the book doctor: steps to publication




Almost every task towards publishing your own book may be covered by an agreement with your publishing company. For those who want to see the basic steps, or who prefer to do things themselves, here is a list of the main steps to publication.

Everyone wants to add value to your experience by providing extra services for which you will pay. Check all these carefully, and choose only those that you believe will truly help.

Have it assessed

We do this; or check your writer’s centre or the Australian Writer’s Marketplace for assessors and manuscript appraisers. A web search will provide more options, too.

A good assessment will help you make your work even better. It will make suggestions to improve plot, characterisation, narrative, and so on for a novel, and consider organisation, clarity of thought, strength of argument etc. for a non-fiction work.

Have it edited

We do this; or check your state editor’s society website for specialists in your field. The web will give you more, but beware—not all editors have the same experience, and cheapest is not always smartest.

Do this last. It costs a lot, and every post-editing alteration you make needs to be checked a second time—more $$$.

Choose a company name and logo for yourself

Your cover designer may do this for you, but DIY is fine.

Don’t choose a business name or logo that is already known, e.g. Penguin.

The name and logo go on the spine of your work and on the title page; the name also goes on the copyright page (reverse side of the title page).

This option may not be possible if you are working with a publisher with their own logo.

Get an ISBN number and barcode

From us; from most writer’s centres; from most publishers; or direct from Thorpe-Bowker, who sell them to everyone else.

Whomever Thorpe-Bowker sells the barcode to in the first place is the one who ‘owns’ it. If you want to be in control, buy it direct (but it will probably cost more). Having an ISBN and registering it with Thorpe-Bowker makes your work searchable internationally and nationally.

Allow about a week to get an ISBN and bar code.

Get a Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) number

From the National Library: free; but you must have an ISBN first. This puts your work on Australian library databases and makes it searchable.

It takes about 10 days to get a CiP number. It goes on the copyright page.

Get your cover designed

We list a small set of illustrators. A web search will provide many more.

Get a professional cover—this is the thing that browsers see first, and powerfully influences their interest in what’s inside.

Get your book printed

We list a small set of Australian publishers. Many more are on the web, but local printers should not be overlooked.

We recommend going local so you can interact on a human level. There are many things that can go wrong, and distance makes everything a little bit harder to solve.

Organise publicity

We offer some hints for getting your work noticed, as well as a small group of professional publicists. Social media should not be overlooked—Facebook can raise interest.

Organise friends to write favourable reviews if you post your book on a site like Amazon.

Organise distribution

We list a small group of distributors, most of them specialising in particular genres.

If you want a distribution service that actually puts books on shelves in stores, check this point carefully before signing anything.



the book doctor
69 Sandville Place
Tasmania 7020

(03) 6239 9423