Authors keen to bypass the process of pitching their work to big publishing houses are increasingly taking the path of self-publishing.
Former primary teacher and early childhood educator, Mount Kembla writer Jody Cauduro was passionate about introducing children to Australia’s nature and diversity through books.
She has just released her third book titled Watching … Wondering aimed at ages eight and under, which involves characters with disabilities and from different ethnic backgrounds.
The final pages are left blank to encourage readers to provide their own extension to the story through illustrations and/or words.
“I felt I had some stories to tell and I was keen to bring those forward to showcase the diversity in our world,” Mrs Cauduro said.
“It’s a difficult area to be able to get published in, I guess, if you have a project in mind I just think it’s great to be able to have the options.
“Certainly self publishing is becoming a lot more predominant.”
Authors essentially pay a company to produce either eBooks or hard copies – or both. Though the onus is on the writer to find stockists to make their money back.
For Mrs Cauduro, she is happy to be making a small profit from her first two children’s books and hopes to do the same with the third, though admitted “it is a bit of a slog at times”.
“Be prepared to put in the hard yards – it’s not an easy option,” she said.
“I would also suggest a professional edit your work well as you don’t want to have mistakes.”
Director of the South Coast Writers Centre Kirstin Bokor said platforms like Amazon Kindle have opened up the market significantly for self-published eBooks.
However she noted writing a book - be it an adult novel or kids picture book - was more complex than many first estimated.
"Something I hear over and over from writers publishing their first novel is how much work their editor put them through," Ms Bokor said.
"They’d believed that what they’d handed over was the best product they could author, yet someone else had other ideas."
When a manuscript is picked up by a publishing house there are a team of experts working to present the work as the best product it could be, she said.
"If you are picked up by one of these publishing houses they will handle book distribution, they’ll also organise the book cover, the title, and editing," Ms Bokor said.
"Self-publishing allows you to publish your work quickly [and it] allows the author to take in most of the earnings, except what you decide to spend on marketing, production and publishing."
Regardless of which avenue a writer decides to use, Ms Bokor stressed a "well proofed" manuscript was essential.
She said there were many active forums and online communities for self-published authors. While the SCWC also holds various workshops to help authors develop their work.
On May 4 the centre will be host author Alyssa Montgomery to discuss the topic of self-publishing, as part of their Sydney Writers Festival Live and Local satellite event.
More details can be found at https://southcoastwriters.org.au