Magabala Books Magabala Books Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher Support us

We respectfully caution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers that this website contains images of people who have passed away.


Information for potential Magabala creators

The publishing contract

Once a book is approved for publication by the Magabala Books’ Board of Directors, the first thing we do is discuss and agree with the author and/or illustrator on the type of work required before the book is ready for publication.

This could include anything from grammatical corrections (copy edit) to the text, to major structural changes (substantive edit). If it is a children’s picture book, Magabala Books will discuss with each Creator the process that will happen. For example, if you are an author, we will talk about the text and the editing process that you will go through. If you are an illustrator, Magabala Books will discuss the style and nature of the illustrations, as well as help guide first-time illustrators through this process.

When there has been an agreement about what is to be done, who is to do it and by when, the publisher will offer the author a contract to publish. This is a legally binding agreement. In the contract the Creator gives Magabala Books permission to publish the work, for which the Creator holds copyright. The author/illustrator maintains copyright and the publisher licenses this copyright for the exclusive use in the publication. The author/illustrator guarantees that the work is original and that they have all the necessary permissions for any elements that they do not own.

Magabala Books uses a standard publishing contract based on advice from the Australian Publishers Association and from the Australian Society of Authors. As a general rule Creators are paid a 10% royalty on each book sold. That is, they receive 10% of the recommended retail price (RRP) minus GST, for each book sold. If the book is a children’s picture book and there is an author and an illustrator, then the author and illustrator each receives a 5% royalty. Royalties are paid twice a year.

The publishing process

Magabala Books is responsible for the editing, design, production (including printing), promotion, distribution and warehousing of all the books that it publishes.

Editing and design

Magabala Books works with the author and illustrator to make the best book possible. In consultation with the author we will edit and proofread the book. This is a backwards and forwards process and involves designers, editors, proofreaders and occasionally indexers.

The process can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the length and complexity of the book, and the amount of development needed, before the work is ready for publication.

With children’s picture books, Magabala Books works with illustrators to plan the layout of the book, plan each illustration (or page spread) and to develop consistency of style and quality of illustrations.

A big part of a book is the cover. It is the cover that makes a buyer pick up a title. The publisher has the final word on the cover of the book.


Once the book is designed and/or typeset it is then sent to the printer. This process can take up to 10 weeks. Once the printing is complete, the books are shipped to Australia (if printed overseas) and delivered to our distributors, Sydney-based NewSouthBooks (NSB). Magabala also has a distributor in the US: IPG.


Up to 3-4 months before the publication release date, the marketing team will commence work with the author and/or illustrator (creator/s), in order to best promote the title. Information about the title and creator/s is distributed to media, promoted to festivals, events and other potential target groups.

Magabala Books develops the most appropriate promotional material to be used in marketing campaigns for the book. For example, a book may be promoted through many different channels, including social and digital media, the Magabala website, blog/website reviews, traditional media (radio, print and television) reviews and advertising.

Depending on the book, some creator/s actively participate in the marketing of their book.

Certain titles are entered into relevant book awards and cross-promoted through events to gain additional longevity in the marketing world.

Sales, distribution and warehousing

Magabala Books’ distributor, NewSouth Books, sells our titles into bookshops in each Australian state and territory and New Zealand. NSB’s sales representatives take samples and sales materials into bookshops and sell directly to the booksellers.

Magabala Books services booksellers and businesses in the Kimberley through our Broome office. We supply to schools, arts/cultural centres, tourism outlets and government departments. Book sales made through Magabala Books’ website are processed from Broome.