Special Feature: Louise Cusack- From Published to Self-published

It’s not news that the publishing industry has undergone huge changes since Amazon deluged the market with it’s Kindle eReader a few short years ago and ebooks finally blew the book market apart. They’d been threatening to take off for a decade, fuelled by the availability of the Sony Nook among other eReaders, but a Kindle linked to an Amazon account (and who doesn’t have an Amazon account) was a match made in heaven. With one click Amazon customers could download a book, often at half the price of the paperback.

Suddenly, self-published authors weren’t being sidelined at writing conferences and being called vanity published behind their back, because you can’t argue with money. Prolific published print authors were getting the rights to their backlist and self-publishing them in e-bookstores like Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords, and often making more from those ebooks in royalties than they were from their new releases with big name print publishers.

That’s not to say it’s all success.  The writers who’ve done the best out of self-publishing are those who already had an audience. I’ve met many first-time novelists who’ve self-published and sold ten copies in a year.  I also met a multi-published print author recently who self-published a book on Amazon that Harlequin Mills & Boon had rejected and she made $40,000 on it in two months.

This was food for thought! I had a backlist of three out-of-print romances sitting around doing nothing so thought, why don’t I self publish them?  They were already edited. I had the rights back from the publishers. I just needed covers and the know-how, so I called on experts: Daryl of R&D Studios took the pictures I’d bought from iStock and my rough cover ideas and turned them into killer covers, then self-publishing expert Patrick O’Duffy told me how to upload them at Amazon, and with much less time and effort than I’d imagined, I had my Hapless Heroes quirky romance series up and ready for purchase.

Being part of the Amazon KDP program for self-published authors allows me 5 days of free promotion over 90 days for each book, so that’s going to allow me to have one of the books free almost every weekend (which will hopefully drive sales to the other two). I’ve already got a very active Facebook, Twitter, blogging network of contacts, so I’m currently slotting in #free #kindle #book promotions alongside all my usual chat. It’s not hard. In two weeks of promotion I’ve given away 520 free books which is a pretty cool way to start. Sales aren’t anywhere near that, but getting your name out there and your books climbing the Amazon charts is the name of the game, so I’ll be looking to build on that.

And that’s the difference between the two formats of publishing.  With print books you look to make the majority of your sales in the first six months – or the first month in the case of Harlequin romance novels.  e-Publishing is a long term project that translates into a passive income stream once the books are charting, because it costs you nothing further. You simply sit back and enjoy the royalties, the reviews and the pleasure of having new readers for stories that deserve to stay in ‘print’.


Louise is an International award winning fantasy author whose best-selling Shadow through Time trilogy with Simon & Schuster Australia was selected by the Doubleday book club as their ‘Editors Choice’.  In Feb 2012 it was released digitally by Pan Macmillan’s ebook imprint Momentum Books.

In 2006 Louise travelled to New York to present the Queensland government’s Queensland Writing Showcase to speculative fiction agents and publishers, introducing them to the work of emerging Queensland authors.  In 2009 she was invited to attended the prestigious Crossover multi-media think tank in Adelaide sponsored by the South Australian Film Commission.

A writing tutor for over ten years, Louise has run her own business Writers: Working with Louise Cusack for the past five years and has completed 160 manuscript assessments, tutored over 80 writing workshops and mentored over 300 hours with more than 50 clients.  She has also led 12 writing retreats with various writing groups and been a Writer in Residence with QWC, Logan City Council, Redlands City Council and Gold Coast City Council, helping develop writing programs for regional writers.

  • Thanks for sharing your latest journey, Lou. I loved reading Goddess and the Geek when it was first published many years ago so it’s exciting to see you turn these tales into a delightful series that’s now accessible to your many fans and readers. In the end, it’s all magical Old Spice (now everyone has to read her book to know what I’m talking about)

  • Thanks Cher! I’m loving seeing them get a new life for a fresh audience.


davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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