You have your manuscript in hand, having lovingly crafted it, polished it and dedicated untold hours to finishing it. But as anyone who’s ever written and published a book knows, writing itself is only half the battle – getting published is the step that can be hardest to accomplish. Let’s give you a head start, and share our insights on how to publish a book in Australia.

Get feedback on your work

Before you even start thinking about publishing, get feedback on your written work – not just from friends and family, but a neutral third party who will critique your work so you can see if and where it may need further refinement. To even have a chance at getting the attention of publishers or readers, your book needs to be quality.

Understand your publishing options

There are two main options for publishing a book:

  • Commercial publishing
  • Self-publishing

When deciding how to publish a book in Australia, you need to know the requirements of both these options to make an informed decision. The Australian book industry is particularly competitive, and publishers receive thousands of manuscripts from aspiring authors. Many publishers will only accept submissions from literary agents, making it harder to get a foot in the door. Different publishers will also have particular niches that they specialise in, so knowing which publishers prefer which genres and types of written work is a critical piece of investigative work that you’ll need to do. Self-publishing, by comparison, offers a bit more freedom.

Commercial publishing

Commercial publishing means either approaching a publishing house directly with your finished manuscript, or using a literary agent to do this on your behalf.

Submitting your manuscript

Submitting a manuscript is a process that needs to be executed perfectly – you’ll generally only get one chance to stand out, and commercial publishers have stringent processes you must follow for them to even consider your work. Take the time to review what their submission requirements are, and follow them to the letter.

Our blog on submitting a manuscript can give you a better idea of what’s involved in the process.

Should I use a literary agent?

Using a literary agent to approach a publisher with your manuscript means it’s “solicited”, because it comes with their recommendation. Many Australian commercial publishers will only accept solicited manuscripts. Choosing not to use a literary agent will make your manuscript “unsolicited”, so do your homework first on which publishing houses will accept unsolicited works.


Self-publishing is the DIY approach to launching your book out into the world. Typically, you take care of:

  • Editing
  • Layout and design
  • Printing
  • Finding a distributor
  • Marketing and promotion

There are distribution channels that will help you share your book with the masses, but you’ll need to do your research to make sure they’re reputable and will do what they promise to do. You can also apply to online sites to distribute your book, like Amazon.

Alternatively, you can use a professional self-publishing organisation that provide services to support self-published authors. This takes away many of the headaches of going it alone, and they can help with editing, typesetting, printing, publishing and marketing.

How much will it cost, and what profit will I make?

You can expect royalties from a commercially published book to be around 10% of its recommended retail price (RRP) in Australia for print. For digitally published ebooks, royalties are around 25%. There are no costs to you; the publishing house takes all the risk.

There are costs associated with self-publishing though. It may cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars to self-publish, depending on the services you need, the quality of the end product, and whether you’re looking at a purely digital product (e-book) or printed version as well. But you also get a much higher percentage of the profit (after costs).

You also have much greater control over your copyright when you self-publish, allowing you to turn your content into workbooks, workshops, or online content for clients.

In summary

Knowing how to publish a book in Australia is about understanding your options, and what process is more suitable for you to follow to achieve your dream. Publishing your manuscript with a commercial publisher gives you access to all their professional resources and distribution channels. If you’re targeting a mostly digital channel or want to leverage your book as part of your business, self-publishing may be a viable option. Do your research, and take your time to decide. Your manuscript deserves it.

If you’re not sure what’s the best strategy for your book, give us a call and we’ll help you with the information you need to make the best decision.