Potential Authors

The contract

Once a book is recommended for publication by the Magabala Books Editorial Committee, the first thing we do is discuss and agree with the author and/or illustrator on the type of work required before the book is ready for publication. This could include anything from grammatical corrections to the text to major structural changes. If it is a children’s picture book then, as well as editing the text, the style, subject matter and quantity of illustrations is discussed and agreed upon.

When it is agreed what is to be done, who is to do it and by when, the publisher will offer the author a contract to publish. This is a legally binding agreement by both parties. In the contract the author gives the publisher permission to publish the work for which the author holds copyright. The author maintains copyright and the publisher licenses this copyright for the exclusive use in the publication. The author guarantees that the work is original and that they have all the necessary permissions for any elements that they do not own.

Magabala Books uses a standard publishing contract based on advice from the Australian Publishers Association and from the Australian Society of Authors. Broadly speaking the author is paid a 10% royalty on each book sold. This is paid on the recommended retail price minus GST. All copyright is retained by the author and/or the illustrator. On publication the author is paid a non-returnable advance against these royalties. If the book is a children’s picture book and there is an author and an illustrator, then the author and illustrator each receives 5% royalty. (Royalties are paid twice a year.) Where does the money go? The following chart shows roughly where the money from a book goes. Please note this varies according to the type of book it is but this will give you a general idea of where the money goes.

The publishing process

Magabala Books is responsible for the editing, design, production (including printing), promotion and distribution and warehousing of all the books that it publishes.

Editing and design

Magabala Books works with the author and illustrator to make the best book possible. In consultation with the author we will edit and proofread the book. This is a backwards and forwards process and involves designers, editors, proofreaders and possibly indexers. The process can take anywhere from two months to two years depending on the length and complexity of the book and the amount of development needed before the work is ready for publication. With children’s picture books we work with illustrators to plan and to sketch out each page and each illustration, and to develop consistency of style and quality of illustrations.

A big part of a book is the cover. It is the cover that makes a potential buyer pick up your book as opposed to all the other books on the shelf in the bookshop. The publisher has the final word on the cover of the book, although this is always done in close collaboration with the author.


Once the book is designed and typeset it is prepared to be sent to the printer (we use overseas printers), and this process can take up to 10 weeks. Once the printing is complete the books are shipped to Australia and delivered to our distributors, Sydney-based NewSouthBooks (NSB).


Once the book is delivered to our distributers and Magabala Books in Broome, the marketing team work with the author and/or illustrator (creator/s) to best promote the title. Information about the title and creator/s is disseminated to specified media and promoted to festivals, events and likely target groups.

Magabala Books develops the most appropriate promotional material to be used in the marketing campaign for the book. The book is promoted through many different channels, including social and digital media, the Magabala Books website, blog/website reviews, traditional media (radio, print and television) reviews and advertising.

Depending on the book, some creator/s also decide to host a launch and actively participate in the marketing of their book. If relevant, creators are versed on public speaking and interview technique so they are confident to deliver individual workshops and interviews.

Specific titles are entered into book awards and cross-promoted through events to gain additional longevity in the marketing world.

Sales, distribution and warehousing

Magabala Books’ Sydney-based distributor, NewSouth Books, sells our titles into bookshops in each Australian state and territory. Magabala Books staff attend the annual sales meeting to present our titles to sales representatives and work closely with NewSouth Books throughout the year. The sales representatives take samples and sales materials into bookshops and sell directly to the booksellers.

Magabala Books services booksellers in the Kimberley region through our Broome office, and supplies a range of customers other than bookshops nationally such as schools, arts/cultural centres, tourism outlets and government departments. Book sales made through Magabala Books’ website are processed from Broome.

To achieve bulk sales suitable titles are pitched to booksellers supplying children’s book clubs and school libraries. Bulk sales involve orders of 1,000 copies or more. Given the higher quantity of bulk orders, the buyer demands a higher discount of up to 65%. Although bulk sales are not always lucrative, they see many more Magabala Books titles reach the hands of young people across Australia.

Magabala Books has limited international representation in New Zealand through NewSouth Books, in the USA through Independent Publishers Group in Chicago, and directly through the Magabala Books website.