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Surprisingly, the definition of a published work can be quite contentious. The ASA defines a published work as one that has been previously produced in an edition of any kind (for example, in a magazine, book, collection, anthology, floppy disk, or CD-Rom) or has been previously displayed on a website and made available to the public. The number of copies available makes no difference to published status. The important criterion is availability to the public (whether free or at cost). An item on a limited access intranet, therefore, would not be regarded as published, but an item in a blog would.
A printed publication will ideally have been registered with an ISBN, ISSN, or Cataloguing-in-Publication (CIP) entry (in Australia, this service is provided by the National Library of Australia), but the ASA would also regard a work as published if it were advertised as available for sale or distribution in a catalogue or on a website, including works that are self-published. Under theCopyright Act 1968, publishers and self-publishing authors are required to deposit a copy of any work published in Australia with the National Library, and with their state or territory deposit libraries, within one month of publication. Legal Deposit ensures that Australian publications are preserved for use now and in the future. A work that has been sent to a publisher but where no decision to publish has yet been made is not considered to be published.
The ASA offers a number of resources to writers who are seeking publication for their work. Our free paper Getting Published includes tips for approaching publishers, presenting your work, protecting copyright and taking the next step, whether your work is accepted or rejected.
Writers may also wish to read this short paper by publisher and former agent Sophie Hamley’s on "How to write a query letter" and this short paper by Text Publishing Senior Editor, Mandy Brett, on "Working with your editor" covering how books are acquired, edited and produced.
The ASA also sells a book called A Decent Proposal: How to sell your book to an Australian publisher or literary agent which may be of help to authors looking to approach publishers and agents.
Getting published in Australia, as well as overseas, is an extremely competitive game and it pays to do as much research as possible before sending out your manuscript. Your local writers’ centre may offer courses or further resources on the subject of how to get published. For a list of writers’ centres in Australia, click here.
Remember! If you are offered a publishing agreement, there are a few easy things you can do to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Check out the ASA’s Model Publishing Agreement Template, or our book Australian Book Contracts. If you are an ASA member or a state writers’ centre member you can use our contract assessment service.
If you are considering paying for publication, we recommend reading our information paper Paying for Publication: points to consider, which includes questions you should ask before committing and warning signs that you are dealing with a vanity publisher.
The Australian Literary Agents Association (ALAA) lists members of the Association on their website.
Other agent services and who are not included in the ALAA list are listed below. The ASA reserves the right to remove the names of any agents whose practices are brought into question by ASA members. The ASA lists these agents for the convenience of our members but does not endorse these agents or make any representations about their suitability.
Alex Adsett Literary Agency
Caldiris Literary Agency
The Nash Agency
Selwa Anthony: Author Management Agency
The Tate Gallery Pty Ltd: fiction and non-fiction
Creative Agents: no poetry, short stories or academic
Zeitgeist Media Group: Publicity and Agency
Preditors and Editors contains information and warnings about some US agents and publishers. The ASA has no connection to this website.
The ASA recommends that the relationship between author and agent should be subject to certain conditions. These are set out in our free paper Literary Agent & Author Agreement.
Writers approaching literary agents may also like to watch the ASA’s three minute video below, featuring Fiona Inglis, founding President of the Australian Literary Agents’ Association. In this video, Fiona covers three things to remember when submitting your work to a literary agent.
The ASA also sells a book called A Decent Proposal: How to sell your book to an Australian publisher or literary agent which may be of assistance to authors approaching agents.
Writers who have had a book accepted by a publisher for publication may be interested in reading the following free resources made available from past ASA seminars covering the following:
The business of writing: the typical publishing process from manuscript to book, typical editorial roles, and the structure of a typical medium-sized publishing house.
Working with your editor: acquiring the book, contracts, scheduling, editors working with authors, covers and blurbing.
The ASA has a number of resources available for writers wishing to publicise their work. The DIY Book PR Guide by publicist Emma Noble provides an easy-to-follow guide to creating your own tailormade publicity campaign. Suitable for authors of both fiction and non-fiction. Meanwhile, The Launch Book by Les Zigomanis focuses on the ins and outs of putting on a great event to celebrate the publication of your book.
The following free resources made available from past ASA seminars also cover the following:
Working with your publicist: publicity, knowing the market and making the media pitch, presenting your book in interviews and festivals, what happens after the euphoria wears off, advice to first-time authors and the publicity timeline.
Publicising your book: how to get coverage for your publication, what to do before approaching a bookstore, networking, book launches, websites, touring and speaking.
The author as brand name, how the bookseller can help: introduction to the marketing of books and post-publication.
Publicising your book in a highly competitive marketplace: overs marketing strategy including publicity strategy, promotions and advertising.
Sample press releases.
The ASA has numerous resources available for writers considering self-publishing. Self-publishing involves a large investment of time and money on the part of the author and it pays to do your research.
The ASA offers an information paper Introduction to digital self-publishing which covers ebook formats, ways of self-publishing (third-party services or doing it all yourself), conditions and royalties and how to build your marketing platform.
The ASA also strongly recommends that all self-publishing authors read our paper Paying for publication: points to consider which includes questions to ask before you commit and warning signs that you are dealing with a vanity publisher.
Other resources we offer include self-published author Euan Mitchell’s book Your Book Publishing Options which explains the publishing process step by step, with the aim of minimising costs and maximising profits. We have also published an article Bricks and mortar which focuses on how to have your self-published book sold in a bricks-and-mortar bookshop.
See below for links to self-publishing services the ASA is aware of. Please note that the ASA offers no endorsement or recommendation of the information or services that may be provided on these websites. Due diligence must always be exercised when entering into any commercial undertaking.
Finally, ASA members and members of state writers’ centres may use the ASA’s contract assessment service if considering a contract by a self-publishing company. You’ll receive a written report that identifies areas that fall outside ASA recommendations, suggests ways in which the contract can be improved and answers any specific questions you may have.
Blurb: Print on Demand and distribution
Cave Design: Graphic design and book design studio
CreateSpace: self-publishing, editing, layout, design and marketing service
DiZign: book design and layout for print and ebooks, publishing support services
Ligare: Book printing and publishing
Little Steps Publishing: Editing, design, publishing and distribution service for children’s books
Lulu.com: Book printing and publishing
Publicious: self-publishing, distribution and book marketing service
The Scarlett Rugers Book Design Agency: book cover design
Splitting Image Colour Studio: Pre-publishing service
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