An Alternative Publishing Market
by Dianne Bates
As the author of dozens of books published over the past 20+ years, I am not one to be easily dissuaded by
publishers' rejection letters. However, in 2003 there was one book I could not sell anywhere in Australia (and
believe me, I tried every possible publisher!)
The problem was that even though I knew there was (and still is) a huge market for the book, no Australian
publisher was willing to take a risk with it. Ideal for writers from secondary school to adult who wish to improve
the quality of their writing, How to Self Edit (To Improve Writing), contains 500 editing exercises (with
suggested revisions), as well as hundreds of examples, quotes from published authors, glossary of terms and many
suggestions for less skilled writers.
It was the inclusion of the exercises which bothered the publishers - because it hadn't previously "been done in
Australian books for adults". I kept being told, "Try the educational market; it'll be sure to sell well there." In
Australia, the educational market is for young students, so I was stymied in my attempts to place the book in its
rightful market. However, thanks to a good friend (a writer who I met through networking,) I was introduced to an
Indian publisher whose adult books are targeted at Asians wishing to improve their standard of English.
Mr Oli, as he is called by everyone (even his wife) was delighted with "Mrs Di's" How to Self Edit manuscript,
so, when I had adapted it for the Indian market, (mostly using Indian Christian names and a few place names), we
negotiated a contract. Through Mr Oli, I sub-licensed the book to six South and South-east Asian countries, and
then in lieu of a royalty and my first royalty payment, I arranged with the publisher to ship a large quantity of
the books to me here in Australia where I have been selling them ever since.
A few hold-ups occurred regarding the shipment (not the least of which was the tsunami affecting Chennai, the
south-eastern Indian port from which the books were exported), but eventually the books arrived in Sydney. It cost
more for me to freight them 70kms from Sydney to my home near Wollongong, NSW, than it did from Chennai to Sydney,
and the consignment travelled faster from India to Australia than it did over those last 70 kms. However, I learnt
much about importing procedures and am now able to claim all relevant shipping and associated expenses as tax
Other tax deductions I'm able to claim are review copies I send out, copies donated to charitable organisations
and fees associated with book publicity (such as travel and postage). And what's the verdict here in Australia?
According to just a few home-grown reviewers, How to Self Edit (To Improve Writing) is "an outstanding
guide to creative writing", "written in an accessible style", "informative", "filled with experience and wisdom,
offering new writers a wealth of guidance", "most helpful for the emerging writer", "ideal for all ESL writers and
new authors", "a book to come back to over and over."
Praise and sales: what more could an author ask for?
Copies of How to Self Edit (To Improve Writing) by Dianne Bates (Emerald Publishers, India, 2005) ISBN 81
7966 159 8 (PB 118 pp) are now available for $20 posted from James Bennett Pty Ltd (Library Suppliers) or from
author/editor Dianne Bates - details re. ordering are on Di's web site at www.enterprisingwords.com Dianne Bates is
the author of 90 books, mostly for the juvenile market. She runs Writers Career Consultancy (which includes a
manuscript assessment service) from her website www.enterprisingwords.com