Monday 13 November 2017

There’s A Crocodile on the Golf Course by Rachel Barnett

Can you tell readers about your latest book? Is it your first?                                                                There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course is my latest book, and my first picture book. The picture book was released in February 2017. The story follows Croco as he plays a round of golf and gets into all sorts of trouble. He’s not the greatest golfer and is a quite impatient and cranky but his friends are there and help to save the day. The story is set on the Alyangula Golf Course on Groote Eylandt, which is a very remote part of the Northern Territory. 

Why did you choose to self-publish?
Firstly, I think I was a little impatient! I did send my manuscript off to a couple of publishers, but could not help myself continuing with the project! I kept editing and drawing and by the time I heard back the manuscript was almost unrecognisable. Whilst I am not sure that the process to publication happened any more quickly, I felt that I was actively moving forward with the project with every new step.

The opportunity to publish through another publisher did arise towards the end, just as I was about to send to the printers, but I decided to see the process through. I was able to make decisions around design and illustrate the story myself and since this book was originally intended to be for my children as a memento of living on Groote Eylandt this was important as I wanted the illustrations to be reflective of the actual place.

I also like a challenge, which is lucky as self publishing was a huge learning curve for me. I knew very little before I started, but enjoyed learning and developing my skills in so many different areas.

Why did you choose Holus Bolus Books as your publisher?                                                                    Holus Bolus Books is my own publishing business. I started it to facilitate self publishing for this project and the next that are coming along. I am also starting to work with others who are interested in creating books, mostly for personal reasons rather than as commercial ventures.
More information about Holus Bolus Books can be found at

If you had your work assessed and/or edited privately, can you give details please?
I was lucky to have some very talented friends who edited my work and critiqued my design and illustration: these ranged from teachers to graphic designers. I also approached a number of authors I had distant connections with who were already established and asked their advice. I was very lucky to find such generosity of time and to have the opportunity to learn from them.

How long did it take from starting the publishing process to receipt of advance copies?
Overall the project took about two years! Each step of the process involved a new learning journey and the second time around this should mean that, whilst there will always be a lot to learn, the road to publication should be more direct. I do think it was necessary to have that time to reflect and improve the story and illustrations however, so would not want to rush the next project either. From sending the final files to the printer and receiving the advance copies was relatively quick -- a little over a month.

How many copies did you get printed?
I decided to print an initial run of 1000 copies through Tien Wah Press. Because I live in such a remote location, the shipping for me was and continues to be a large cost.
I have also set up a print on demand option through Ingram Spark; however I miss the glossy look of the paper in this version, which I think is so important to children’s books. Also things like not being able to print on the end-papers proved to be a limitation. I am printing my colouring book through them though and I love how these have come up.

Are you happy about the quality of paper, design and printing?
Yes, I am very happy with Tien Wah Press. They were very helpful and the quality is great. But I chose them because I had seen other favourite picture books printed through them that I loved.

How will you distribute copies?
My books are for sale via my website, I will also use an Adelaide based distributor and will sell direct to some independent bookstores. Watch this space!.

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