Tag Archives: self-publishing

Funding Your Art

1622117_10203588843912759_2232670102899058624_nIf you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about the cuts to Arts funding in the latest budget. If you aren’t making art, then maybe you don’t care. But you should because even if you aren’t making art, you are enjoying it. All art forms are important for the soul of this beautiful country.

My writer brain doesn’t need too much help with the mathematics of the latest cuts and what they will mean for writers, artists and performers. Not only will it mean that many of the usual grants will not be offered (bad for the artist), it means that the community won’t have the pleasure of seeing new projects come to life (bad for you).

Take a look at the latest cuts to Australia Council grants:

http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/news/media-centre/media-releases/australia-council-outlines-2015-16-budget-impact/

If artists can’t fund their projects, how will they grow and improve on their craft? Imagine the books, paintings, performances that might never see the light of day. We need to realise how important this is for the future of our society in cultural terms.

You might think, So what?

Why is art so important? We need cures for cancer, world poverty and global warming. Yes, we do. But artists tell stories and stories help us to make sense of the world, help us broaden our experience and understanding and allow us to think more creatively, which in turn helps us to discover solutions to problems that need this creative thinking.

The biographer and journalist, Walter Isaacson, said that science can give us empirical facts and try to tie them together with theories, but it’s the humanists and the artists who turn them into narratives with moral, emotional and spiritual meanings: art gives meaning to the theories of science.

Art is also escapism, pleasure and connection with each other.

So what can we do about it? Politics has a lot to do with it, so don’t vote for the wrong people. But it’s also about the community supporting the arts in different ways: buy books (real ones), go to galleries and buy artwork, go to the movies (don’t buy pirate movies in Bali), go to a live theatre performance.

Crowd funding is becoming a fantastic way for people to get their project off the ground. Maybe this is the arts funding of the future?

The community needs to be aware of the importance of making art for the future of our cultural existence. Without it we are dull, non-dimensional beings. We might cure cancer but our world will be colourless.

Don’t Let Ego Take Over

typewriterFor the uninitiated, the self-publishing journey can feel like a minefield. I hear horror stories every day (no exaggeration) of people paying out $20,000, even $30,000 to publish, only to end up with boxes of unsold books stored out in the garage, collecting mildew. This is why the self-publishing industry has a bad name and why I make it my mission to bring back the fun, joy and even financial gain (yes, you can make money from it!) in self-publishing.

At the end of the day, an author should experience the joy of bringing their book into the world, celebrating with a book launch and making more than it cost them to publish it.

I hesitate to write this post for fear of it sounding like a sales pitch. But I feel very frustrated and even a little angry about the state of the industry that I work in. This may be because I am not just a publisher but also a writer, so I care about the people I help. They are essentially a reflection of me.

They could be me.

Publishing a book is scary. Not just because of the time and money that might go into it but also because the author is putting herself out there. She is investing in herself and putting a piece of work, no matter the genre, out into the community. She will be under the spotlight while the readers decide if the book is worthy of the time they take to read it.

There are so many great stories out there, waiting to be told. Some will get picked up by the traditional publishers and receive a royalty of the sales, others will be self-published. My problem is that there are many companies out there masquerading as ‘real’ or traditional publishers. For the uninitiated, how do you tell the difference? It’s very easy. If ANY money changes hands, you are essentially self-publishing. If you are not handing over any money and receive a percentage of the sales, then that is traditional publishing.
Do you know how these companies manage to get away with this? EGO. They are telling people that they love their work and they should publish it. They say that they will publish it but you have to buy 1500 books at wholesale price (putting you out of pocket by around $25,000). Or they’ll sell you a reasonable package, only to on-sell you large marketing packages (of around $30,000). Then they will continue to hound you for months – even years – to buy more books, publish another book or add more marketing bundles to what you already have.

My blood is boiling just thinking about it. How can a person make back their money if they’ve invested that much already? Probably by now they are so despondent by the whole process that they have fallen out of love with their project that was so exciting when they were told, ‘We love your book.’

So please, authors, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Ask lots of questions, get lots of different opinions. If you are handing out more than $10,000 for the physical publication (unless you are getting illustrations or photography) of your book then you may as well flush it down the toilet.

My favourite part of the publishing process is seeing my authors at the book launch, seated at a table behind a pile of their books waiting to be signed. It never gets old. I get little  butterfly flutters in my belly. I don’t like the idea of authors crying over the horrible experience that they may have been subjected to. Publishing should be exciting, fun and even life-changing!