One of the biggest and most expensive self-publishing mistakes I’ve made…

One of the biggest and most expensive self-publishing mistakes I’ve made…

May 13, 2022

Over the years as a writer and author I’ve made plenty of mistakes, from simple punctuation errors to giving up too easily during the book marketing phase, but one of the most expensive mistakes I’ve made has been leaving money on the table when it came to the Australian Lending Rights Scheme which includes Public Lending Right (PLR) and Education Lending Right (ELR).

Sure, I was one of the Australian authors this week celebrating receipt of the Lending Rights 2021-2022 payment notification as I have in many years gone by (Yay!). This payment drops into authors’ accounts each year based on the number of copies of our books being borrowed from libraries around Australia.

BUT… you know what I wasn’t celebrating? That I’d never never actually set myself up in the scheme as both a Creator AND the Publisher.

Not having listed myself as the publisher of Small Farm Success Australia, Honey Farm Dreaming and Honeycomb Kids has cost me thousands of dollars. Thousands of dollars that were easily available to me as the self-publisher of these titles given so many copies of my books are available in libraries. These payments would have been in addition to my payments as an author. Duh! Or should that be $Duh$?!

That’s right, as self-publishers and indie authors, we are entitled to a publisher payment on our books, just like traditional publishers receive from the scheme. It’s just another benefit of self-publishing…all income streams flow back to you….as the author and the publisher.

But what to do about my big self-publishing fail?

I’ve rectified it now so that my new title on self-publishing and all things bookpreneur: Look-It’s Your Book! and my previous titles are now eligible for the publisher payment as well as the creator payment I’d been receiving.

Why did I make this easily-avoided self-publishing mistake?

I think as my first book had been traditionally-published, I wasn’t even aware that publishers received an ELR and PLR payment. Then, at the time of publishing Honeycomb Kids, I probably just didn’t register the opportunity and was busy trying to get my book into Australian libraries rather than leveraging the opportunity; and with Small Farm Success and Honey Farm Dreaming I was a bit overwhelmed with all the tech and getting two books written, edited, designed and published at the same time to take everything in and get it all done.

I remember thinking…”I’ll do that later”. Whoops…now it’s much later! But when I was researching best self-publishing practice for Look-It’s Your Book!, I promised myself I’d fix it.

Yes, it’s never too late to right a wrong – even though it means I will only be eligible as a creator and a publisher from the next round ie: the money from the previous funding rounds is gone forever. (Yes, that is the sound of weeping over spilt opportunity…but also joy that I can tell you about it so it won’t happen to you!). Plus, with Look – It’s Your Book! being fresh on the market, I’m keen to see how library availability of it, and the combo effect of my registering as both the author and publisher, will impact my PLR and ELR earnings going forward!

So, how do you set yourself up in the scheme as both a creator/author and a self publisher?

What I had originally thought was going to be a difficult process of linking my creator claimant ID with the set-up of my claim as a publisher, was as easy as an email to the fab and helpful Lending Right Programs team at the Office for the Arts who linked it all for me.

Here is their current advice for how to register for PLR and ELR as a creator author AND a self publisher:

  • Our main request is that: If they ARE already registered as a CREATOR/AUTHOR it is much more convenient for us to add the publisher account and link them.  The publisher registration form is available towards the bottom of this Australian Government page:
  • If they’re NOT already registered as a Creator then please register as a Creator / Self-publisher online: After they’ve read the important information they can click the “New Claimant – Register” button.

There is plenty more information about ELR and PLR, self-publishing, planning and writing your non-fiction book, author marketing and how to leverage your book in Look – It’s Your Book! Lots of Australian authors have shared their advice on the steps they’ve taken to enjoy great success with their books and self-publishing ventures.

I hope this blog post about my own self-publishing blunder helps you avoid making the same mistake yourself. The more successful authorpreneurs out there, the better!

So, here’s wishing you all the best on your writing and publishing journey, and for lots more info on PLR and ELR – including how many copies of your book you need in libraries to be eligible for payments, check out Look – It’s Your Book! You can either order it here with the super-useful workbook or ask for a copy from your local library.

And thanks so much to the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) for all the lobbying they did to get this wonderful scheme up and running to compensate authors for the borrowing of their works in public libraries. And also, thanks to the ASA for all the work they are doing now to bring about Digital Lending Rights (DLR) for Australian authors whose ebooks are loaned out through libraries too.