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Self-Publishing is hard but it doesn’t need to be. I did it – so can you.

Self-Publishing is hard but it doesn’t need to be. I did it – so can you.

Self-publishing a book is hard work, mostly because it’s so bloody scary
…. which is why I joined Self-Publishing School to launch Destination Dachshund. And, even within that great community of writers and the helpful course modules it was still scary. For several reasons there were still many unknown factors in the publishing process:

  1. The course was mainly geared toward standard non-fiction,
  2. It was mainly geared to the American market, and as such not all the course worked for me as an Australian writer,
  3. It did not provide much information about print book options – only ebook.

All authors, writers, or any artists anywhere will have the same fears when launching their art in the world, in what ever form it takes – but for the indie author who doesn’t have the backing of a publishing house, and doesn’t want to pay a few thousand dollars for a course like I did (I figured it was way cheaper than the cost of my husband converting his Ducati 1098s into a street fighter. He has his hobbies and I have mine, haha!), and has no experience in ebook or print options, front and back matter, ebook or print book formatting, book covers, setting up a launch team, keywords, metadata, ISBN and barcodes, or how to get your book into online bookstores – then it can become overwhelming.


Holding your print book in your hands is the ultimate goal for a writer but it just doesn’t seem to happen to everyone as much as they may strive for it. There are so many fantastic stories written by amazing people, but that does not guarantee publication. Talent is not enough. To me it is a combination of talent, perseverance, and being in the right place at the right time.

I’ve personally witnessed many writers reach the conclusion that despite years of writing (and I mean years and years), dozens of writing courses and workshops, blogging, mentorships, costly structural edits, the ‘almost’ pick-ups by an agent or publisher, and lots of wine – that maybe, just maybe they might have to take their writing career into their own hands.

Self-publishing may open the doors to your future writing career – it may not – but why not take the chance on yourself? It certainly shows that your serious about your writing and willing to take risks.

Bookends Publishing

My 2017 goals include not only publishing two more books of my own through my newly created publishing house Bookends Publishing, but to also help other writers publish their own books. Next year I will release a series of step-by-step PDF guides on how to self-publish, as well as a more detailed ebook.

The first wonderful writer I am providing some advice to is Robin Elizabeth with her heartfelt, moving, and funny memoir ‘Confessions of a Mad Mooer’: Postnatal Depression Sucks’ about her time in a psychiatric hospital after having gone through postnatal depression with both her daughter and her identical twin boys.

I can’t wait to share her book with you!

Visit Robin’s website Write or Wrong for more information about the book and her commentary on PND. Next week, the 13th to the 19th November is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week and Robin will be writing a daily blog on PND. If you or someone you know has been touched by PND then tune into to Robin’s blog here.

Submit your writing! Current Writing Competitions & Open Submissions

Submit your writing! Current Writing Competitions & Open Submissions


I have compiled a list of up-coming writing COMPETITIONS and (mostly) Australian PUBLISHERS that are currently OPEN FOR SUBMISSION for manuscripts. So what are you waiting for? GET WRITING! 😉 


  • International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest Calling for short stories in any speculative fiction genre including fantasy, science fiction and horror. The contest has been running since 2004 and has a grand prize of €1,000. Entries must be less than 10,000 words and must not have been previously published. Closing date: 30th November 2016
  • Aurealis Awards The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for Speculative Fiction, are for works of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen, or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016.
  • Twelfth Planet Press Currently looking for YA Speculative fiction short stories published in 2016 for their Years Best Speculative Fiction Anthology. Closing date: 31st December 2016
  • The Elyne Mitchell Writing Award Commemorates the celebrated author of the Silver Brumby’s life and work, and has been established to encourage all writers to focus their stories on the Australasian rural landscape. Closing date: 25th August.
  • Finch Memoir Prize Unpublished Memoir Prize. $5000 and publication. Closing date: 25th August 2016
  • 2016 Joanne Burns Microlit Award Jointly-sponsored by the Newcastle Writers Festival and Spineless Wonders. Theme: LANDMARKS Length: 200 word max. Closing date: Aug 31
  • Sydney Writers’ Room Stories should be limited to 2000 words and must be single-authored and unpublished.
    Closing date: 31st August 2016
  • Overland Story Wine Prize Short fiction up to 800 words. The winning story will receive a $4000 first prize and will be published on the label of a Story Wines. Closing date: 31st August 2016
  • Olga Masters Short Story Award Entry is open to Australian residents. Stories should be 2000-5000 words, about any aspect of Australian rural family life. Closing date: 1st September 2016
  • Wollongong Writer’s Festival Short Story Prize This international short story prize is open to writers around the world regardless of age, genre or career stage. 2500 words or less Theme: Tidal Closing date: 15th September 2016
  • Walter Stone Award 2016 for Life Writing The Award is for a Life Writing defined as a work of biography, autobiography, memoir, monograph, bibliography. Closing date: 30th September 2016
  • Macarthur Playwriting Festival is seeking scripts for their playwriting competition. One act play between 8 – 11 minutes in length, & contain no more than four (4) characters, and must contain the statement “It’s bigger on the Inside”. Closing date: 16th September 2016
  • New England Thunderbolt Prize Six Crime Fiction Prize 2500 word. See website for more information. Closing date: 24th September 2016
  • Jean Stone Award for Poetry The Award is for a poem or group of poems up to 60 lines. Closing date: 30th September 2016.
  • Commonwealth Short Story Prize The competition brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. Closing date: 1st November 2016
  • Atlantis Short Story Award International Call For Entries – Writers from all around the world are welcome. Fiction and stories based on true events 2500 words. Closing date: 30th November 2016
  • Celtic Mythology Story Competition Any kind of fiction short story will be considered (action, romance, drama, humour etc.) as long as they meet the following criteria: Celtic mythology or folklore forms a fundamental element of the story (i.e. the characters can be characters from Celtic mythology, the action can take place in a mythological location, mythological concepts can be used etc.). Submissions will be accepted from midnight 1 September 2016 to midnight 10 December 2016.
  • The Peter Porter Poetry Prize This is one of Australia’s most prestigious prizes for a new poem. Entries must be new single-authored poems of up to 75 lines.The winner receives $5,000 and shortlisted poets receive $500. All the shortlisted poems are published in the magazine. Closing date for submissions: 1st December 2016
  • Australian Essay Writing Contest World wide entry. See website for essay topics. Winning entries will show that the writer can research their topic well, use evidence to back up their arguments, and engage the reader with their work. All entries must be sent to us between July 18th 2016 – March 1st 2017.


PUBLISHERS with open submissions 

I went down the self publishing path with my travel memoir Destination Dachshund but here are some of the usual suspects that have OPEN SUBMISSIONS. It’s worth a try. I have some stories out on submission right now! Good luck to you… 🙂

  • Penguin Group Australia Accepting submission the first week of every month.
  • Pan Macmillan Australia On the first Monday of every month, between 10am and 4pm, they accept electronic submissions. Looking for commercial fiction & non-fiction, Literary Fiction, children’s & YA.
  • Random House Open submission for many genres including children’s. Please see their website for guidelines.
  • Harper Collins Usually accepts submissions each Wednesday but is currently closed. Check soon!
  • Allen & Unwin The Friday Pitch allows for writers of all genres to have their work considered by one of their in-house Submission Editors
  • Hachette Australia is one of Australia’s largest publishers and is always looking for the opportunity to publish great stories. As part of this search, they are pleased to welcome email submissions from fiction and non-fiction writers.
  • Text Text is broadly interested in publishing fiction and non-fiction, including upper primary and young adult.
  • Midnight Sun Publishers Midnight Sun Publishing is always accepting submissions!
  • Wombat Books Wombat Books accepts unsolicited manuscripts for review. They are open for submissions until the end of July 2016 then close for remainder of 2016. Currently only accepting submissions for stand alone picture books aimed at early primary school age.
  • Rhiza Press Rhiza Press is currently considering unsolicited submissions for young adult fiction.
  • Pantera Press Accepts unsolicited manuscripts all year round! They are actively looking for Young adult fiction 12+.
  • Writers Edit Currently open to submissions for a featured short story and poem each month in their online magazine.
  • Kill Your Darlings Currently accepting submissions of adult new fiction from KYD SUBSCRIBERS
  • Scribe Publications Scribe accepts unsolicited and un-agented manuscripts for review during seasonal three-month windows: 1 January to 31 March & 1 July to 30 September. Looking for literary fiction, serious non-fiction, and children’s picture books.
  • Magabala Books Magabala Books is Australia’s premier producer of quality indigenous children’s literature.
  • Aurealis Magazine Open to submissions 1 August—31 October 2016. Aurealis is looking for science fiction, fantasy or horror short stories between 2000 and 8000 words. All types of science fiction, fantasy and horror that are of a “speculative” nature will be considered.
  • Scholastic Australia Accepting submissions for children’s books.
  • Five Mile Press Accepts submissions for adult fiction in various genres. Check their site. Not currently open for children’s submissions.
  • Escape Publishing (Harlequin) Love is a serious business at Escape. They bring readers fresh and exciting love stories to heart. They are serious about romance and don’t accept stories that don’t contain a romance or romantic elements.
  • Destiny Romance Penguin Australia’s new digital-first imprint, is seeking submissions. Destiny Romance is passionately interested in all kinds of romantic fiction, from sweet and tender through to saucy and sensual.
  • Giramondo Publishing Accepts unsolicited fiction and non-fiction literary submissions.
  • Xoum Publishing Xoum publishes non-fiction and fiction for both adults and children. Our specialty areas include true crime, travel, history, popular science, health & wellbeing; select literary fiction, crime fiction, fantasy and sf; and young adult and children’s narrative fiction.
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction Looking for stories that will appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers. The SF element may be slight, but it should be present. They receive a lot of fantasy fiction, but never enough science fiction or humor.
  • Analog Science Fiction & Fact They publish science fiction stories. That is, stories in which some aspect of future science or technology is integral to the plot.
  • Lightspeed Magazine Seeking original science fiction and fantasy stories. All types of science fiction and fantasy are welcome. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. Lightspeed will be OPEN to submissions June 16 – June 30, 2016.
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction Is a magazine is an established market for science fiction stories. SF dominates the fiction published in the magazine, but theye also publish borderline fantasy, slipstream, and surreal fiction. No sword & Sorcery, please.
  • University of QLD Press (UQP) Unsolicited manuscript genres they are currently accepting: Academic in Indigenous issues and UQP’s two academic series: New Approaches to Peace and Conflict and Creative Economy and Innovation Culture.
  • Margaret River Press Margaret River Press is an indepdendent, innovative Western Australian publisher. We welcome submissions from emerging and established writers of literary fiction and creative non-fiction, and we accept short story collections by a single author.
  • Finch Publishing Sydney Finch Publishing is once again accepting manuscript proposals on Thursdays. All other proposals sent outside this time period will not be considered. If you miss the time period please send again the following week. They consider manuscript proposals on the following subjects: parenting, social issues, child health, memoir, family relationships and mental health.
  • DoctorZed Publishing Currently accepting submissions of manuscripts for consideration.
  • Fremantle Press Welcomes unsolicited manuscripts from authors of Western Australian origin or whose main place of residence is Western Australia. See website for detailed submission guidelines.
  • Harbour Publishing  Accepting unsolicited manuscript for publishing consideration.
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