Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Fruit Bowl Full of Kiwi Self-Publishers.

One thing that really annoys the snot out of me is when someone from a different country calls kiwifruit a 'kiwi'. I live in New Zealand, in case you hadn't figured that out, and you see, our national bird is a flightless, podgy little bird called the Kiwi. As a country, we spend thousands of dollars a year to keep this little podgy bird from going extinct. I think that kiwi fruit must have been given its name after this bird because it looks kind of like a brown podgy thing (they used to be called Chinese gooseberry).

'Kiwi' is also what native New Zealanders call themselves. Its an identity thing, something we take pride in. Our number-eight-wire, kiwi ingenuity thinking – we love it, its who we are. We're a small, young country, not often taken seriously, until we invent the electric fence, the jet boat, the disposable hypodermic syringe, or the eggbeater (who knew!)

But it's been amazing what we have produced as writers and authors from this nation. Did you know that Lynley Dodd's series of books called 'Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy' is still found on the top sellers lists around the world? At the moment on Book Depository, her first title in the series is beating the Graffalo, The Rainbow Fish, Brown Bear, and even Diary of a Wimpy Kid in the best-sellers lists. Now that's something!

I love that us Kiwis are taking on the world! Did you know that two major publishing houses have moved their operations off shore because the self-publishing industry and the digital ebook has changed the way many Kiwis buy books. And because we were such a small market to begin with, there's not enough money keeping them in NZ any longer. The ones that are staying are now merging, some with vanity publishing houses to encourage the indie author to spend heaps of money on their own print runs (which is a stupid idea, so please don't do it!)

This is forcing the previously traditional-published author into self-publishing, reinforcing the indie-market and forcing more publishing houses to move off-shore. Its almost self-perpetuating. The market is too small, and now is even smaller, so the big guns move on, forcing the established authors and writers to self-publish. Its an exciting time really! As these established and new-to-self-publishing authors are coming out of the woodwork, it's paving a way for more Kiwis like you and me to learn about this emerging industry and get on board for the ride.

And Kiwis are self-publishing some fantastic works! Just this last week at the New Zealand Children's Book Awards Ted Dawe's 'Into the River' was named the Margaret Mahy book of the year. The top spot – the top award. It was self-published by Ted under the publishing house Mangakino University Press. So, self-publishing is making waves in and from this small country of ours.

What a great time to be a Kiwi aye?!!!


  1. Great time to be a writer, great time to be a Kiwi... lookin pretty good if you ask me!