Making authors' dreams come true

FAMILY histories, memoirs, novels, historical texts – graphic artist Jeannette Gilligan, of Goonellabah, has seen it all, and helped get it into print.

Without her services many locals would never see their cherished memories and incredible stories told.

Since she moved to the area from Sydney eight years ago, Ms Gilligan has been the link between those who want to publish a book but could never afford to do hundreds of copies and the dream of seeing something precious in print.

All of her clients, from Bonalbo School, Lismore High and Richmond River Historical Society, to families are self-published.

While their stories may not be of interest to a mass market publisher, they are vitally important to those who are nearest and dearest.

“With digital printing now, people can get 25 copies of something that they can give to family members,” said Ms Gilligan, who designs and copy edits around 20 books a year.

“Self-publishing used to have many negative connotations but that's no longer the case,” she said.

“Because of changes to the marketing strategies of mainstream publishing houses and developments in design and printing technology, self-publishing is now viewed as a respectable and affordable way for authors to showcase their work.”

Ms Gilligan said that history was littered with outstanding authors who self-published including George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allen Poe and Leo Tolstoy.

More recently, you can add thriller writer Stephen King, now a worldwide, best-selling author.

“And you've all heard of our own Matthew Reilly, whose first novel, Contest, was rejected by every major publisher in Sydney in 1994,” said Ms Gilligan. “Undaunted, he borrowed money from his family and self-published.”

A success story for Ms Gilligan and the author John Barnes was So I Fear Nothing: The Story of Paddy Budgen.

“It recently sold out,” she said.

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