© Shirley Todd, 2005
You have spent hours upon hours
writing and rewriting your manuscript and now you think it is ready.
What do you do next?
Your next step is to have your
manuscript assessed (see below). You might choose to have it edited at this
stage so that it makes the most favourable ‘first impression' possible — and, on
the off-chance your manuscript does not end up among the less than one
percent of manuscripts submitted (the percentage I was quoted by one
publisher) that are actually selected for production by a traditional publisher,
it will mean there is one less procedure for you to do if you decide to
Now, how can you increase your
chances of being selected?
The more polished your manuscript
is — the better your chances are of having it selected. You might think that
what you've written is perfect — and that may be the case — but having your
manuscript looked over by a professional editor and/or assessor is the best
advice I could possibly give you!
Please don't be discouraged if,
after having your manuscript edited and/or assessed, it turns out not to be as
perfect as you first thought and changes are suggested. DON'T take it too
much to heart! Look at what has been suggested and see if the suggested changes
improve what you've written! On having my manuscript edited and assessed, I
personally found the information I received to be extremely helpful and I worked
very hard to turn the weaknesses of my story into its strengths.
After you've polished your
manuscript until you're fully satisfied with it — how can you find the right
publisher? You can go to
the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand When the web page opens,
click on – About Us. When this page opens look beneath the heading: What We Do. Scroll down to the subheading: We publish: Publishers and
Distributors of Aotearoa New Zealand. Download the current copy. The current
copy is a .pdf file and has information on the publishers of New Zealand with a
brief summary of what they publish. (This could take a few minutes to
download) For a free Adobe Reader download which enables you to view .pdf
files click here.
Alternatively, you can go to the
New Zealand Society of Authors. Once the Web page opens click on - Getting Published. When this page opens click on Publishers. (Note:
it also lists literary agents, manuscript assessors, editors and so on) When the
page opens, if you click on a listed publisher, it will show a brief summary of
what they publish. Also, click on Publications. When this page opens, you
will find booklets and leaflets you can order to help with publishing your book.
Lastly, you can go to a bookstore
or library and look for books which are in a similar category to yours and see
who the publishers are. You then have the choice of sending your manuscript to
the different publishers yourself — or finding a literary agent who will
approach the publishers on your behalf.
If you choose to send the
manuscript to a publisher yourself, check their Web site as they'll usually
specify how they want your manuscript presented to them; e.g. A4 paper, double
spacing between lines and so on . . . If you can't find the information on their
Web site then contact the publisher directly.
IF you don't get picked up by a
traditional publisher, don’t despair, all is not lost. YOU can become the
publisher of your book.
I've provided the basic
information you'll need to get started under Links For Self-Publishing. As your journey to self-publishing begins, it
is advisable for you to use the services of a professional proofreader to review
ALL your material before going to print, e.g. your manuscript, letters and
e-mails promoting your book, and also any information you might put on your Web
site. The one listed on my links, Proofread NZ, offers a very personalized service and can check the
spelling, grammar, punctuation and language usage (because there are real
differences) for either the New Zealand, the UK, or the American
markets. If you're planning to sell your book overseas, it might be wise to have
it corrected for the appropriate market. I chose to have my book corrected for
the American market as I was informed it would also be accepted in both the New
Zealand and UK markets.
It is advisable for you to get
your own ISBN number (International Standard Book Number) for your book. In so
doing, you'll be listed as your book's publisher. Some printing companies may
offer to acquire the ISBN for you, but then your book will be listed under their
name as publisher, and should you later wish to change to another publisher, you
will find you'll need to get another ISBN number and barcode for your book.
Acquiring your own ISBN number and barcode at the start gives you the freedom to
pick and choose who prints your book now — and in the future.
To acquire an ISBN number and
Barcode click link below
Library online ISBN application form -
To receive a
barcode number ring EAN NZ on 04 801 0833
ISBN and barcode number for your book,
is free for books published in New Zealand
Some printing companies I've
checked with are, First Edition Ltd, who does digital printing of books. They'll print a
single copy or whatever number of copies you require — the cost-per-copy remains
the same. The Copy Press also does digital printing of books. They offer discounts
with larger quantities printed. EzyPrint Solutions use a digital press which is comparable to offset
printing. Read my Printing Article. There are other digital and offset printing companies
listed on my links page for you to investigate.
Before making a final decision,
it is a good idea to ask for samples and get one or more of your files printed
out — especially if it is colour — as colouring and quality can vary with
digital printers. You might find your colour files need to be adjusted. Also,
check to see whether you are happy with their binding method. With perfect
binding — method used for most novels — do give a tug on the pages
to make sure they do not fall out.
The digital printing companies
will charge you fees for downloading and/or storing your files. Some will have a
set package fee and will not vary the price even if your files are print-ready.
The set package fees are fine for those who need help with preparing their files
for print but are an unnecessary added cost if your files are print-ready. Shop
around so that you only end up paying for work that is actually done.
Advantages with digital printing:
The digital files from
your computer can go right to print. Alterations can easily be made between
print runs. You don't need to print large quantities that could possibly not
sell. You supply according to demand.
Disadvantages with digital
printing: You could have
difficulty negotiating a realistic retail price as successful distribution of
your book, apart from quality, largely depends upon your cost-per-copy. (Note:
If a printing company says they can get your book distributed, find out how and
by whom and check that this is the case!)
You may choose to offset print
your book. That usually means you have to print large quantities in order
for the book to be cost-effective — short runs can be expensive. When choosing a
printer to offset print your book, take along a sample of a book that shows what
you want the finished quality of your book to be. It will help when choosing
binding method, paper thickness, cardboard thickness, the type of paper to use,
etc. Some printers do CTP (computer to plate) which cuts out the cost of
having film made.
Advantages with offset printing:
Better quality print.
Cheaper cost per-copy the larger the quantity you print.
Disadvantages with offset printing:
Plates are made which
could contain four or more of your books pages, depending on book size. This
means both new film — if the printer doesn't do CTP — and new plates would have
to be made when making future alterations. Also, due to the larger quantity
printed, if they don't sell, you could be stuck with a lot of books gathering
Once you've chosen who is going
to produce and/or print your book, it is advisable for you to make sure you have
— in your possession — copies of ALL the computer files relating to your
book's production; e.g. the graphic design for your book's cover, page layout,
text, etc. This ensures you retain control of your book and are not
limited in making future choices. Also, by having your own copies, you are
protected, in the event the company is sold or closed, or they lose your files.
Check out this Web site:
Books Just Books.
This is an American Web site
which has a lot of useful information on self-publishing. (Some of the
information may not apply to New Zealand ) Once the Web page opens, click on FAQ. When this page opens, you will notice several titled boxes containing
questions. Scroll down to the box titled Manufacturing Questions and
check out the 13th question contained in that box. You'll find information on
the differences between offset and digital printing.
View my Printing Article page as you will find lots of useful information. Also,
check out the Self-Publishers Association of New Zealand. Read their current
newsletter and their newsletter archive. You'll glean very helpful information
from them. Their January 2005 newsletter has very good information on starting
up and/or naming one's own company
Most important: Be persistent
give up. When you see your first book in print, the effort involved will
have been well worth it!
Very few authors earn enough from their books to give up their day job. This
includes published and/or self-published authors.
Legal Deposit. If you're publishing a book in
New Zealand, you are required to provide two copies to the National Library of
Copyright. In New Zealand, you are
automatically granted protection from the time a work is created.
An e-book is a book published in electronic form which can then be delivered to
any computer connected to the Internet - anywhere in the world. Don't
overlook the potential of this twenty-first century marketplace.
Final note: Beatrix Potter originally
self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901 after having been turned
down by a half-dozen publishers. She produced 250 copies and either gave them
away or sold them for a half-penny. She was later picked up by publisher
Frederick Warne — and the rest, as we know, is history. Click here
All the Best on Your
© Shirley Todd, 2005