10 Australian Magazines You Can Submit To (For Pay)

Every writer wants to earn money from their work. This can seem hard, but if you consider becoming a freelance writer, it isn’t as hard as you think. Most magazines accept and encourage submissions from first-time writers, as long as they read the submission guidelines and pitch to the right magazines for their genre. It’s also best to pick up an issue or two of the magazine before you submit, to get a feel for the kind of content they publish.

This is a round-up of 10 great Australian magazines which accept unsolicited submissions, and pay all published writers. Even if you’re not at the stage to send your work in, consider picking up a copy to support these fabulous magazines (and trust me—you’ll get addicted).

1. The Lifted Brow

 liftedbrow

Forms: Short fiction, nonfiction, poetry

The Lifted Brow is a super rad arts and culture magazine, full of great content. Notable past contributors include Neil Gaiman, Alice Pung, Christos Tsiolkas, Helen Garner and David Foster Wallace—pretty impressive alumni. They have a quarterly print version, and a monthly digital version which splits the print version into three.

2. Kill Your Darlings

killyourdarlings

Forms: Short stories (subscribers only), nonfiction

Run by an incredible team (including the fabulous Hannah Kent), this magazine comments on culture, politics and society through a great selection of articles and stories. The team also offers manuscript assessments and writing courses, for those interested.

3. The Canary Press

thecanarypress

Forms: Short stories

Started in Melbourne in 2013, this is a quarterly magazine full of short stories and quirky art. Despite only being 9 issues in, contributors have included Maxine Beneba-Clarke, Margo Lanagan, Josephine Rowe and George Saunders. This magazine started with a bang, and the quality is only going up.

4. Archer Magazine

ARCHER5-cover

Forms: Nonfiction articles about gender, sexuality and identity

Archer is an award-winning magazine which focuses on lesser-heard voices and their experience. It’s sold in Australia, the UK and the US, and won a United Nations Media Peace Award in 2014. If there’s a story that fits the bill and you feel you’re the right person to write it, definitely give it a go.

5. Voiceworks

voiceworks

Forms: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry

If you’re under 25, listen up. Voiceworks encourages unsolicited submissions, and offer editorial feedback to everyone, including rejected submissions. This opportunity is a must-try.

6. Overland

overland

Forms: Nonfiction articles, essays, short stories and poetry

Overland is a seriously long-standing magazine, having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014. It explores the relationship between politics and culture (and literature in particular), and is published quarterly. They also pay for their online content, which they accept pitches for.

7. Meanjin

meanjin

Forms: Short stories, poetry, essays and memoir

When something has been working for 75 years, it’s usually a pretty good indicator of awesomeness. This literature and culture journal is well worth your time. Past contributors include Sophie Cunningham, Peter Carey, Dorothy Porter and Kurt Vonnegut.

8. Island

island

Forms: Short fiction, poetry, essays

Island is a print-only magazine which covers ideas, writing and culture, built and grown in Tassie. It’s an innovative and exciting publication which has evolved alongside Australia’s media for the last 35 years.

9. The Big Issue

bigissue

Forms: Nonfiction articles

This fortnightly magazine is one you can feel good about contributing to; it is sold on the streets by homeless, marginalized and disadvantaged people, and they get to keep 50% of the selling price. It primarily covers current affairs, social issues and street culture, but is open to articles on unusual or quirky topics as well.

10. Frankie

frankie

Forms: Nonfiction articles and memoir

Yes, Frankie accepts unsolicited submissions. If you’ve somehow missed this stellar magazine, it’s a bimonthly romp through design, art, music, fashion, lifestyle and real-life.

How to Set Writing Goals (And Meet Them)

Some creative types (including myself) tend to get lost thinking about their dreams without ever actually moving forward in their careers and finishing their projects. Other creative types (again, including myself) get all wrapped up in their projects, without stepping back and taking a look at the big picture. It’s not that they don’t spend time with their craft, but they don’t take time to focus their efforts and make sure that they are as effective as possible.

To break out of these mindsets, you need a plan, and you need to make it easy enough for yourself that it’s almost impossible not to follow through.

Are you a writer?

Unpublished writers can have this fear of owning their craft and calling themselves writers. The truth is that you are a writer, as long as you actually write. That is the only qualifier.

But it can be really easy to not write. Life can get in the way, you can be waiting for NaNoWriMo, you need to study or work, you’re just so tired, just one more episode of Jane the Virgin… There are plenty of excuses that are far too easy to make. However, until you fight through those excuses, you won’t get anywhere.

Set a time-based goal that you can definitely manage—and start today. Promise yourself that you will spend at least 20 minutes of your day, at least five days a week, actually writing.

Relevant Tools: Any writing tool will do! Scrivener is my program of choice, but I’ve heard great things about Ulysses and Novelise. Free options include ywriter and LibreOffice, and there’s nothing wrong with using pen and paper.

Where do you want to be?

In five years time, what would your ideal writing self look like? Would you have a book published, or articles in a popular magazine? A popular blog with lots of traffic? A writing residency at a dreamy cottage in the countryside? What would your income streams be? How much time would you be spending writing? What kind of lifestyle would you have? You can’t set a goal if you can’t articulate it, and you can’t work towards that goal if you haven’t set it.

Take some time to sketch an ideal picture, and let yourself dream big. Find images that represent each part of it and stick them up somewhere; create a vision board (or, for the less DIY-y, a Pinterest board) of your dreams. Be careful not to drown in distractions in this step—the point is to articulate who you want to be, and to get excited about it.

Relevant Tools: Pinterest or Tumblr are great for searching for dream-vision images and following other people with similar goals. Evernote can also be useful for web clippings and keeping everything together.

Break it Down

Take one of the things you’ve outlined above that excites you the most, and create a To-Do List. What are the first three things you can do towards this dream?

Try to make each task will take less than 15 minutes. For example, if your dream is to have a book published, the first thing you can do is take 10 minutes to brainstorm plot ideas or topics. If you hope to have a popular blog, spend 15 minutes researching the best online blogging platforms. Or, if you hope to be a freelancer, look at your 3 favourite magazines’ websites and see if they accept unsolicited pitches or submissions.

By keeping the tasks short and immediately actionable, it will be easy to tick them off, and you’ll know you’re moving towards those dreams quickly. Do this for three of the things you’ve outlined above, and once you’ve completed the first three things, set three more.

Relevant Tools: Great online tools for building to-do lists include Todoist and Wunderlist. Omnifocus is a little more heavy-duty (and Mac only), but it’s a great option too. Evernote can also be used to keep track of goals and to-dos.

Time to Focus

Now it’s time to actually do the stuff you need to so you can get closer to your goals. Try to get at least one thing on your list done each day. Do what works for you—schedule time in your calendar, set minimum amounts of time to work on each thing, or try time blocking methods.

I use a habit tracking app to spend at least 30 minutes a day each on reading, writing and studying (which are the three things I know I need to do to move forward), and have an alarm set on my phone for 8pm so that I know when I hear it that there’s still time to get it all done. Even when I feel gross and unproductive, getting those three things checked off makes me feel like I’m moving towards my goals.

Another popular strategy is to have no more ‘zero days’. A zero day is a day when you don’t get anything done at all towards your goals. Even if you’re ten minutes away from bed, write one paragraph, and you’ll be one paragraph closer to your goals. The most important thing is to keep the momentum going, because momentum is the thing that will give you confidence in your ability to meet your goals.

Relevant Tools: Great habit-tracking apps include Way of Life, Streaks and Habitica. To keep focused on a task, you can try a Pomodoro timer (like My Tomatoes) or the Forest app, in which you grow a tree each time you stay focused for the full length of time (and the tree dies if you get distracted).

 

8 Ways to Promote Your Book (On a Budget)

Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, promoting your book is something that will largely come down to you. Big publishing houses have large selections, and can only allocate resources for a short amount of time before needing to move on to the next title, and small publishing houses often just don’t have the same promotional power as the bigger ones. Hiring a book publicist is an option (and if you have the money, it’s certainly worth considering), but it can be expensive.

However, there are ways you can promote your work without breaking the bank, and with the skills you already have. Some of these ideas also help you to become an influencer in your area, whether that be YA fiction, writing craft, or lawn mowing. If you are being traditionally published, make sure you chat to the person who handles marketing and publicity, to make sure that your efforts complement each other.

1. Contact local media

Send a media release to your local media and relevant organisations. Keep it short—no longer than a page. Make sure to include the book cover, title, a short blurb, details about where to purchase the book, and your contact information. Also include details about your launch, or any signing events. Be as polite as possible, and personalise it for each person you send it to.

2. Have a book launch

A launch is like a mini party for your book! It gives you the opportunity to sign books, read a short passage, answer questions, and get the word out there about your book. Ask a local bookstore to host it for you, and if you’re friends with any authors with sway in the local writing community, ask them to introduce you or say a few words about the book at the event.

3. Send your book to relevant reviewers, influencers, and book bloggers

The key here is to send your book to people with an audience who will be interested in your title. While you can’t force a review out of someone, sending a free copy of your book with a nice note is a way to get on the good side of any reviewer. Make sure the people you contact are relevant (and read your genre) and accept books for review before contacting them, and then send them an email to ask if they’re interested.

4. Start a blog of interest to your potential readership

Blogging is your opportunity to create relationships with other influences in your topic or genre, connect with your potential audience, and create content marketing. It gives you the opportunity to provide your audience with something of value, such as a useful blog post, which will give them confidence in the quality of your book. This is best to start ASAP—in some cases, before you’ve even finished the book.

5. Social media it up

Nothing beats genuine connection with other people, which is what social media is. This is where you can build relationships with your audience, curate and share content (which will help you to become an influencer in your area), and respond to real-time events. Young adult writers, for example, might benefit from getting involved in the YA booktubing/book blogging community, and joining in readathons and other book events. In the future, the friends they make could end up reading and reviewing their book, just because they genuinely want to support each other.

6. Speak at events and run workshops (for writers, readers, and your intended audience)

This is a great way to promote your work and, in some cases, make some money on the side. If you’ve written and published or self-published a book, chances are you have a good amount of knowledge in some area, whether that be 19th century history, or how to self-publish a book. Get in touch with organisations relevant to your knowledge or your audience, and see if they would let you run a workshop. Remember that some local libraries or community groups will run free classes on certain topics, so see if your intended audience might be interested in something you can offer.

7. Pitch articles to blogs/magazines/journals your future readers covet

Make yourself easy to find. Imagine your ideal reader—what kind of blogs, magazines or journals do they read? Can you get your work into one of them? Make a plan to pitch your work to relevant publications. Some magazines will offer pay for articles, while smaller magazines might offer you ad space in return for your writing, which is an opportunity to get your book cover and blurb next to your article.

8. Network in your local writing community

Network, network, network! Go to events like writing workshops, book launches and poetry slams. Talk to people and be an advocate for your work. Building connections in your local writing community means building your own cheer squad. Don’t be afraid to approach anyone—most writers are really nice people (albeit, a little crazy), and your writing is the perfect ice breaker.

Self-Publishing a Print Book

Self-publishing a print book is a challenge, but it can be very rewarding. A print version of your book allows you to build connections with local writers, sell your work at events, and promote yourself in ways than an ebook just doesn’t. However, it can be a costly investment, and it is important to research all of your options before getting started.

Before self-publishing, think about the demands of the product itself. Is it a book heavy with illustrations or photographs, or does it need to be a hardback or a strange shape? In which aisle of your local bookstore does it belong? What is your vision for the book in its physical form? The answers to these questions will help you end up with the perfect book.

Preparing a Book for Print

Once all the editing work has been done, a manuscript needs to be formatted for print. This is a job that can be hired out, done through an automated service such as Createspace or Lulu, or that you can learn to do yourself. If a proofreader is hired, they usually proofread once the text has been laid out, before the book goes to print. You will also need to get an ISBN (print and ebook versions of a book need separate ISBNs), and fill out the publishing details in the first few pages of the book.

A print book also needs a blurb for the back cover. This is designed to grab the reader’s attention, so it needs to include your hook. There are lots of online articles on how to write a successful blurb, and you can look into getting a manuscript assessment if you are unsure. If you have any famous or author contacts, consider giving them an early copy to read, in case they’d like to add a quote for the cover. Be careful not to be pushy here, but a note from a recognised professional can help give your title legitimacy.

If you are also publishing an ebook, note that the formatting is different, and also that your cover design may need to be different for the separate editions. Cover designs for an ebook need to look good in a thumbnail, but print designs have more flexibility. For this area, it is often best to hire an experienced book designer, as they will know how to balance all of the elements of a successful book design.

Print on Demand Service vs Local Printer vs Assisted Self-Publishing Services

Thanks to the boom in technology, self-publishing a printed book is much cheaper and more accessible than it used to be. Authors have options; they can choose whether to go with a print on demand service, to purchase several hundred copies and then sell them, or to use an assisted self-publishing service. When choosing which option to go with, make sure you know whether you need to purchase your own ISBN, or if one is included in the service—and make sure you’re aware of the pros and cons of getting a free ISBN.

Print on demand services, such as Createspace and Lulu, allow you to upload a copy of your book, and then have it printed to you in physical form. Some allow readers to purchase copies directly from the site, meaning you can link them there and they can purchase copies of your book, without having to do any work. However, some print on demand services can be similar to vanity presses. Always do research on the company first to find out what experiences other writers have had.

There are also assisted self-publishing services, which can do a range of things, including cover design, typesetting, editing and printing, depending on the service. Some even promise to get your book into bookstores. However, these usually come with a hefty price tag, and again, it’s crucial to make sure the company is legitimate before giving them any money. Do some online research, and contact your state writers centre or the Australian Society of Authors to find out if they have worked with them before.

Working with a local printer is another option. Here, you would purchase a print run of books before selling any, and then work to sell them yourself. This involves hard work and it does mean putting yourself out there, but it means you can get really involved with what you’re doing, and you have control over the complete process. If you’re looking at this route, many local writers centres have local printers they recommend.

Getting Into Bookstores

Getting into bookstores is probably the hardest part of self-publishing a printed book, but it is possible. Most bookstores order their selection from a distributor, such as TL Distribution, and most distributors rarely stock self-published books. One distributor that has been known to accept self-published titles is Dennis Jones.

Beyond using a distributor, your best bet is with local, independent bookstores. Visit your local indies and chat with the staff. Ask if they stock any self-published work, and who takes care of the store’s selection. If you’re unsure of who to contact, try getting in touch with successful self-published authors in your area to see where their books are stocked. Also ask if your local bookstore is willing to host a book launch, which will give them the opportunity to sell copies of your book, as well as bring customers in store to peruse other titles.

The Book Launch

The book launch of a self-published print book is a big deal. This is your chance to show the local book community that you exist, and get the word out there about your work. You’re much more likely to have a successful launch if you have connections in your local writing and book community, so start to attend other events and network with people as far in advance of your launch as possible. Don’t be fake about it, of course, but if you make genuine connections with people, they will be genuinely excited to support you.

You might like to ask a local writer to host your launch, or make a small speech. It’s usually best to contact someone who is successful in your genre and active in your local writing community, as they can bring people to the launch, and have some persuasion; this is similar to asking them to blurb your book. Again, this is why it’s a great idea to network in advance of planning your launch.

Most launches take place at local bookstores. This is because local bookstores have the facilities to sell books (and take EFTPOS payments), and are usually lovely venues. Contact your local independent bookstores to see if they’d be interested in running your launch, and then get in touch with your local writers centre to help promote the event.

Side note: Before your book launch, invest in a good quality pen that doesn’t bleed through paper. Most launches include a signing portion.

 

The 4 Ps and Cs of Marketing a Self-Published Book

This is the third in a series of articles about self-publishing. This series will cover everything from the technical bits, to self-promotion, to getting books into bookstores.

One of the first things taught in any marketing course are the four Ps: product, place, price and promotion. The four Cs are the updated version, and the two theories work together to create the ‘Marketing Mix’, that is the important factors that should be taken into account when starting a small business, or preparing to sell a product. Each of the four principles bleed into each other, and while it is useful sketch ideas under each heading, don’t be afraid to make linkages between them.

Any author self-publishing their work needs to get into this mindset, and plan their own answer to each of these principles. It is a useful exercise to help you understand the author/reader relationship, and it also gives depth of knowledge to a process that could be arbitrary for a first-time self-publishing author with no experience.

Product/Consumer

The product is, of course, the book itself. But is not quite as simple as that; there are many things to consider, including the format (print or ebook), the print run, the cover design, the typesetting and fonts used (keeping in mind restrictions by certain ebook providers), the kind of paper and the size of the book, as well as any illustrations, appendices or other additions.

It is also time to consider the consumer. We’ve already covered determining your target audience, but what will they get out of reading your book? Entertainment is, of course, an excellent answer, but will there be any other benefit? Will they find a character to identify with, or understand a subject they may not be familiar with, or be brought to question philosophical ideals? Defining how the reader will benefit from reading the book, and what sets the book apart from others in its genre, will help you in how you market it.

Place/Convenience

Consider how you will get your book to your consumer. Nowadays, there is so much competing media, and it is all available at the click of a button; making sure that a book is convenient and accessible is crucial in making sure it sells. This is all about making purchasing your work as easy as possible, and removing any resistance keeping your readers from your work.

If you are publishing an ebook, this involves ensuring it is available on the major marketplaces, including Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play Books. As for print, this involves getting into bookstores, both physical and online, and making sure copies of your work are available if you are speaking or teaching at an event. It also involves making sure someone can find you and your work if they Google you, and if you are interested in speaking or teaching opportunities, it also involves being easily contactable.

Price/Cost

Of course, this involves choosing the price of the book. This is a good time to do some market research to find out what other books in this genre or niche are selling for. Look at bestsellers, but also look at other works, particularly those by successful debut self-published authors. Keep in mind the amount of time and money you have put into the book when pricing it, but also remember that if it has a lower price tag, you may be able to sell more copies.

However, this also involves considering the cost to the reader. This isn’t just the price of the book, but also the time they will spend reading your work which they could use to be with their families or earn money. Here is where you determine the value you are providing to your reader; someone spending time with your work is a precious gift, and it is important to make sure that it is valued.

Promotion/Communication

This is the bit that people usually associate with marketing: the promotion of your work. But really, it’s simpler than that; you have created a product that will be valued by its readership, and promotion is just letting them know that is there and available for them. If you’ve identified your audience and the way the work will be distributed, now it’s time to figure out how to get the customers in the door.

Ideas for promotion include advertising through social media or print, running events such as a book launch, keeping a blog on topics the target audience might be interested in, giving free books to reviewers or running competitions, attending events in your local literary community and networking with movers and shakers, handselling the book at events or markets, doing interviews and media, and any other form of communication of which you can dream.

Successful Self-Publishing: Getting Started

This is the second in a series of articles about self-publishing. This series will cover everything from the technical bits, to self-promotion, to getting books into bookstores.

To be successfully self-published, a manuscript needs an action plan. The author needs to understand the facets of the industry, and be confident in the manuscript’s quality, the route they will take to ensure the product is professional, and how the work will be marketed and distributed, and they need to know how they will get to get to that stage.

These are some of the things that anyone considering self-publishing should be thinking about.

A Budget, What’s That?

The first step is figuring out how much you are willing to invest in your work. Self-publishing well isn’t free, and it will usually require hiring other professionals to do a significant amounts of work. Figuring out the amount of money you have to work with can also assist in helping to decide which skills you are going to learn, and which tasks will be outsourced.

In order to get the best possible product (and yes, your book is a product), it is important to look at hiring an external editor. It is also crucial to get a professional looking cover design, so depending on your skill set, it may be best to hire someone to do this too. Other tasks, such as typesetting and designing the inside of the book, can be learned or outsourced, depending on your funds and your abilities.

It is also important to be realistic about what each step will cost. If you are hoping to get your book printed, approach a few local companies for quotes. Approach your state writers centre to get a quote for an edit or manuscript assessment, and contact a few designers to see how much your cover will cost. Do some quick scouting on the kinds of promotion you want to do as well, to make sure that it will all fit in your budget.

Getting the Manuscript Right

It is important to get the words right! No one likes paying for something that is badly written. Besides, word-of-mouth is free promotion, so it’s important to make sure that the book is perfect for the reader, and not just for the writer. Here, you will probably need to hire an external editor to help you perfect your work.

There are a couple of options here: you can get a manuscript assessment, a structural edit, a line edit and/or a proofread. A manuscript assessment and a structural edit are similar; they both deal with the content and structure of the manuscript. An assessment comes in the form of a written report, and the writer then uses that report to make changes in the manuscript themselves, while a structural edit is a more hands-on, collaborative relationship to get the manuscript to its best possible state. The former is a cheaper option which can be done by an industry professional, while the latter should only be done by an editor.

A line edit is a much closer edit, going through the manuscript sentence by sentence to improve word choice, grammar, style and flow. This is important for making sure the manuscript reads well, and for giving the reader the best possible experience with your work. Finally, a proofread deals only with fixing spelling, punctuation and grammar, and is usually the last edit done before the work is printed. It may be best to do this once the work has been typeset or laid out for printing, so that the proofreader can pick up any errors caused by the process.

Who’s the Audience Here?

A publishing house has the advantage of a marketing team, but when self-publishing you need to find ways to circumvent the noise and get your book directly to its readership. Depending on whether you choose to sell print, print-on-demand or digital versions of book, you will need to configure distribution, marketing and sales plans.

The first step in figuring out a marketing and distribution plan is identifying your target audience. What kind of reader will be interested in your work? Try to be as specific as possible. What age are they? What gender? What are their hobbies and interests? What do they do in their free time—when they’re not reading? Do they read often? How do they find books, tv shows, music and films?

Once you start to sketch out the answers to these questions, you’ll get a clearer idea of who you’re pitching to. Are they more likely to find your work in a bookstore or on Amazon? Do they read book reviews, and if so, are they from the New York Times or Goodreads? What magazines do they read, and which Twitter accounts do they follow—are there opportunities here for you to advertise to them?

Ebook or Print?

This seems like a pretty basic question, but it’s an important one to consider, and both options have their pros and cons. Ebooks are cheaper to produce and easier to distribute to your audience, meaning that you can spend more money on editing the manuscript and marketing it. You will only need to get the manuscript typeset/formatted for the digital form, and your readers are more likely to be voracious on social media, spreading the word about your work.

Print, on the other hand, is a different beast. Print sales are only going up, while ebook sales are falling, and there is some suggestion that people are more likely to buy ebooks if they have seen the book in print form. Bookstores are still the best way to market your book, even if they are difficult to penetrate, and some audiences are significantly more likely to purchase a physical copy of a book than an ebook. Additionally, a print book means you can have a book launch, handsell the book at markets and other events, and you can keep a copy on you in case you run into a potential contact.

Getting your book in print form is a bit more complicated. This generally involves either using a local printer and purchasing a large amount of books at a time before selling them yourself, or using a print-on-demand service. If this is the road you want to go down, you need to figure out where and how you will sell your book; it is difficult to do it well, but it is possible. Contact local independent bookstores to see if they do book launches, and whether they are willing to stock self-published books by local authors. They may only stock them on consignment. Get in touch with your state writers centre, and see if they have advice on where you can sell print copies of your work, and research markets and events in your area.

It’s Like She Has ISBN or Something

ISBNs are the numbers which are used to categorize, code and find books. They are essential for libraries, bookstores, and all other booksellers. In order to sell a book in Australia, you will need to purchase an ISBN, and if you have both print and ebook versions of your book, they will need separate ISBNs.

Some online publishing and print-on-demand services, such as Createspace and Smashwords, include a free ISBN as part of their service. Of course, this is certainly an option, but note that in the front of your book, where the publishing details are, it will identify that service as your printing company. This means that when someone opens your book, they will immediately know that it was produced from an online service. The choice is up to you, but it may affect some people’s perception of your work.

You can also purchase an ISBN directly from Thorpe-Bowker, which is the only legitimate seller of ISBNs in Australia. They come in packs of 10 for around $84 (or $42 each), and if you purchase your own, you can put whatever you want in the front cover. If you’d like, you can create your own mock publisher or small press, of which your book is the first title.