one day, he realised he’d had enough. This month, he spoke with Australian Self-Publisher about self-publishing his first book, Dancing with the Bull, which draws on his experience in the corporate world.

Describe your book in under 50 words

Dancing with the Bull—the corporate odyssey of Luke Glass, a reluctant journeyman. A humorous yet thought-provoking tale exploring the ‘busyness’ and downright absurdities of modern corporate life, the eclectic mix of complex characters it breeds, troublesome dogs, and the choices we make along the way.

Why self-publish?

I very much appreciate and understand that none of it was personal, but after a long and protracted period of receiving rejection slips, rejection emails, and in some cases silence from a long list of literary agents and a few carefully selected publishers, I finally took the hint, reworked the manuscript (taking heed of suggestions made) and decided that the only way I was going to see Dancing with the Bull in print was to do it myself … And I am so glad I did.

What year did you start and where are you based?

Dancing with the Bull commenced its journey in Melbourne in August 2011, and came to print in November 2017, with a reprint in December 2018 (and here I thought that it would only take about two years to write a book).

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

As a first-time author, without a doubt the best thing I did was to engage a mentor/editor, as well as a sage counsellor, to accompany me on the bumpy ride as I wrote Dancing with the Bull. Every two weeks I would pack up my manuscript and discuss all I had written—the good, the bad and the ugly—then go home and write some more. For me, writing a novel was as much about learning about myself, as the book. Sharing that experience with someone along the way was invaluable.

Many others assisted on Dancing with the Bull, including beta readers, copy editors and those who have successfully been through the process and could offer sound advice. However, where I was most fortunate was having an expert ‘technical advisor’ (Michael Bannenberg) who not only designed the cover and typeset the book but also organised and arranged the printing for both the initial release and the reprint.

What makes your book unique?

Dancing with the Bull has many colourful characters, but aside from the protagonist, Luke Glass, and the troublesome dogs, Belle and Frankie, only one other character has an actual name. Instead, labels are used. These become most apparent in the workplace, where Luke comes across an array of work colleagues and senior managers including the Busy People, the Extremely Busy people, the Extremely Busiest of the Extremely Busy People, and the Jackal, to name a few. In addition, the gender of characters is recognised sparingly, the result of which gives rise to some interesting reader observations through a lens of unconscious bias.

What has been your biggest success?

Seeing Dancing with the Bull come to life and being asked to speak about it as an author. For someone looking to change direction in life, this has been the biggest thrill.

What has been your biggest challenge?

A wise person once told me that a book is never finished; it merely stops. Stopping all the tinkering and reworking with Dancing with the Bull was a much harder task than I originally anticipated; almost as challenging as distribution and promotion.

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

An excellent question, and one that I once responded to by saying: ‘I don’t have any advice, you’re on your own, work it out for yourself.’ But seriously it may sound cliché, but passion and continued belief in your project are paramount. If you are like me, you are going to get lost and have a bad day or two, possibly three. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the territory.

What will you publish next?

In the back of my mind I have a title, ‘Dancing with Helena’, a novel exploring one family’s evolving relationship with money, power and influence as it moves from generation to generation.

Image not loaded. Advertisement:

Upcoming events

International Military Writers’ Festival (5–7 April), Darwin, NT
Sydney Writers’ Festival (29 April–5 May), Carriageworks, Eveleigh, NSW

Clunes Booktown Festival (4–5 May), Clunes, Vic
Scribblers Festival (8–10 May), The Goods Shed, Claremont, WA
Institute of Professional Editors conference (8–10 May), Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Melbourne, Vic
Queenscliffe Literary Festival (11–26 May), Queenscliffe, Vic
Children’s Book Council of Australia National Conference (31 May–2 June), Canberra, ACT

StoryFest (21–22 June), NSW South Coast
Australian Booksellers Association conference (23–24 June), Melbourne




Contact us >
ISBN Agency Australia
ISBN Agency Australia
Advertising sales manager


Select newsletters >

Subscribe to the newsletter here.
Unsubscribe from the newsletter here.
Unsubscribe from all Thorpe-Bowker emails here.

Share >