Further information

Further information

This site gives just a quick overview of the self-publishing process. Please feel free to contact us if you are considering working with Smartwork. In the meantime, here are one or two very useful sources of information and contacts.

New Zealand Book Council (www.bookcouncil.org.nz): A superb resource for NZ readers and writers – with a blog, podcasts, and information on courses, funding, residencies, festivals, community events and the Writers in Schools programme.

New Zealand Society of Authors (www.authors.org.nz): The NZSA, like the Book Council, is an essential resource for readers and writers, with news of grants and fellowships, courses, etc. It will be able to provide much of the basic information self-published authors need. It provides three particularly useful and affordable guides (available as ebooks): Getting Published, Self-Publishing: A writer’s guide, and Digital Publishing Guide (Martin Taylor).

The Bookseller (www.thebookseller.com): The Bookseller has for more than a century been the international go-to source for trade news.

How do I budget a book?

How do I budget a book?

It may interest you to see a rough cost breakdown for a trade publication.

(And this is very rough: figures are a guideline only.)

New Zealand RRP 112.5%
Excl. GST 100.0%
Retailer margin (e.g. bookstore) 40–50%
Unsold & written-off stock costs 3%
Distribution 5%
Sales & marketing 8%
Print, bind, ship 12%
Editorial 5%
Author royalty 12%

If you do the maths, you’ll see that there’s precious little left at the end. If you can sell your book online (or at events such as library talks), you’ll make a bigger margin than if you sell through a bookstore.

Essentially, book production is one of those black-and-white areas that directly reflect the time and money you have available to produce an end result. But don’t be fooled that it’s all bad. Some areas have more impact than others, and knowing your market is vital when deciding how much budget you need to commit. For instance, there’s no point in spending money on designing a great cover without having first worked out how you are going to distribute and market your book.

Your end goal will be a professionally produced book that reflects the time you have put into collating and writing the content. To do this you’ll need to work with a professional to understand all the book production jargon and work out which parts are important to your market. Take advice and listen to suggestions. Also, think it through before you commit. Editing and cover design are high priorities on the list of things to get right, but you’ll also need to work out which format is best and the print values you require. There are loads of variables, so don’t be afraid to ask for full quotes and cost breakdowns up front, and then work back to what is achievable on your budget.

Understanding ISBNs

Understanding ISBNs

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and you’ll require one for your book.

For one thing, it generates the 13-digit barcode that goes on the back cover. Once your book has an ISBN, that assignment lasts forever. The ISBN enables booksellers all over the world to access the rest of the meta-data for the book – such as author bio, publisher details, subtitle, edition, dimensions, weight, etc. – and it spreads throughout all databases that hold book information.  

This international system of identifying books requires you to have a separate ISBN for each edition and format of your book. So if you print a paperback and also create an e-book, that’s two different editions.

You can obtain an ISBN in New Zealand through the National Library. You will, in any case, need to contact the National Library to register a Cataloguing-in-Print (CiP) record for your book, whether it’s electronic or print or both. This ensures that they know your book exists. (They will ask you for two ‘legal deposit’ copies of your book, too, so that it becomes part of the nation’s literary heritage.)



Nothing is more exciting than having cartons of your new book delivered to your door. But then what?  

You can contract a professional distribution company, and for a fee they will manage the warehousing and distribution. Their sales reps will include your book in their rounds as they visit bookstores and other outlets, so you can be assured of a nationwide reach.

Alternatively you could sell them from home, via online marketing. Distribution is then simply a case of taking orders, and dispatching your books personally by courier.

First, though, whichever path you choose, you’ll need to prepare book data for distributors, libraries and booksellers, as well as reviewers. It’s a great idea to log your book (at no cost) with Nielsen BookData (www.nielsenbookdata.co.nz), New Zealand’s leading provider of book-related data services. They will make your searchable online meta-data available to all interested parties worldwide.

And before any of that happens, one thing your book will need is a number.

Sell Yourself!

Sell yourself! Tips on DIY marketing

Over the years authors have found many creative ways to bring attention to their books, and you can do the same. Some ways are costlier than others; some are essentially free – they simply demand your time. Identify which resources are best for putting your book in front of readers who may be interested.


Marketing ideas that require time

  • Create a blog (you can begin this while you’re still writing your book).
  • Create a Facebook page and connect with groups of people who are interested in the genre you are writing about. Again, this is something you can do while writing your book. (Bear in mind, though, that if you start a page specifically for your book, it’ll require upkeep.)
  • Send notes and thoughts through on Twitter and your social groups to begin discussions.
  • Contribute articles and participate in relevant groups.
  • Begin collecting an email database.
  • Connect with author groups for fresh ideas.
  • Contact your local bookshop and community news groups.
  • Contact your local library. Libraries love supporting local authors and hosting talks/tours.
  • Send out copies for review. (A publicist, if you’re hiring one, can do this for you.)
  • Front up for literary festivals; a public appearance could put you right in front of your target readership!


Marketing ideas that require a spend

  • Enter your book in competitions.
  • Pay for advertising on targeted social media.
  • Buy ad space on industry blogs.
  •  Engage a distributor (see below) with its own marketing team.