Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. We fast and pray, atone and repent. For many Jewish people it is the one day of the year when we actually do take part in a religious ritual.

We reaffirm being Jewish by attending synagogue, irrespective of our depth of religious adherence and regardless of our level of commitment to actual fasting or atonement. It is a day when one does think about being Jewish and about being part of a wider community with a shared cultural history.


As a child, it was a grim and moving day for me. When my parents had died when I was a teenager and otherwise non-observant, the prayers for the dead became something I could do for them – respect, a link.


Fasting is from sunset to nightfall the following day: no eating or drinking or smoking or driving unless you are ill or travelling. At least those were the rules in my family – I have since come across other, much stricter, ones.


Yitzkor is ‘remember’ in Hebrew and there is a special memorial service on the Day of Atonement, asking God to remember our dead parents, relatives and friends. You leave the synagogue for this and wait outside unless one of your parents is dead.


In the evening comes Kol Nidre, which means ‘all vows’ and dates from the Spanish Inquisition. It starts with very lovely music, sung or played, one of the most beautiful versions being by Pablo Casals in 1923.


A friend says that when he was young his father thought he should take him to a Yom Kippur service. He found it very boring and kept tugging at his father’s sleeve, hoping to get away and when they finally sneaked out and started walking home, much relieved to be free again, they suddenly saw their bus approaching. His father looked guilty, looked around and said,  “Hop on quickly!” So they rode home instead of walking and never gave it another thought!


When I came to live in Southwest France, leaving Hong Kong and the Ohel Leah Synagogue far away, I observed Yom Kippur by fasting, but no more. However, the most heart-warming, soul-stirring Day of Atonement I’ve ever spent was here when Judy Cassab and her younger son, Peter Kampfner, came from Sydney to stay. As well as being one of the greatest portrait painters of the twentieth century, a fine pianist and an important diarist.

Judy, who grew up in Beregszasz with my mother, was the most outstanding, inspirational person I have ever met, full of benevolence, generous common sense and open-mindedness, just the same person in London and Sydney as she was in Budapest and Condom.

It was a joy to drive her around the countryside with her sketchpad, stopping whenever something tugged at her imagination. And, on a more worldly level, she bought lots of sexy underwear and it’s the only time I’ve ever broken the fast with foie gras!


But then that is the basis of all the major Jewish holidays – they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!

“The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger” – David Attenborough


Larger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living thing on earth visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef almost escapes description. Its scintillating beauty, whether photographed, filmed, or for those lucky enough, glimpsed up-close and underwater, is a testament to the vast diversity of life with which we share our planet.

And now we face a future without it.

It probably won’t be news to you that the Reef’s destiny hangs in the balance. Whether it’s reports of the potential impacts of coal mine developments, 2016’s global coral bleaching event, or UNESCO’s admonishment of Australia’s efforts to protect perhaps our best known World Heritage area, there’s a lot to keep up on.

Here’s a rundown of three key recent developments:

Legal challenge to Adani coal mine relaunched

A well-publicised court case, led by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), has sought to challenge a huge coal mining development proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin. The basis being that burning coal and climate pollution is inconsistent with international obligations to protect the Reef.

Adani’s Carmichael mine, if built, would be one of the largest coal mines in the world and would release more CO2 emissions annually than Bangladesh with its population of 160 million.

The ACF has argued that then federal environment minister Greg Hunt failed to consider the impact of emissions and climate change on the Reef when making his decision to approve the mine.

The ACF has redoubled its efforts after their case in the Federal Court was dismissed in August 2016, lodging an appeal against the decision in September 2016.

Threatened ‘In danger’ listing by UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Coal developments proposed by the Queensland government led to a warning from UNESCO in 2012 that the Reef risked being listed as a World Heritage site ‘in danger’. The UN body urged Australia to reconsider a coal terminal and port developments proposed on the Reef’s doorstep.

UNESCO has been closely monitoring progress since their initial warning, including an official visit to Australia. In 2015, UNESCO decided against listing the Reef, but said it would closely monitor conservation progress over the next four years.

On 26 September, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad met with UNESCO officials in Paris to discuss how the state government has progressed in protecting the Reef Amendments to tree-clearing laws that failed to pass parliament. The amendments were intended to reduce polluting land and agricultural runoff, one of the major ongoing threats to Reef health. Tree clearing has more than tripled in Queensland in recent years.

UNESCO said the status of this promise to strengthen land-clearing laws would be reflected as “significantly delayed” in future reports on the Reef. The commitment forms part of the Federal and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 plan.

Worst coral bleaching in history

Adding to pressure on the reef from development and pollution, a strong El Niño heralded what is widely regarded as the worst global bleaching event ever recorded in 2016. Ninety-three per cent of the Reef has been affected, with almost a quarter of its coral killed this year alone.

Some scientists believe it may now be too late for the Reef.

Others hold onto hope, but with the cool pragmatism of those who comprehend the scale of the task ahead. As Attenborough has said, “the resilience of the natural world gives you great hope really. Give nature half a chance and it really takes it and works with it. But we are throwing huge problems at it.”

Attenborough has seen first-hand the impact of these problems. The Reef he first visited 60 years ago was a very different place to today, having lost around 50 per cent of its coral cover in the 27 years between 1985 and 2012 alone.

Current efforts are not enough to save the Reef. More needs to be done, and quickly. Climate change is happening faster than predicted, and other human threats to the Reef like pollution and development continue to grow.


There’s a certain irony to a small business wanting to create a more ‘officey’ environment. I mean, isn’t it most people’s dream to work from home? The idea of rolling out of bed straight onto the job (or perhaps not even leaving your bed) is just the best.

So why would having a physical office be so important to a growing business? Does it really make any difference? Can’t we all just work remotely?

Here are 10 solid reasons why a growing business needs an office:

1. It’s a place to call HQ

Employees find it reassuring to be able to relate the business they work for to somewhere that actually exists – the ‘home’ of their company. It’s also a central place where they know their boss either works or is invested in, and that builds confidence in your brand from the inside.

It also makes you as the boss feel more aware of your colleagues and employees.

2. It’s a recognisable ‘precinct’ for customers

Customers – and even more importantly potential customers – might find it hard to grasp the idea of a company with no permanent office or base. It reminds me of that scene in the 2005 movie 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell and Catherine Keener. Keener’s character runs an eBay store but still has a shop front.

Ok, it’s a lampooned scenario but the logic is, in fact, pretty good. People like to be able to see the bricks-and-mortar side to a company they’re about to spend money with.

3. Business-level infrastructure and connectivity

Think about how many times your internet drops out or slows down at home –even if you’re on a pretty good plan. Offices as a general rule have better connectivity. If all of your employees have access to this, it’s going to make them happy and work quality’s going to improve.

4. Professional image

This is an obvious one, but it’s true. Having premises that allow you to give interested parties a physical address sets the bar for your professionalism and how serious you are. It also suggests that there’s a level of success that requires you to have an office in the first place.

5. A place to interview and host

An office gives you facilities where you can stage interviews with customers or job applicants, and also a place to hold events. Meeting in a local café is great – especially for an informal chat – but it’s not ideal if you’re looking for somewhere that makes an impression.

Your office will also give you a place to meet with team members to thrash out ideas and keep the ball moving.

6. A place to meet, collaborate and build a community

Never underestimate the power of the water cooler. One of the biggest perks for employees is the sense of community they can find at work. People meet their life-long best friends at work. This is so much less likely to happen if you’re all working remotely.

7. Fewer distractions

Working from home has a reputation – and it’s only mostly true. Having worked from home myself, I know how household chores can interrupt the workflow, and people tend to think you’re just at home and not actually working.

An office environment keeps you focused – although you have to be careful not to make the office too austere at the same time.

8. Accountability

The office gives people boundaries. It’s a work environment above all else. Working from home or other places around town, the lines get blurry. I love this funny BuzzFeed article on the problems working from home  – and though meant as a joke, it’s only funny because there are elements of truth to it.

I’m allowed to say this because I work, predominantly, from my home office.

9. Productivity

Most people (and before you get over-excited, that really means ‘not everyone’) find working at their desk in an office environment more productive. You feel more professional.

It’s a bit like when you have casual Friday or when you dress up for work, your whole tone feels different. Above all, an office gives you a time to get up and start work and – just as importantly – a time to knock off.

10. Communication

There’s nothing quite like face-to-face communication. I wonder if any technology will really ever be able to beat it. Seeing and speaking to the person you’re working with or a client you’re working for makes everything real and makes more sense of what you’re doing. It’s the easiest and quickest way to build rapport.

So what’s the big news with The Copy Collective HQ?

cat overflowing a box and text about moving offies

As you’ve probably noticed, The Copy Collective is growing all the time. We’ve got to the stage now where we need a space in the heart of Sydney to make ourselves more available to our staff and our valued clients.

And we want to do all the stuff we’ve listed above, of course! So as of 1 June, we’ll be combining our Sydney offices into one single central location at 185 Elizabeth Street.

We’ll be perfectly located right opposite Hyde Park, near several train stations and a wealth of bus routes. Plus our new building has a stunning heritage façade, which you might just find us standing outside admiring during our lunch breaks!

We’re so excited about this move, and we can’t wait to watch our business develop and bloom in these amazing new premises.

Here’s our new address for you to update our contact details now:

The Copy Collective
Suite 317, 185 Elizabeth Street
NSW 2000

‘Straya, where the shorter your name the more someone loves ya, YouTube videos are always ‘not available in your country’, there’s a swimming pool named after a drowned prime minister and an episode of Peppa Pig was banned for showing spiders as friendly.

Australia and its people are confused by the rest of the world’s lack of understanding of our simple, everyday slang. At the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to chuck a u’ey (U-turn), head down to Maccas (McDonald’s) and have a yarn with your mates (conversation with your friends) this arvo (afternoon).

  1. Arvo


The earliest period most Aussies consider it acceptable to drink. Also denoted by the sun being “over the yard arm”.

  1. Barbie


Testimony to how much we Aussies say ‘barbie’ I had to ask the 11-year-old next to me how to spell barbeque. And no bloody shrimps on the barbie! Put some snags on there to go on your sanger (sandwich)!

  1. Bring a plate

Bring a plate of food to the social gathering: this gathering usually takes place in close proximity to a barbie. Bringing a plate is so popular that food websites dedicate sections to suitable food to bring on a plate.

  1. Cubby house

A play house or blanket fort marketed at children and loved by the young at heart and the very drunk. When a person (usually a husband) is in ‘the dog house’ they are much more likely to be in the cubby house as many Australian homes have cubby houses but far fewer have dog houses (kennels). And sometimes, serendipitously, the world of Macca’s and cubby houses collide.

  1. Trackies/TrackieDaks

Trackies = Tracksuit. An ensemble that is considered by Western Australians as acceptable wear for plane travel. Those from ‘the Eastern States’ can tell a sand-groper (person from WA) at a glance by a) the type of tracksuit and b) the event to which it is worn. Posh (upmarket) places specifically ban the wearing of tracksuits in WA.

TrackieDaks refer to the trouser component of the tracksuit. TrackieDaks, singlet and thongs (flip flops to non-Australians – unless you are a Kiwi and then they are jandles) is considered de rigueur wear by bogans (the great unwashed or uncouth persons).

  1. Dag

An uncool person. If you wear socks and sandals (at the same time) or Crocs you are a dag. Originally, it meant something messy and unpleasant about sheep but it’s strayed a long way from that in common usage.

  1. Eskies

Portable cooler or icebox. Esky started as a specific brand but the word has moved into common slang. Also known as “chilly bins” by our Kiwi cousins.

  1. Maccas

McDonald’s – a franchised fast food American restaurant. A rite of passage for Australian teens is a 3 am Maccas run (note the obligatory ‘uggies’ – ugg boots) when you get your ‘Ps’ (probationary licence or P-plates). Such a run has a dress code – pyjama shorts, ugg boots or similar slippers and T-shirt.

  1. Stubby/stubbies

A stubby is a beer; specifically a short-necked bottle of beer. A stubby holder is also known as a Koozie, beer sleeve, coldy holdy, and is the thing that keeps your beer cool and stops your hands from getting cold.

B Stubbies, on the other hand, are a very unattractive design of shorts worn by older Australian men and school boys. These shorts are responsible for plumber’s crack (known as builder’s crack in New Zealand – so much so, they even have a website)

Three Tom's wearing stubbies

  1. Yarn

To spin a yarn is to tell a story which is exaggerated. To have a yarn with someone is to have a conversation, most likely about nothing important.

Happy ‘Straya Day, mate!

If you go to the Australian government’s website for the National Transition Strategy you will be greeted with pages of boring government-speak about:

“improved web services”
“the provision of information and services online”
“an important milestone for government”
and “whole-of-government”.

Continue reading

You have written your book, it’s been published in print and you have 700 copies on a pallet in the garage plus you’ve just listed the book on Google PlayAmazon and in iBook’s. Now you are waiting for the sales and royalties to roll in – right? Ah, no – that’s not how it works.

As I tell our authors, writing and publishing your book is the easy bit, now the hard work starts with marketing.

Back in the day, authors had publishers who would take them on publishing tours and spend $30,000 on a marketing plan for each release. And that still happens. There are authors who have those services available to them. However, these days most authors do their own publicity, especially if they want to make any money.

If you’ve received a $15,000 advance for a 10,000 print run from a major publisher, congratulations and we’ll say good-bye here. If you’re still with me, let’s get down to taws.

I’m assuming you’ve taken my advice and have a good author photo, a readable blurb for your book and social media assets developed. If you don’t have social media assets let’s start with the basics.

Social media assets

You need a website dedicated to your book, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account as a minimum. Depending on the book (cookbooks – think Pinterest, young adult – think Tumblr, business – think LinkedIn) you will need other assets. Stay with the mainstream social media mentioned above and/or Google+Instagram, and YouTube because your time is limited.
You can only manage a certain number of accounts well with the time and resources you have.

Consider using Hootsuite to manage your social media so that you can automate the scheduling of your posts. Use the strengths of your social media assets: share links on Twitter (they get a greater click-through rate), pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube.

Once you have your assets, you need to maintain them. Try to tweet every day, Facebook once a day, update LinkedIn twice weekly and blog once a week. Add your Twitter feed to your website, so the content is constantly being refreshed (Google loves fresh content).

Add a Google Analytics code to each page of your website so that you can track and analyse your traffic easily.

The great news about all these assets is that they are free to create and operate. You only start adding costs once you start advertising, which I recommend but only once you have all your social media and other digital assets working for you.

Social media is everywhere – so you can be too.

Other digital assets

As an author there are some great sites devoted to books where you can create an account and get your books reviewed. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to just that. GoodReads is essential. It’s free to create an account and you can add that great author photo, your bio and write a blog that could reach 30 million book lovers. There are other sites but GoodReads is a great place to start.

Your book’s website

Your website is a salesperson who works 24/7 and doesn’t take sick leave. It should be as slick as you can make it. Have a look at the sites of other authors in your genre for what works. Huffington Post surveyed its readers for their favourites and never underestimate the power of independent bloggers and reviewers – they will link to your website.


Now that you are an author, you should make it a goal to write a blog post each week. If you have a WordPress website or blog site, you can put the goal in the settings and it will remind you to post a blog via email.

Content for social media and blogs

Clearly, if you have speaking engagements, book signings or launches you will write about these. You should also have a friend take photos of you signing books and speaking, so that you can include them in your posts.

But what happens when you run out of ideas? Firstly, sit down and write out 10 blogging topics and set yourself the task to write one a week. Next, use the tools built into HootSuite and other sites to curate content for you. Enter a list of key words and it will suggest content for your to post from others. Follow key accounts on Facebook and Twitter and repost and retweet their content: it gives you content for little effort and the other account may return the favour and share something of yours.

For your blog topics think about things that will interest your readers – where did your characters come from? How did you work out which topics to address in your business manual? What is it like being an author? People are interested in your story. So tell a story about writing the book or how you became an author or what prompted you to write the book. Use storytelling, similes (phrases that use the words ‘like’ or ‘as’), active language, metaphors and detailed examples. These techniques will make your posts more interesting.

Speaking engagements

Offer to speak at your local writers groupeditor’s society, service club or any other group you think might be interested in your topic. Contact your local council about “Meet the author” events at public libraries.
Visit your local bookshop and see if they will have you speak at one of their author lunches. Browse your local Meetups for groups that may like a guest speaker.

Try and line up at least 12 speaking engagements a year. Aim to sell a set number of books each time you sell. After a few speaking engagements, you will be able to gauge how many books you sell on each occasion. If you sell 20 books each time you speak, then you will need to have 35 speaking engagements (almost one a week) in a year to clear those 700 books out of the garage.


Join societies

In every state in Australia there are societies of authors and publisherswriting centres, book clubs and writers festivals. Get involved, take a stand or stall at any relevant conferences where you think your book might sell.

General publicity

Write a media release for your book launch. Send it to your local paper as well as the major metro dailies as well as bloggers and relevant sites for your topic. Provide professional photographs of you and images of your book cover. Use a wire service such as AAP Medianet or PRWire to distribute your release (this will cost money). If you don’t have a budget for a paid service use one of the free PR newswire services. At the very least, get your release indexed by Google News.

Knock on doors

It’s not very likely but you can try the direct approach to getting your book in bookshops. Try ReadingsGleebooksDymocks (try your local Dymocks first), and independent book stores (check the directories hosted by Australian Independent Bookseller and Danny Yee).

Use a distributor

If you have a print book, send your book to a distributor. Dennis Jones & Associates is the most used service in Australia but you can also try Macmillan Distribution Services, Australian Book Group and United Book Distributors. If you have a specialist topic that you can approach (like Koorong for Christian resources or Co-op for tertiary education).

If you have printed your book through a print on demand service such as Lulu or Blurb, they too will have distribution services that you can pay for.

Marketing calendar

Now you have all your assets developed, your distribution plan in place and a few dates for conferences and speaking engagements plus all those commitments to tweet, post, and blog and vlog (video blogging). Organise all your commitments into a Google Calendar (another free asset). Input your daily, weekly, monthly and ad hoc commitments. You will soon find that you have something pencilled in for most days/weeks.

That sounds daunting but if you aim to be a full time writer, then you’d better get used to putting yourself into the public gaze to vend your wares.

And the best-selling tactic?

The very best thing you can do to sell your first book is to write and publish your second. Think of it as renewing your product line. We all want the latest, the freshest and the most up to date; however, if we can get a bargain we might very well buy an older model. Game of Thrones didn’t become a hit in the first season. Some people are catching on now and Season 1 is selling well in iTunes.

If you’ve got this far, congratulations! You are well on your way to being a successful published author. We wish you all the very best and hope that you become a household name or at least sell all the books you have printed.

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

You’re almost there! You’ve written the work, laid it out and now you need to get it out. But how? Maureen Shelley shares her research on publishing platforms in part 8 of Blog series “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author.”

Print, digital or POD?
Once, it used to be easy. You could print or you could go digital. Now, you can print, go digital, go a bit each way with short print runs and print on demand (POD). Do it yourself, contract it all out, contract out a bit or contract a lot. It is up to you. Never have so many people been publishing books and never have there been more choices available to the would-be author to get their manuscript before a reading public.

Printing in Australia

We use and recommend Griffin Press in South Australia. They are a traditional printer with some extras for small publishers (like us), self-publishers and big publishers. People always want to know what it will cost to print their book and the answer is “it depends”. It depends on book length, size, paper chosen, cover stock chosen – even the size of your margins can make a difference (larger margins equals more pages).

A screen capture of the "Request a Quote" page at
Self-print options available at Griffin Press. Source:

So let’s say you have

  1. 316 pages
  2. in a Trade B format paperback
  3. with gloss cover (matte is more fashionable but it scratches more easily)
  4. with book cream pages

For 1000 books that will cost you around $5 a book.

Now, you can get a quote out of China for about $2 a book for the same format manuscript, however it will cost you $3 a book to ship it to Australia. That will still cost you around $5 a book.
It will cost you more if you want proofs rather than just checking a PDF file and it will cost you more if you ship stock to more than one “drop” (address).
You then have to store your books where they won’t absorb damp, smells (cigarettes, open fires, factories etc), or be attacked by insects or rodents (so maybe not the attic, basement or garage – unless they are clean, dry, airy vermin-proof areas).
If you must store your books in the garage, put your cartons on a plastic pallet – they at least won’t absorb damp from the ground. You can buy plastic pallets from eBay or Gumtree.
Our recommendation is to print in Australia if you have a ready-made audience. If you are well known – even if it’s in your own niche – you have an audience already. If you then market to that audience, you should get sales and hopefully can move 1000 books inside of a year.
The books that sell the most in Australia are children’s books (however, they tend to have a lower cover price so the authors may earn less than writers for the general market with a higher price) and tie-ins to movies and TV programs (good luck with that).
Female authors tend to do better with cookbooks and diet books, unless you are Mem Fox or writing romance novels. Andy Griffiths probably sells more books in Australia than any other Australian author but they’re cheaper so Andy may not earn quite as much as Matthew Reilly (I don’t actually know, this is a guesstimate based on reported sales).
If you write a book that can be used in schools, you will have a much better chance at success. Around half of Australia’s reported $2 billion+ publishing industry is for publications in the education sector.
You can view monthly top seller lists at Nielsen BookScan to get an idea of what is selling locally, who is writing them, and the retail price at local book shops.

A screen capture of the "Hot 10" page at
Top 10 selling books in Australia, retrieved 1 August 2014. Source:

So, if Andy, Mem and Matthew are selling (say) 40,000 books each, you can expect to sell 400. If you have an audience or have created an audience, you may sell a print run of 1000. A best seller in Australia is 3000 sales or better.
Let’s say your book will cost between $5000 and $10,000 to produce 1000 copies:

  • $5 to print the book
  • plus up to another $5 per book in editing, proofing, design, typesetting, and other expenses

Of those 1000 copies you may sell 400 for $19.95. So your $5,000 to $10,000 investment will net you $7,980.

However, you could be the author that sells 990 of your 1,000 print run (10 copies for deposit at the National Library of Australia, some sold through marketing, and the copies your mum buys for Christmas presents) and you’ve made between $9750 and $14,750 profit. Start to do that twice a year and you have the beginnings of a new career.

In addition to sales, your book may also be purchased by public libraries and the Public Lending Rights (PLR) scheme may apply. If you strike gold and your education-related book is picked up and used as part of the National Curriculum, then the Education Lending Rights (ELR) may also kick in. These schemes are administered by the Ministry for the Arts, a part of the Australian Attorney General’s Department. Guidelines can be found at the Ministry for the Arts webpage.
Your decision to print should be carefully weighed. On the one hand, you are taking a risk. However, you will control your sales and distribution and, if you are a self-published author all of the money from sales (less your costs) is yours to keep. If you do want to print in Australia, then Griffin Digital can do short runs if you don’t want to commit to more than 500 books.


Using a digital format to produce your books is a no-brainer. There really isn’t a good reason to not produce a digital version of your book. The difficult part is to decide what formats to publish in and whether you will do it yourself or contract out part or all of the effort. I discussed preparing your digital file in Part 7 of this series.


A PDF is the easiest, simplest and cheapest form of digital publishing available to you. You can write the book yourself, use an online program to undertake editing or proofing (some are even free to use) and you can then convert your manuscript by printing to PDF in your word processing program.
You then have an ebook that you can give away, send to people who subscribe to your blog or sign up on your website (assuming you are marketing some other product), or upload to a platform such as Scribd. If you give away your book, you can upload to Scribd immediately. If you want to sell it, you will need to go through one of their digital publishing partners:
SmashWordsINscribe DigitalBookBabyDraft2Digial
If you have ecommerce on your website, you can take payment for your book and provide the PDF as a down-loadable file once payment is made.
You can also sell your PDF ebook through platforms such as those used by Scribd or through Vook or IngramSpark.
Conversion and distribution platforms
If you don’t want to convert your Word doc to an ebook version yourself, there are platforms that will do it for you. This is a small selection but they offer some of the largest distribution networks with up to 39,000 outlets around the world.

Popular conversion/distribution platforms

Platform Your share Fees
BookBaby 60% of list = 85% net royalties $0 to $249+, cover design $149 – $279
Booktango 100% of net royalties Free basic package, premium packages from $49 to $349. Booktango is part of AuthorServices, which is a division of Penguin Books.
Draft2Digital 60% of list = 85% net royalties No fees but retain 30% for US tax if not from US unless a signed W8-BEN form is lodged (Australia & NZ have tax agreement with US), free ISBN
INscribe Digital ?? “flat fees per title distributed & a small revenue share per title sold”
IngramSpark 40% of list/agency price $25-$49 per eBook plus $12 per title per year – dearest but also can be paired with POD (print on demand); it also distributes to the most outlets
Smashwords 60% of list = 85% net royalties No fees, free ISBN
Vook 60% of list = 85% net royalties No fees

Free conversion tools
There are tools that allow you to convert your word processing file to the popular formats for free. They tend to be a bit fiddly but if you have the time and are prepared to be patient, then you can convert your files yourself and upload to the popular stores yourself:

  • Amazon, for Kindle – still the category killer
  • iTunes – Apple’s iBooks are getting more popular
  • Google Play – PDF, ePub or .ASCM (Adobe’s format with DRM)

You will want – as a minimum – a version for Kindle AZW, iTunes (ePub) and Google Play. You may also want versions for Sony LRF, eBook FB2, Microsoft LIT, and TCR (Symbian platforms).

The Calibre open source program can be used for DRM-free (digital rights management-free) books and you can use the free converter at Online Convert to produce most popular formats. Both these sites request donations. Online Convert has a paid premium service as well. Zamzar also converts one ebook format to most others and is a free service.


Direct digital services

Amazon – Kindle Direct Services
Amazon really created the ebook market. The Kindle (love it or hate it) is still the best-selling e-reader and some authors make a living through just listing with Amazon. If you choose to publish exclusively with Amazon you will earn higher royalties (70% net instead of 60% or less). Publishing in the Kindle format is complicated (I’ve done it) but Amazon have excellent resources for self publishers.
Apple – iBook Author
If you just want to publish in iTunes and your books need colour images, then I would recommend using iBook Author. It is free but you will need a Macintosh computer. Apple provides excellent resources for the self-publishing author but if you publish directly with Apple you can’t sell your book anywhere else. You can give it away, though. Authoring with the iBook Author is a “drag and drop” experience, particularly if you have multimedia that you want to include.
Apple – Book Creator (for iPad) ($6.49)
If you don’t have a Macintosh computer but still want to publish directly to iTunes, you can use an app on an iPad called Book Creator. It will produce a reasonable book that can be published to the iTunes store and will be available for sale or distribution. It is better for short books such as picture books for children or self-help books (not so much for 52,000 word novels) and you can incorporate both video and audio into your book. More than 5 million books have been published with Book Creator, so it is well worth trying.
Google Play
To publish directly with Google Play you need to create a Google Partner Account. Google accepts PDF and ePub formats and provides a step-by-step process for authors and self-publishers. After establishing your account and sorting how you’d like to be paid and where you’d like to sell your book, you can list your book in Google’s book catalogue, set your price and distribution and then upload the book.

Print On Demand (POD)

Print on demand services enable your books to be listed as “in stock” or “available now” in online stores. There are a lot of POD services out there. I’d recommend you look at three: Lulu, Blurb and IngramSpark.
Lulu has been in operation since 2002, which is a long time in the POD space. Lulu lets you set up your account for free. It has a slightly different take on fees. Lulu takes a “base price” deduction from your RRP (the cost of producing the book), as well as a “share”. However, it claims that authors receive more net than if they print with Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Ingram. These three publishers all charge less to produce the book but they have higher distribution fees. While the POD prices for Lulu are reasonable (about $10 a book), in the past shipping was a killer and often left a book costing as much or more than it would cost to print in Australia. However, Lulu now have print facilities in Australia and this is less of a problem.
While the Blurb POD book costs more (about $11 to $12 for a 200-page book printing 1000) it allows for much more flexibility than the usual self-publishing service. You create one file and Blurb converts it to PDF, fixed format ebook and POD book. You can sell through Blurb, your own site or Amazon. This is a great platform for photo books, coffee table books, art books or similar. If you want a straight black print on book cream paper, there are cheaper options but perhaps not those that are as easy to use or as flexible.
While IngramSpark is probably one of the most expensive options it also has the greatest reach. You can produce an ebook and a POD book through Ingram. If you produce your eBook and POD book at the same time, the set up fee is $49, however, if you order 50 books for your first print run the $49 fee is refunded. If you print 50 books of the one title and ship to a single address, the $49 is recredited to your credit card. If you choose IngramSpark, your book (eBook and POD) will be available in 39,000 outlets. That is as good as it gets. What you need to decide is whether you are prepared to put all the “publishing” in the hands of one partner and collect a lower net revenue or whether you want to do more of the leg work and receive a bigger share of your list price.

Personally, I think that it is better to put more of your time into marketing your book than distributing it so my recommendation is to go with IngramSpark.
If you work with a company such as ours, we would put it through the publishers’ equivalent Lightning Source (also owned by Ingram, which is a big US publisher).

Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

As a journalist with News Limited for 12 years (prior to joining The Copy Collective) including being Business Editor of The Daily Telegraph, the Online Editor of Sydney Confidential and National Technology Writer for News Limited Maureen Shelley knows a thing or two about working with the media and is happy to share her knowledge.

OUR luminous leader Dominique Antarakis features – quite rightly – in a recent edition of The Australian  and we are excited that she’s getting the attention that she deserves. That said, what are the seven things you must do when the media comes calling?

  1. Say yes – make yourself available within reason when members of the Fourth Estate call
  2. Be prepared – if they call you out of the blue, give yourself permission to say “I’ll call you right back”. Take a deep breath, think about what message you want to get across (it needs to be a 30 second MAX sound bite) and stay on message. Also, have a professionally taken headshot on hand that you can supply if requested.
  3. If they want to take a photograph, ask when the deadline is and make sure that you can be at the shoot with your hair, make up and clothes portraying the way you want your business to be perceived If you’re in you’re slippy’s and trackies, then do you have time to change or can you change the time of the shoot? (Never hurts to ask). If you can’t change anything, then go with the picture anyway – a bad picture is better than no picture (unless it’s one of these).
  4. Be colourful – colourful quotes get up higher in business stories and have less chance of being cut by the sub-editor. So, while being neither flippant nor disrespectful, say, “Our business rocks” rather than “When all things are considered, our business is responding well in what is a challenging economic climate”.
  5. Ask for the media person’s direct number, email or mobile phone number. That way, the next time you have a story to tell, you can go back to them directly.
  6. Don’t cyber stalk them, don’t try and be their friend on Facebook (although LinkedIn is fine and so is following them on Twitter) but do contact them with an email and follow up phone call if you have a real story. Don’t – and I mean DON’T – insult the journo or media person involved.
  7. Know when you have a story – Don’t call the media if you’ve installed a new piece of equipment in your tanning studio. Do call them if you are the owner of a tanning studio and there has been a recent victim of a drive-by shooting at your tanning studio.

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