Tackling self-publishing: Elaine Ouston’s ‘The Mystery of Nida Valley’ blog tour

Today, I welcome to my blog, Elaine Ouston, the author of  a children’s fantasy novel, The Mystery of Nida Valley

Elaine chose self-publishing to get her novel out into the world, through Dennis Jones and Associates – a distribution and consulting company on the Gold Coast. I’m sure many people would be interested to know how she did it. 

Elaine Ousten

Elaine, congratulations on the publication of your intriguing book, The Mystery of Nida Valley. It must be exciting seeing the realisation of all your hard work.  Tell us about the Mystery of Nida Valley. For what age group is it most suitable?

It is a fantasy story set in southeast Queensland. It is about a group of teens, who stumble into a protected hidden valley where Australian megafauna and dinosaurs roam. In keeping with the magical theme, there is also a dragon. The story contains ghosts, time travel, magic, and many adventures with these ancient animals. Then there is added intrigue, as the teens discover their roles in fighting to protect this precious slice of history from an evil villain who wants to open it to the public for financial gain.  I believe it will appeal to children and teens from 10+.

Did you always intend to take the self-publishing path?

No, I did try the normal publishing path for a couple of years. I sent it out too soon and after a couple of rejections, I decided it wasn’t good enough. I turned to formal study to improve my writing.

After my study, I rewrote it and started submitting it again. The reaction and feedback were much more positive. But I soon learnt that rejection by a publisher is not always because your work is not good enough. There are many other factors to be taken into consideration. Timing is the one that seems to be the major factor.  The last couple of rejections were very positive and praised the writing and the story so I decided to have a go at independently publishing.

Elaine, you are also an editor by trade, did you do your own editing for this book?

No. No matter how well you write, every writer is too close to the story to see the problems that lurk beneath the surface. A professional editor who works freelance for publishers and agents edited my story. It then went to a couple of experienced authors for feedback and finally to a proof-reader.

Tell us about how you prepared the story before you sent it to Dennis Jones and Associates.

My book went to them printed. I didn’t use their self-publishing services. To submit an independently published book to any distributor you need to have a quality professionally presented and printed book.

How did you organise your illustrations?

I had seen illustrations by Aaron Pocock on Facebook and decided I wanted him to do my cover. I gave him a flight scene from the book and he interpreted it into the amazing drawing that lights up my cover. Then I decided that it would be nice to show the readers what the awesome megafauna and dinosaurs looked like, and include more detail about their place in our history than the book could provide, so I commissioned him to come up with original drawings of them to put on the Collector Cards.

Your books are also available as eBooks. Did you do it yourself?

No, the eBook set-up was organised by Publicious, a small publishing firm on the Gold Coast.

What is your plan on how you’ll distribute copies of your book?

Dennis Jones has stock which he will sell to the bookshops, libraries, and schools, and I have put it on as many Australian on-line bookstores as I can. Signed copies are also available from my website http://elaineouston.com.  The eBook is available in America and Europe as well as Australia. I am also working on a POD deal with a British firm for the printed books.

Now that you’ve been through the process of self-publication, Elaine, what would you say are the pros and cons?

The control you have if, and when it is actually published and released are the pros. The cons are the amount of hard work involved in organising, setting up, and printing. Plus, the time taken attending to marketing and the publicity. There are no publicists to write the press releases and reviews and send them to the media. You have to do it all yourself. Then of course, there is the frightening cost of the printing, freight to distributor, and the travel to do the book signings etc. Ask me again in a couple of months and I’ll let you know if the pros increase. lol.

Your website also has a competition as well as some very impressive Game Cards of dinosaurs for the novel. How did you do the cards?

Thank you for your kind words. My background is graphic art so I designed and set them up myself. I used Aaron’s illustrations, and knowledge from extensive research I did on the animals.

It’s been great talking with you, Elaine. Good luck with your novel and also for the rest of your blog tour.  🙂

Thank you Sheryl, for having me here, and for your kind wishes.

In conjunction with this blog tour, you can go in the draw to win one of three copies of the book.

Go to http://themysteryofnidavalley.wordpress.com and check out the Collector Cards page.  Then answer this question: What megafauna animal or dinosaur would you like to see in the flesh and why? The competition will close at midnight on May 15th 2011. All answers will be assigned a number, and that number will be put in a draw. The winners will be notified by email and will be eligible to enter the Code Cracker Game.



16 thoughts on “Tackling self-publishing: Elaine Ouston’s ‘The Mystery of Nida Valley’ blog tour

  1. Thank you Sheryl for the chance to learn about Elains’e self publishing. I found it most interesting and informative.
    All the best to you Elaine.


  2. Thanks Angela. I am totally exhausted and over being publicist and marketing person. I just want to get back to writing. I’m having withdrawals and dreaming of just sitting quietly and writing. lol Maybe when I get back from Brisbane I can do that.


  3. Thank you Alison. Good luck with your book too. it looks facinating. Love your website. If I can help in any way let me know. Problems shared are problems solved. If you do a blog tour let me know. I hope to have my author blog up soon.


  4. I can fully relate to everything in this post! I am also in the final production stages of self publishing. I agree it is very hard work but also very enjoyable.
    Wishing you all the very best with your new book, Elaine, and thanks for sharing, Sheryl!


  5. What a lot of work you’ve done- it sounds very intriguing- love to hear how all the work paid off in sales and promotion- maybe it would be good to have another interview later down the track- thanks for sharing Elaine and Sheryl.


  6. Thanks Sheryl and Elaine for your probing questions and answers on Elaine self-publishing choices and journey.

    Hope you’ll drop by my website tomorrow for the next installment in Elaine’s blog tour :))


  7. Congratulations on your new book, Elaine. It looks great and I can’t wait to read it.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us and thanks, Sheryl for the great post.



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