Tag Archives: self publishing

Editors I Love #SelfPubIsHere

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One of the major factors influencing the rise of respectability in self-publishing has been thanks to professional editors turning freelance.* But how do you find a good one? How do you make sure you aren’t being charged by a charlatan who won’t really improve your book at all? Or worse, take your money and then never respond to you again (yes, this happened to me once). It’s hard, #SelfPubIsHere and we want to publish quality books, but without good editors we cannot do it. To help make your journey a little easier, I’m going to share 9 top quality editors with you. People who would have made this article sparkly and zingy if they had been hired to look at it, and will do just that for your books. [Note: My blog does not use an editor only my books do. Please read my about section to understand why. This blog entry is not a sample of any editor’s work.]

Cait Gordon is a writer and editor. The publishing industry was lucky enough to poach this editor from the world of technical writing where she had 20+ years experience copy editing and technical writing. Now she’s ours and we’re not giving her back, ever. She is not just thorough but kind. Find Cait here. And just in case I don’t say it enough, I love Cait.

Linda Funnell is one of Australia’s most loved editors. What she doesn’t know about Australian English doesn’t actually exist. Very professional and, I know this is a cliche that she’d suggest I cut, a pleasure to work with. Find Linda here. Linda also works alongside Jean Bedford at Newtown Review of Books, who I have found likewise amazing, but I can’t see if she offers professional editing services. You can find Jean here.

Nicola O’Shea came to me recommended by Anita Heiss. Anita Heiss. I’ll just let that sink in. I don’t need to say anything about my positive experiences working with Nicola because a God damn national treasure recommended her and if that isn’tgood enough then I don’t know what is. Find Nicola here.

Tania Chandler! What can I say, I love this woman. She’s an author, writing teacher, and editor. She tackles every job with professionalism and offers clean, professional service. Added bonus, she has a killer sense of humour. Find Tania here.

Georgina Ballentine is a person that embodies dedication. She is passionate about making sure your work is the best reflection of you that it can be. She’s not interested in changing your voice, she’s interested in making it sing. Find Georgina here.

Dionne Lister is a successful author, editor, and leading champion of #SelfPubIsHere. But most importantly, she loves grammar. She runs a Facebook group on grammar. She blogs about grammar. She dreams about grammar. Very thorough, very knowledgeable, very passionate. Find Dionne here.

Jessica Stewart is a gramazon, an Amazon of grammar. She’s here to deliver high kicks to wrong comma usage, chop excessive adverbs and unleash clean flowing sentences. Find Jessica here. Find Jessica’s Robinpedia entry here.

Hot Tree Editing is friendly, cost effective editing. They are thorough and experienced. Their services offer multiple sets of eyes to ensure nothing gets missed. Find Hot Tree here.

Chryse Wymer was the first professional editor I ever worked with and came to me recommended by Dionne Lister. She is an absolute grammar nerd and if she ever reads this blog entry would probably have to begin breathing into a brown paper bag in order to cope with the errors. She’s going to make sure you don’t use the same word to start every paragraph and she’s happy to look up archaic words just to make sure they’re being used correctly. And she has had an extensive education in Australian terms such as root, died in the arse, take the piss, thanks to yours truly. Find Chryse here.

So what are you waiting for? Go get out that manuscript you’ve had gathering dust and get it polished to publication.

See #SelfPubIsHere featured in Books+Publishing here.

Also in Australian Self-Publisher here and you can love them on FB here.

Find out more about #SelfPubIsHere here.

Read about my #SelfPubIsHere dreams here.

Read the article that kicked #SelfPubIsHere off here.

See more about #SelfPubIsHere here.

*Note: historically, many of the authors you love such as Beatrix Potter started out as self-published but later when e-publishing first picked up momentum there was a real push against it. Now with print on demand becoming more accessible the quality and respect is rising again.
Also, cough-cough, find my book at Booktopia or anywhere.

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Let Me Proposition You… With a Self-Publishing Festival

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SELF-PUBLISHING AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! It is time to be seen. #SelfPubIsHere

I think self-publishing needs greater recognition from Australian Festivals and Awards. I think self-publishing deserves its very own day at one of the larger Australian writer festivals, or even it’s very own self-publishing festival. We have kids days and YA days at major festivals (check out the one at Sydney Writers’ Festival, it is AMAZING), why not a self-publishing day? It is absolutely booming at the moment with more and more people not only buying self-published books, but wanting to become self-published authors.

Publisher Weekly has reported that self-published ebooks represent 31% of ebooks on Amazon and this trend is increasing. Not only do they account for around a third of ebooks, they are also dominating sales. Self-published authors are surpassing traditionally published authors on Amazon in crime, speculative fiction and romance. They also have a big share of the market in all other genres. The big five traditional publishers only account for around 16% of ebooks on the Amazon bestseller list, all the rest are self or indi. And let’s face it, ebooks are big business now and are here to stay.

Many readers have no idea if the books they are reading are self-published or not. As publishing houses laid off inhouse editors and designers in favour of a freelance system, self-published authors were able to snap them up. As such, the self-publishing route is becoming increasingly popular and destigmatised not only amongst up and coming writers, but also those already traditionally published and seeking to take greater control of their work.

Despite this increase in popularity and quality many Australian literary festivals and awards have either ignored the self-publishing market or given it a one off panel. Often in Australia the panel discussion is merely about if self publishing is ruining the industry or not. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The interest in self-publishing however is growing and has moved far beyond festival goers wanting to hear a simple discussion on if self-publishing is good or evil. They want in. Publishing your own book can be hard work and getting it into people’s hands can be even harder. This is a process that the increasing number of readers wanting to turn into writers are curious about. And honestly, readers also want the opportunity to see these self-published authors in person to get their books signed.

A self-publishing festival or day would be unique from other festivals in that self-published authors have to have a hand in all areas of their book development. They need to be able to source or become their own publicist, designer, formatter, bookseller, etc. Literary festivals often focus on authors and publishing houses, a self-publishing event would highlight self-published authors along with editors, cover illustrators, designers, and publicists. It would bring the often hidden side of publishing to the forefront. The part that happens behind closed doors that writers and readers are increasingly curious about. The parts they are willing to pay to find out more about. And I don’t mean in just one genre, I mean across all of self-publishing rather than a genre specific festival. Romance has traditionally been quite accepting of self-publishing and has on many instances lead the way but it’s time for other organisations to step up.

Below I will outline some of the awesome feature a self-pub fest would provide readers and writers hungry for something new.

Unique Guests:

Writers-

Self-published writers are essentially split into three groups, those that started self-published and get picked up by a traditional publisher, traditionally published authors who have turned to self-publishing (some vow never to return to the trad-pub model, others happily flit back and forth enjoying the hybrid life), and those that have started as self-published and never looked back. Each of these groups bring unique insights and appeal to the curiosity of readers and fellow writers. We would hope to attract presenters from each of the group, with examples of the types of authors listed below.

Self-published authors picked up by traditional publishers include authors such as Matthew Reilly, CS Pacat, Bruce McCabe, and Mitchell Hogan. People want to know how these guys made the conversion. It’s the dream for many starting out. Self publish, get picked up, and then have a movie trilogy made, I’m looking at you E. L. James.

Authors who started out as traditionally published and have then experimented with self-publishing include people such KERI ARTHUR (I’m putting this in capitals and bold because I somehow missed Keri’s name and am editing it in!), Lisa Heidke, John Birmingham, Ellie Marney, Maria Lewis, Ciara Ballantyne, Kim Kelly, and Alison Croggon. Everyone wants to know why they broke ranks. What is so fantastic about self-publishing that it attracted them? How did they do it? Is it more profitable? What are the benefits? Hybrid or abandonment?

Australia has an incredible array of self-published authors that have started that way and remained true to the form. Melissa Pouliot had a cold case reopened because of her debut book. Heidi Farelly was picked up as a regular guest on A Current Affair to speak on finances on the strength of the popularity of her self-published ‘How to…’ books. Lisa Fleetwood became an Amazon bestseller with her debut travel memoir. I myself have been picked up by bookstores for my memoir about postnatal depression and my book is even being used by some postnatal depression support networks. Lola Lowe was listed as a “Must Read” by Cosmopolitan Magazine for her debut novel. A.B. Patterson, a former detective Sergeant, has won three awards for his debut crime fiction novel, and been short listed for two others. Dionne Lister is a speculative fiction author who is an outspoken advocate of self-publishing and has been short listed for three awards. Elizabeth Cummings has been invited all around the world to talk about her picture books, in particular The Disappearing Sister – an important book that deals with speaking to and helping siblings of children with anorexia. There are many more self-publishing success stories amongst the Australian public eager to share their story and people want to know how they did it and how they can replicate it.

Of course along with writers it’s time to make the previously invisible members of book creation visible, the people that people interested in self-publishing want to find and hire but are largely ignored by Australian festivals:

Book Artists and Designers

Formatters

PR People

Editors

Representatives from printers such as Ingram Sparks and Publicious.

Representatives from self-publishing consultancy services such as Critical Mass Consulting, Bookends Publishing, and The Author Whisperer.

Logistics:

We need a location or a festival to give us a venue for a day.

We need an organiser / convener that people respect.

We need a publicist, although, many self-published authors are their own publicist and do a damn fine job.

Volunteers, we need people pointing and smiling. Trust me, it helps a lot.

We need all the food.

We need a dynamic bookseller who loves us.

We need those guests that represent the full gamut of the self-publishing experience.

And, without question, we need all the wine and cheese.

And don’t just take my word for it, read Pauline Findlay’s thoughts here. She strongly advocates for more self-publishing recognition.

So, what do you think? Are you with me? Do we need this? Are we going to create the pressure to make this happen? (I did send a proposal to a friendly writers’ centre but 10 months later I still haven’t even heard crickets in response) Some big name literary festivals overseas are already making the space, can we make it happen here? I vote yes! Chat about making space for self-publishing on social media with Pauline Findlay and I using #SelfPubIsHere

Find out what Lisa Fleetwood has to say about this here.

Find out what Rebecca Chaney thinks here.

Also, cough-cough, find my book at Booktopia or anywhere.

Joel Naoum: #Robinpedia 

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Who is Joel Naoum? A man, yes. A human being, yes. A carbon based lifeform, yes. But is there more to him than being a mamal and living on Earth? The answer will surprise you, for it is yes.

Naoum began his life as child to Australian writer Dianne Blacklock (can’t find her on Wikipedia so rest assured she will be getting her very own Robinpedia entry). Sitting by her side he absorbed a love of books but as a social butterfly he could not see fit to cocoon his radiance in the solitary world of authorship. One year his mother took him to the Sydney Writers’ Festival  (why yes I am a volunteer, how can I help) and he found that despite being introduced to cool authors such Andy Griffiths and Garth Nix he was himself more attracted to the lurking representatives from the publishing houses. A fire was ignited within the belly of the young Naoum and he set his heart upon joining the publishing industry. 

Pan MacMillan gave Naoum his first job in the publishing sphere. He both horrified and delighted his interviewer by telling her about his love of the new technology ebooks (he’s older than he looks, it was new back then). She loved his innovative approach, she did not so much love that he somehow had an illegal electronic copy of one of Pan MacMillan’s titles. He did not know it was illegal prior to this point and does not recommend it as an interview strategy.  Fortunately he still got the job.

Not only did Naoum get the job but he thrived. He was awarded the Unwin Fellowship and was able to travel to the UK and learn all about the innovative things UK publishers were doing in epublishing. He spent three months in the UK learning the secret business of a variety of publishing houses.

After his fellowship ended and Naoum returned to Australia he was selected to head up Pan MacMillan’s digital first imprint, Momentum. Their original goal was to still be able to publish mid list authors that there was no longer shelf space for after the collapse of Boarders. Because they love authors and stuff. The focus of Momentum changed as they came to realise that the ebooks that sold well were more genre based such as romance, crime and spec fic, not so much literary Australiana. Just quietly, e also love their self help and parenting books. In order to make money the imprint had to switch from its original purpose. Over a 5 year period Momentum put out 450 titles.

Naoum, still committed to the digital world has now setup his own company, Critical Mass. This is mainly a self-publishing consultancy firm that helps self published authors get in touch with editors, designers, and gives marketing advice. He will also help people looking to traditional publish polish their pitches. He is there for you.

In addition to this Critical Mass, Naoum has designed a course for The New South Wales Writers’ Centre, where he is a board member, that actually publishes student’s work. It is open to people with completed and edited manuscripts. Naoum then takes students through cover design, formating, connecting with a distributor, and finally, actually hitting publish and getting a print copy into their hands.

Jump onto Joel’s website here.
Chat with him on twitter here.

Find out more about Robinpedia here.

Read about The New South Wales Writers’ Centre Stick here.

Buy my shit here.

Lou Johnson: #Robinpedia

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[Note: I am dyslexic so grammar nazis should run while they  still can.]

Lou Johnson is a standout figure in the Australian publishing industry. Some people would say that she has publishing in her blood as her father was a prominent figure in Granada Publishing Ltd and her mother was a publicist and literary agent. Together, her parents set up their own publishing company and bookshop. Lou Johnson probably learned more about the publishing industry over family dinners than most of us will  learn in a lifetime. 

Lou Johnson, impressive publishing lineage aside, has became a dominant figure in her own right. After leaving journalism she joined Harper Collins‘ sales team, where she progressed up the ranks. A lateral move saw her working on the national management of our  ABC Centres, and then back into publishing with a senior role at Random House. Her next position was with Allen & Unwin where she was the sales director. Later she became the managing director of Simon and Schuster.

In 2014 Lou Johnson left mainstream publishing and in 2015 began Author People. Author People was created to be more in touch with readers. At its essence was building the relationship between authors and readers. It is focused on three main types of writing; lived experience, stories to entertain, and knowledge to share. Books from the Author People are infused with fairy dust to ensure top quality. This is possibly a metaphor but I’d prefer to take it literally. (I believe.)  Author People is currently not taking on new authors, but is always fabulous to watch for the innovative work being done with its existing bank of authors.

In late 2016  Lou Johnson accepted the position of publishing director for Murdoch Books. The Australian publishing industry is watching with great anticipation as this innovative person steps back into traditional publishing. We’re certainly prepared for a shake up.

Find Lou Johnson on twitter here.

Find her website for Author People here.

Find Author People on Twitter here.

Find Author People on Facebook here.

Find Murdoch Books here.

If you have any additional information about this entry please leave it in the comment section.

Learn more about Robinpedia here. 

I’ve Started a Support Group… For MYSELF!

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Full confession, I am a chronic self sabotager and procrastinator of the highest order. I’ve had both Book Club Part 3 and Confessions of a Mad Mooer sitting, ready, waiting to go to the copy editor and haven’t sent them. Every time I go to send them I have an anxiety attack, feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, and my stomach fills with acid. I’ve read through them both many times, I am happy with them, others have read them, likewise happy, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to hit send. This week I did it. I did it by setting myself a ridiculously hard goal to achieve which has lit a fire under the seat of my pants… I’m currently pantsless with a scorched A.

I have a dream, to hand the great JByrne a print copy of Confessions of a Mad Mooer, my recap of my time in the psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression, at the final taping of the Book Club ABC for this year. And by give, I mean leap over security and throw it at her screaming, “I love you,” before dashing off ninja style into the night. It’s in December. Luckily I engaged my cover artist months ago, before the dread sunk in, so I’m not completely toast. But given my self sabotagesque approach to life I have started a support group for myself on FB called Self Sabotage and Procrastination to get me through.

Yes, you read right, I’ve started a support group, not for the good of a marginalised group, for myself. I am a wretched toad of a thing. It’s a place we’re people can yell encouraging things at me, suggest blurbs, tell my cover artist that she’s a genius, read the draft, and generally be nice, to make me feel good and not dissolve into a puddle of self loathing.

So… hopefully in December I’ll have some pretty books that you can buy AND high self esteem. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Crawls off to corner and sobs.)