Tripping to Tabar & the mystery of Mahur
Those valuable insights beyond ‘shithole country’

Authors benefit from a publishing revolution


“I know there's a self-publishing alternative available, but for Luddites such as me that sort of technology stuff would be beyond my comprehension. And how good would those volumes look compared to books prepared by a professional printer” – Richard E Jones

TUMBY BAY – For writers who cannot or don't want to use a major publisher, there are three options available to get your book printed and in front of readers.

Traditional publishers are in the business of making money and – the costs of editing, design, printing and distribution being significant - are very careful about what they publish.

In most cases they have a stable of proven authors whose books they know will sell readily and they are loath to take on newcomers.

In Australia, publishing is also dominated by a couple of major companies and getting a foot in the door is extremely difficult. In Papua New Guinea it’s almost impossible.

If a traditional publisher is not interested in your book, the first option is to get it printed privately using a local printer.

In my experience in Australia and PNG, this is the most expensive option. You will spend a lot of money and get very little back from sales.

The second option is to use what is called a ‘vanity publisher’, so called because authors who spent a lot of money to see their book in print were perceived to be conceited.

Vanity publishers took advantage of this self-regard and extracted large sums of money from authors to produce their books, but they rarely provided editing services and almost without fail were poor promoters and distributors, leaving these important functions to the author.

The third option is the e-book. These digitally-based publishers are led by Amazon-owned KDP self-publishing where it costs nothing to upload your book and make it available to the market through Amazon.

KDP doesn’t edit it or promote the book for you either but you start paying only if you buy copies, which are reasonably-priced.

There are similar companies I’ve linked to here - Matador, Lulu and IngramSpark. All have their own way of doing things and you should check them out.

The production quality of these books is pretty much like traditional publishers and vanity publishers. These companies are a boon to less than best-selling authors everywhere, and especially in places like Papua New Guinea.

Many authors are more interested in people reading their books than making a lot of money from them – and the low-cost publishers are a gift to these writers. The literary purists, who want to do things on their own terms, have a long and proud tradition.

Here’s an article by best-selling author Harry Binham, who self-publishes many of his books and says he loves doing so. I think you’ll find what he has to say informative and fun to read.


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Bernard Corden

An even bigger problem is that many of the zombies walking our streets do not or cannot read and they often listen with their eyes.

"Men of power have no time to read; yet men who do not read are unfit for power" - Michael Foot

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