“It’s a book to be shared and taken into your soul!” – Amanda
That’s a reader’s impression of my most recent book A walk in the mountain forests, sent to me this morning via email. Thanks Amanda!
I offered the manuscript of A walk in the mountain forests to four major publishers, and all four rejected it. Then I found an Australian company who could print it at a price I could afford (that’s Fast Proof Press in Nerang, Qld), and I went ahead and published it myself. Now this little book is bringing joy to many readers, and sharing the wonders of nature with others gives me a great deal of joy and satisfaction too.
Self-publishing is time-consuming, expensive and requires a leap of faith. You need to value your own work, and trust that others will too. But it also offers freedom, excitement, and complete control. When you self-publish, you’re responsible for the creative vision, the final quality of the product, and all the potential stuff-ups too.
I guess that’s why I do it. It’s partly about the thrill, and largely about the freedom and control. I worked for government agencies for most of my working life, and experienced the repeated frustration of my ideas / reports / projects / and scientific information being edited, watered down, distorted and generally messed up, in a way that made it hard to recognise the end product. Like a sausage machine, the stuff that was put in one end was barely recognizable when it appeared again on the other side.
Not so when I self-publish. Be it a social media post, a newsletter or blog post for Paperbark Writer, or a fully-fledged book, I am responsible for what I create and publish. I have control of the quality of the sausage! Hooray!
Some people spend thousands of dollars on overseas holidays, home renovations, on their own appearance, or on their children (!). I spend thousands of dollars on creating and self-publishing books.
Having said that, I need to point out that each book (that I am allowed to sell copies of) has paid its own way. More than that, each book has made at least a small profit, and two titles (Take this Book for a Walk and Make a Date with Nature) have been reprinted multiple times.
‘A walk in the mountain forests’ is my fifth self-published book (the others are Bimblebox Wonderland, Make a Date with Nature, Stories from the Wildworld, and Take this Book for a Walk). This is not counting the five other books I’ve been commissioned to create and self-publish, in collaboration with other authors (Riverina Grassland Ramblings, The Southern Bell-Frog Story, Wondrous Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands, Dynamic Lagoons and the Taronga Western Plains Zoo Nature Journal). I was paid for these commissions, and I don’t sell print copies of these books for various reasons, but four of these books are available as free downloads from the ‘Free downloads and printables’ page of this website.
A walk in the mountain forests is the first book that I tried to get published through the conventional publishing system. This was partly because it’s expensive to print a full-colour 206 page book. My previous books were wholly or largely black-and-white inside, and this makes a book cheaper to print. I don’t have a lot of money, so getting a publishing company to take on the financial risk of printing a book like A walk in the mountain forests was attractive.
It’s also really hard to get a self-published book into bricks-and-mortar bookstores, while a book published by an established publishing house is more likely to appear in many bookstores across the country. I’d like to give more people an opportunity to encounter A walk in the mountain forests via their local bookstore, but it was not to be. None of the publishers I approached were interested.
Never mind, another freedom that comes with self-publishing is the freedom to choose how a book is made. This meant that I could support a local business and reduce the carbon miles of shipping by printing in Australia, and also choose to use recycled paper to make the books. Very few books on sale in Australia or via big online stores are manufactured in this way.
But I guess the overall main reason that I self-publish is that I can choose to create what inspires me, and what I think is important. Nature is important for its own intrinsic worth, and nature is essential for human wellbeing. I think I will try to be inspired by, and respond to nature for as long as I live, and I’ll try to share this love with others as long as I can. And self-publishing gives me the freedom to do this.
Here are some more comments about A walk in the mountain forests:
“I’ve just finished reading your new book ‘A walk in the mountain forests’ and loved it!” – Louise
“I have just received my book and what to say ? – It is just gorgeous and I’m looking forward to many hours of enjoyment from it.” – Anne
“Just wanted to say I really loved your book. It felt very special to read through your journey and to see how you record things. I like the way you think as well … There were some very wise thoughts jotted down.” – Judy
“Such a great inspiration for others to absorb and have a go at their own nature journal” – Jo
“I just received my copy and I love it. It’s a delightful read and I love the journaling.” – Fiona
Thank you for the warm and wonderful responses to A walk in the mountain forests. This book is available for purchase from my online shop, and may also be available from the following shops. Please phone ahead to check if the title is in stock and to reserve a copy:
Binna Burra Teahouse, Binna Burra, Qld
Binna Burra Visitors Information Centre, Binna Burra, Qld
Books @ Stones, Stones Corner, Qld
Canungra Books and Art, Canungra, Qld
Friends of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Centre, Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowra, Qld
Queensland State Library Bookshop, South Brisbane, Qld
NEW SOUTH WALES:
Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Dorrigo, NSW
You can also:
Read more about the book: A walk in the mountain forests – What is this book?
I have received “A Walk in the Mountain Forests” two weeks ago and savoured every single page. Being a nature lover myself it nurtured my spirits and my love for all living beings. I have both “Make a date with Nature” and “Take this book for a walk” . You have inspired me to take up nature journaling and am amazed that it sharpens my observation skill and it is so much fun! I hope every school kid gets access to this book. I wish you all the very best in selling your books. Regards, Usha
Hey Usha thanks so much for your kind words about my books. I’m so glad you’ve discovered nature journaling and the joy it brings! All the best, Paula