Publishers are looking for books that will sell. Initially they will try to estimate potential domestic and international sales, plus sales of subsidiary rights such as serialization, radio, film and television rights and most will require the digital rights with the print rights in today’s environment. Be wary of a publisher who asks you to pay for the publication. They may not have much incentive to market your book if they have already made their money on it. If in doubt check our Writing Toolkit page.
Indie publishers may be bona fide publishing houses, just not part of big-name publishing. They have the same procedures as other, larger publishing houses for acceptance, rejection and editing, cover art and sales both on their own sites and others such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.
New Zealand publishers range in size from large multi-nationals to mid-size firms to one-man bands. If you’re not using an agent we recommend you research who publishes what before making contact. You will need to submit a Synopsis with your manuscript and we recommend you follow the publishers’ guidelines for submissions.
For further information about how to find a publisher and submitting your manuscript see our booklet Getting Published available from our online bookshop. The Christchurch City Libraries also has a guide for aspiring writers and illustrators called Writing and Illustrating for Children designed to help when submitting work to publishers.
You should expect to hear back from the publisher within a couple of months. If you haven’t, you should follow up with a phone call or email – keep the conversation brief and business like – simply confirm they have received your manuscript and ask when you may expect to hear back from them. If you wish to submit to more than one publisher we recommend no more than three at a time, and make sure they know that you have sent it to someone else – you don’t need to say who.
We recommend that you get any publishing contract checked by a qualified professional before you sign. We offer a Consultancy Service free to members. For help and support contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on NZ publishers visit the Publishers Association of NZ (PANZ) www.publishers.org.nz
Publishing Central has information on all aspects of publishing
We sell a booklet that explains the meaning the clauses you find in a standard publishing contract and gives you a guide on what is acceptable. It is called The Business of Writing. You can buy this at authors.org.nz/shop
Here is an excellent and highly recommended resource from the International Authors Forum: Ten Principles for Fair Contracts
Self-publishing is becoming more common in today’s environment. With the development of digital publishing and print-on-demand authors have more opportunities available to them with the prospect of maximising returns. The Society has developed a booklet offering sound advice and useful contacts entitled Self-Publishing – a writers’ guide. If you decide to go down this path, we strongly recommend that you do not cut any corners. Make sure that you invest in the processes necessary to produce a professional, high-quality book.
Things to cover are costing, research and writing, assessment and edition, illustrations and photographs, typesetting and design, cover design, proofreading, ISBN Numbers, printing and binding, and marketing and distribution.
Canva is a great online resource for designing elegant book covers without needing graphic design experience.
Listing self-published books for libraries and schools
There are a number of New Zealand businesses that supply libraries and schools with book titles. We have information here about Wheelers – one of the major NZ suppliers of book titles.
Wheelers are a large supplier of books and shelf-ready services to libraries and schools throughout New Zealand and Australia. If you would like your self-published book to be added to Wheelers titles list and made available for public libraries/schools to consider ordering, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) at the bottom of this document before you complete the Wheelers New Title Form which is available from this link: Wheelers New Title Form
The eBook is here to stay. The explosion of interest in devices such as Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, the Kobo, and Smartphones means that consumers expect a different electronic publishing and reading experience. You need to be able to meet their demands.
The term eBook refers to a book produced in electronic format. There are two formats that matter today – The ‘epub’ format is an open eBook format recommended by the International Digital Publishing Forum and has become the industry standard; Kindle is Amazon’s own format, often referred to as mobi. Most Kindle ebooks can only be read on an Amazon-approved device. However this is still one of the most common formats used. Other formats include PDF, Apps, Fixed Layout, Apple iBooks and more.
Digital publishing has created a lot of discussion within the publishing industry throughout the world as issues concerning copyright, digital rights, royalties, accessibility, digital rights management, illegal downloading, pricing, and more need to be addressed. The environment is changing quickly and we endeavour to make as much information available as possible through our website and our publications – our weekly electronic newsletter and The New Zealand Author.
For more information about digital publishing, see our booklet Digital Publishing Guide by Martin Taylor.
This BookBaby Guide also has some good information.
Magazines, Journals & Ezines
There are many ways to publish short fiction, poetry or essays. We offer a list of publications – literary magazines as well as electronic formats. If you know of others not listed here, please let us know.
For information on freelancing, see our leaflet Guidelines for Publishing in Magazines, Newspapers and Periodicals available through our online bookstore.