Get your book on the shelves!

Unless you have a trade publisher, or even if you do but they are overseas and don’t distribute within your country, you need to know about how to get your books into stores and online book sales platforms like Booktopia and the bookdepository.

 Although I have published several books, none of these has had book store distribution within Australia. Thrill Seekers and In the Dark of Night were published by Ransom a small press in the UK who, although they distributed to schools here and in other English speaking countries, had no bookstore presence at all here in Oz. Ten years ago, I reached out myself and had Thrill Seekers stocked in about ten stores in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. You can do this by selling on consignment. Basically this means the bookstores agree to stock your books but only pay if you sell any. You are then responsible for following up on any sales and collecting unsold stock at your own expense.

Bjelke Blues was published by a small independent press here in Brisbane, AndAlso Books. They do their own distribution to stores within Brisbane and a few others across the regional centres. But that’s where it stops.

Almost all writers want their books on bookstore shelves so they can reach as many people as possible, but this can only be accomplished by employing a distribution company who has connections with booksellers throughout the country. For independent publishers, it was almost impossible to have your book distributed by one of these companies. It just wasn’t worth the distributors’ time. I tried going with Amazon, especially now they offer Print on Demand within Australia, but let’s just say that this was not working. At all. Be warned. Books were sold, but Amazon had no record of those sales, nor did they pay me.


However, now, thanks to the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), who saw the growing numbers of writers self-publishing, we now have access to a distribution service. I’ve just signed up to have my Guide Through Grief distributed through this system. It’s not cheap. The distributor takes up to 70% of the RRP – with a large chunk of that going to the bookstore. And you need to pay the ASA an administration fee of $75 on top of that, so you need to make sure it will be financially viable.

But at least your books a chance to be on bookstore shelves and online, making it easy for people who would just LOVE your book, to find it. 

I deliberated for a long time about whether to take this financial gamble just to have my books in stores. But for me it all came down to my first wish when I began writing – to see my work on bookstore shelves. I want my book to reach as many people in need as possible. And getting distribution is part of that equation.

Why do I want my books to reach as many people as possible?  Because I want to connect with others, and help them in their darkest times.

Why do I want to connect or help them? Because books helped me when I most needed it.

So do check out the ASA distribution service or do your best to get word our about your work to make sure your books see the light of day. You worked long and hard to create that book, the work doesn’t stop there. Get behind it, find or create your own distribution network. Let people know your book is out there and how to find it.

The dream is not just writing the book, it includes the book being read.


Let me know how you go. How do you distribute your books?

Lots of love

Edwina xx


A week ago I posted the manuscript of my Cambodian novel to my Australian Society of Authors mentor, Judith Lukin-Amundsen. She’s busy with other work at the moment so it may be a while till I get her feedback. We’ve only had one meeting so far this year but from that one meeting I was able to  look at the story from a whole new perspective. Judith is a bit magic that way. My friend Helena Pastor (a gifted writer of fast-paced, intriguing memoirs that explore social issues) has had Judith as a mentor before and again this year. She can’t speak highly enough of her either. I’ve got everything crossed Judith will like the major changes I’ve made and be able to show me even more ways to improve it. I’ve been working on this story since 2005 and I think  its finally finding its proper shape.

Khmer women walking in mined field

Danger Mines!

At the moment, I’m calling it, “When it Rains” but it’s had many other names – including Bittersweet, Chocolate Brown Vanilla,  Sugar Cane Juice, and A Lesson in Darkness. Which one do you like best?  Any new ideas welcome! It’s based on my time living and working in Cambodia in the mid-nineties when there was still a lot of Khmer Rouge activity and Westerners were being kidnapped and killed. Despite the ever-present danger, I feel deeply in love with the country and its people. It’s the most intriguing, captivating, perplexing and frustrating place I’ve ever been. Recently, I found a wonderful book  by Joel Brinkley, Cambodia’s Curse,  which helped add another dimension to my novel. Thanks Joel! He’s writing a novel set in Cambodia too. Fingers crossed the two of us will start some kind of vampire-like literary craze!

Khmer sugar cane juice vendor

Khmer sugar cane juice vendor

I’m so looking forward to seeing my story of Cambodia become a book too.

After I sent that off, I gave my blog a new look and even joined Twitter, thanks to the advice I received from the delightful Lisa at Twine Marketing. In just one hour she helped me focus in on what I really needed to do to pull myself together as a “brand”.  As irksome as that initially was, I now realise it’s a reality of the modern writer’s world.

Soon I’ll get to my other two projects; a combined memoir and personal healing guide “First Aid for Your Heart”, and “Into the Fire”, the novel I’ve been working on over the past year. Oh yes, so much to do!
I gave my last remaining copy of Thrill Seekers to my friend Luke Denham , an extraordinary film-maker, who is now working on creating a knock-out promo clip for the book. Can’t wait to see it.  I’d love it if you could “like” my Thrill Seekers page on facebook and friend me too.
I finished teaching my Yoga Writing course at the Queensland Writers Centre on Tuesday. It was a wonderful experience with a lovely warm group of people who were willing to give everything a go. I learnt heaps and hope they did too. I look forward to teaching a one day workshop on overcoming Writers Block at QWC early in the new year.
Life is good. Onwards and Upwards!