Self-publishers: We want you!

Self-publishers: We want you!
Self-publishing and legal deposit
17 May 2016

Self-publishing is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for centuries, and indeed, some of the world’s most celebrated authors—Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolfe to name but a few—have chosen this option at some point in their careers. More recent examples include Hugh Howey’s critically acclaimed Wool, and who can forget the commercial juggernaut that is E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey? Closer to home, Australian success stories include bestselling author Matthew Reilly (Contest*) and Euan Mitchell (Feral Tracks).

National Library staff member Jessica Drake at Matthew Reilly book event, Sydney 2014               Feral Tracks book cover

National Library staff member Jessica Drake at Matthew Reilly book event, Sydney 2014 and Feral tracks by Euan Mitchell

When Australia’s inaugural Nobel Prize winning writer, Patrick White was a teenager in the 1920s, his mum funded the publication of Thirteen Poems. However, many years later White tried to track down and destroy all known copies, along with his other book of poetry The Ploughman and other poems. In 2002, another young aspiring writer, US teen Christopher Paolini had the help of his family’s printing press to publish his book Eragon, which has since gone on to sell millions of copies, and has been turned into a feature movie. Hopefully, unlike White, Paolini is never so embarrassed by his early creation that he tries to eradicate it!

Patrick White

Brendan Hennessy, Portrait of Patrick White  1984, nla.obj-149858648

For many self-publishing authors, the true reward of publishing a book lies not in fame and fortune, (which is found by relatively few) but in sharing ideas, experiences and stories with the world through the written word.

Our collection aims to provide a true reflection of Australians and Australian culture. With improvements in digital publishing and printing technologies, self-published books make up a large portion of the nation’s published output, so we are keen to ensure they are held in the collection.

National Library of Australia

Here are the top 4 questions our Legal Deposit team receives from self-publishers:

1. I’ve self published a book—would you like a copy?

Yes! Legal deposit applies to material that is made available to the public for sale or for free and is either published in Australia or published by Australian authors or organisations.

2. My book is printed overseas—do you still want it?

Yes! If you are an Australian self-published author and your book is printed overseas, legal deposit applies to you.

3. Who is responsible for sending you my book, me or my self-publishing service?

You are, unless your self-publishing service has undertaken to deposit a copy of your book on your behalf. Check our catalogue to see if we have already received your book, and check your agreement with the self-publishing service.

4. My book is available as an eBook—can I deposit the electronic version?

Yes! From February 2016, legal deposit provisions at the National Library were extended to include electronic materials, which you can send to us using our fancy new edeposit service. If you publish in both print and electronic format, you only need to deposit one copy in one format, so let us know which option you prefer.

eDeposit

If you have any questions about depositing your work with us, our friendly Legal Deposit team will be happy to have a chat with you.

Self-published books are an important part of the national collection, offering diverse views of Australia and the world. They have significance, whether from an academic or entertainment or family history perspective. If I was a descendent of the Coles family, then Kenneth G. Coles’ book Branching out would be indispensable. If I was a scholar researching the representation of biblical figures in novels, then I would certainly want to know of the existence of a novel about a time-travelling Jesus.

A huge benefit of depositing your publications with us is that you don’t need to worry about your work becoming inaccessible as the years go by. It’s our job to ensure the content is available for future generations, whether you deposit your print book or ebook. Hardcopy books are well looked-after in climate controlled stacks, and electronic material is preserved and monitored so that content can be migrated as file formats change over time.

So, a call-out to all self-published authors—we want you! (or rather, your books)

Ginger the typing cat

Alex Trotter (1914-2009), Ginger the typing cat  1961, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 171873

*The Library does not yet hold a copy of the self-published edition of Matthew Reilly’s Contest. If you have one that you would like to donate, we will love you forever!

Comment: 
What about very small run books (like Blurb books) that don't have ISBN's. At $50-$80 a copy that's a lot for the extra copy. Is it optional? Do you actually accept them if we wanted to deposit a copy?
Comment: 
Hi Ken, thanks for your comment. ISBNs are not required for books to be eligible for legal deposit. If you are an Australian self-publisher and your book is available to the public, legal deposit applies to you. You can deposit a print or digital version with us for the national collection. Some self-publishing services deposit on behalf of their authors so it’s worth checking with them before you post your book to us.
Comment: 
I hope this is not a silly question, but I am a NZ citizen. Is this strictly for Australians only? I have family in Australia, would I be able to do it through them?
Comment: 
Hi Nicole, There are no silly questions! Legal Deposit only applies to Australians, but if you have spent a significant amount of time in Australia, or your books contain content about Australia, we may be interested in acquiring them for the collection. Please feel free to contact us to discuss this further. You can find our contact details via the following link: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
I should also add that the National Library of New Zealand also has legal deposit legislation covering New Zealander publications. Please see: http://natlib.govt.nz/publishers-and-authors/legal-deposit
Comment: 
I am self publishing with Xlibris.com.au. My book should be released in July. I am interested in depositing with you, but will check with Xlibris first whether they deposit a copy with you.
Comment: 
Hi Glennis, Yes, that would be great, and congratulations on your forthcoming book!
Comment: 
Who we are to send a free copy to. One to the National Library of Australia we know. Who else are we responsible for legally. I have been told we have to give every state library a copy, is that true?
Comment: 
Hi Judith, One copy should go to the National Library, and one copy to your relevant State/Territory Library. The ACT is the exception; legal deposit is encouraged but not required. Depending on what state you live in, there may be other libraries that also require legal deposit, so have a look at the following link: http://www.nsla.org.au/legal-deposit-australasia You are definitely not obliged to send a free copy of your publication to every State/Territory library.
Comment: 
What about a children's picture book, that was self-published in 2011?
Comment: 
Hi Helen, yes, if you are Australian and if your self-published children's picture book was made available to the public (for sale, or for free) then we would love to take a copy into the national collection for legal deposit! Our postal address can be found via the following: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
I published a trilogy between 2012 to 2015 through the publishers, Xlibris. I would like to donate my books to the library. Is it the national library? I published in 1996 and that book is in the library in Canberra. Desley
Comment: 
Hi Desley, yes, the National Library of Australia would love to take your trilogy into the collection for legal deposit! Our postal address can be found via the following: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
I received requests from the NLA previously and did my best to comply. However, the last time I engaged with this process (some years ago now) only a partial copy was made of my website and no copies of my YouTube interview series were made. The person with whom I corresponded (who was different to the NLA person who spoke to me at Supanova and made the video request) said my website was too large to copy. In this situation, where my work has been entirely produced in Australia and includes numerous interviews of Australia creators, do you want copies? Do you wish to rectify this situation? I currently live in Canberra so, if you're interested, it's possible for me to bring a hard drive to the library. This would take some time to put together, though, because I'd have to find and copy numerous video and audio files. However, the basic website database (without podcasts or videos) is under 20GB.
Comment: 
* Also, it's possible to download all podcasts directly from iTunes. This is my podcast channel on iTunes for free; all podcasts are also available on the website free. https://itunes.apple.com/pw/podcast/dark-matter-zine-podcast/id1097452032 This is my website: http://www.darkmatterzine.com/
Comment: 
Hi Nalini I had a look at our archive copy of your work and it looks to be of a good quality. We do not routinely collect video content during an archive as adding video in is a manual process and resource intensive. It appears you have an accompanying mp3 file for each video and this was collected during the automated harvesting process so each interview is successfully included within the archive. Your website reflects an important part of Australian culture, and is thereby an important part of the national collection. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us directly via the details in the following link: webarchive @nla.gov.au
Comment: 
Hi Kristen, I'm from the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages here in Melbourne. Thanks very much for your blog post, it's a great reminder for small publishers like ourselves. Over the last year or so we've released story book Apps through the iTunes Store. Do you collect this type of e-content? We do have one listing within our Library Catalogue on Victorian Collections: https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/56cfd8c72162f1192cd7bb65 - however I wasn't sure we could place our Apps as legal deposit. Any clarification here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much, Jenny
Comment: 
Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment, I’m glad that you found the post to be helpful! We are not currently in a position to collect apps, which is a shame, as Aboriginal languages are an area of particular interest for us, but do watch this space as technology changes and our IT team continue to innovate. We do accept hard copy publications, ePubs, MOBI, and PDFs. I’ve also passed the details of your website along to our Web Archiving team so they can harvest it for preservation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further comments or queries: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
Hi Kristen, Thanks very much for the information, it's really helpful. We'll certainly keep a lookout for any updates on your e-collections. Thanks very much for passing on our details to your Web Archiving team. A big thank you also to the Wonderful teams at Trove and Victorian Collections for all their work in bringing awareness about our Library's resources to our Communities, and well beyond!
Comment: 
This is an extremely well-timed article, thanks for posting it! I was just talking with a friend about how self-published authors should go about getting their work into public libraries, so this is somewhat related to that. I wasn't aware that Legal Deposit applied to self-published or vanity-printed works as well, although it does make sense. (Question, given Legal Deposit is mandated by law, are there penalties for not sending deposit copies?)
Comment: 
Hi Mike, thanks for your comment! Yes, one of the major benefits of depositing with the National and State libraries is that the books are fully catalogued, and their details are made available on Trove, so it definitely makes sense to deposit to help get your books into more libraries. Regarding your question, for the National Library the legal deposit provisions includes 10 penalty units for non-compliance. However thankfully since the new legislation came into effect we have not had to go down that path! See Schedule 7 for details: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2015A00113
Comment: 
You can also check the Copyright Act 1968 - SECT 195CB: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s195cb.html
Comment: 
Where do we send a copy and do you just need one? Ta.
Comment: 
Hi Meagan, yes, the National Library only needs one copy, and you can find our details via the following: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
What is the best address to send them to - and to whom at the Library? How fabulous this is. Thanks
Comment: 
Hi Jennifer, there's no need to address the package to anyone in particular -- our wonderful Legal Deposit team will look after it! Our best postal address can be found via the following: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit
Comment: 
Hi Kristen I just wanted to say that I deposited a copy of my self-published guide into the NLA and whilst I was there I approached the bookshop to see if they were interested in selling my book. I am happy to report that they accepted and my book has been selling steadily - and it gave me the courage to approach other booksellers with similar results! www.giftofmemories.com
Comment: 
Hi Mary-Jill, what a great success story! Thanks for sharing :)
Comment: 
I am the author of Warrior Born - Book 1 of the Katana Series. This book was first published in the US and is now published here by an Australian publishing company. Redemption is the second book in the series which has a release date of 21st September. I am soon to release To Baile do Cailleach which is the first book of a new series. All of my books are set in Australia, with Australian language and word craft. I would like to know more about submitting copies of my books to the National Australian Library.
Comment: 
Hi Kathrine, congratulations on your publications! To find out how to submit copies of your books to the Library, simply go to the following: http://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit It has all the information you need to either post your print publications to us, or submit electronic publications via our new edeposit service.
Comment: 
Hey there, I love the sound of this! My book is in re-edit and stage and could be a couple of months before completion. I have already signed up with a publishing house called Balboa Press. Once my manuscript is complete the cover book process will start and then print I hope. I would love to send a hard cover copy once it is completed, as I am always scared of the idea that my book may stop print or disappear from time. :)
Comment: 
Hi Christine, good luck with your forthcoming book, we look forward to receiving it! You can be assured that books you send to us for legal deposit will not disappear from time, but will live on (probably) forever :)
Comment: 
Hello! My publisher has listed my book with you (hooray!) Could you please let me know who to approach to have it listed in local libraries? Is it the individual library, or is there a way to approach a group of libraries in one hit? Many thanks for your advice :)
Comment: 
Hi Tara, different libraries use different methods and different suppliers to acquire books. It's probably best to contact your local libraries individually to ask. You can also contact library suppliers to see if they will list your book. I know that James Bennett and ALS Library Services both stock books from self-published authors.
Comment: 
I'm an American Fantasy Author living in Sydney and in Australia is where I published my first novel. My book is available worldwide and through all major distributors. Would the NLA be interested in a copy?
Comment: 
Hi Jon, if your book was published in Australia, then we would love to accept a copy for legal deposit :)
Comment: 
I'be written two novels (series) and planning to write a third after I finish revision on my first two. My books are written in first person so except when addressed my main character name doesn't appear. Everyone elses is or speech would be confusing. It is books of observation, thought and feeling but only one true POV. Most books are second person so anyone who reads my work goes random directions with it. It makes it unfamiliar. Is that a big issue in writing?
Comment: 
Hi Caraid, as I'm not an editor I can't really answer your question, sorry! You can find a freelance editor on the IPEd website. Alternatively, perhaps your friends and family can read your books to provide feedback on POV.
Comment: 
I have just completed my first children's story book: to be published and printed in the next few weeks.
Comment: 
Congratulations Pat! We look forward to receiving a copy for the national collection :)
Comment: 
Hi .. a little confused. I am self publishing some young reader stories soon about a specific area in Queensland. Now .. if I send a copy to you does that affect my rights to my book in anyway? Also, do I then have to give a book to libraries. A library wanted to take on my works and that meant I was going to lose my claim to my work.
Comment: 
Hi Victoria, Copyright is automatically generated on creation of a work. Legal deposit has no effect on your rights to your book. Regarding sales and distribution rights, selling or donating your book to libraries would not affect this -- it would only potentially be affected if you collaborated on the content of your book with a library, and were unable to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement. Feel free to email us with more details of your situation: legaldeposit@nla.gov.au