Bestselling author signs with small publisher

Last week I chatted with best selling children’s author, Nicky Johnston about her writing journey, and the inspiration behind her third book, Actually I Can.

It is an inspiring story and I thought you might like to find out how she met her publisher, Rough Draft Publishing. The following has been provided via Rough Draft’s recent media release:-


Changes in the book industry continue to have a ripple effect on the publishing landscape. Large publishers are placing increasing demands on their authors which is seeing more and more choose to self-publish or sign with smaller publishers that will give them the support they want and need.

After selling 11,000 copies of her first two books, Nicky Johnston decided that she’d like some assistance with her third book, Actually I Can …

She met Michael Hanrahan – who had recently started Rough Draft – at the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2012.

‘I wrote and self-published my first book Go Away Mr Worrythoughts to help my oldest son when he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at a young age. I couldn’t find any books to help him, so I decided to write one myself! Self-publishing was a learning experience,’ said Nicky. ‘It was such a success I wrote a second book, Happythoughts are Everywhere…

However, self-publishing is very demanding, so I started to think about going with a publisher for my third book.’

Nicky had discussed her first two books with some larger publishers and wasn’t happy with their suggestions, but she knew as soon as she started discussing her next project with Michael that they had similar ideas. Nicky and Michael came to an agreement for Rough Draft to publish Actually I Can …, Rough Draft’s fourth book. Nicky Johnston press release pic

‘Rough Draft is going to involve me in all the major decisions about my book, which is what I wanted. This is something that wouldn’t have happened at a larger company,’ said Nicky. ‘It’s also very important to me that I do the illustrations myself, which Michael was more than happy for me to do.’

‘I met lots of great authors at the Emerging Writers’ Festival,’ said Michael, ‘I was most impressed with Nicky and her books. I told her on the spot to give me a call if she was interested in working with a publisher.

‘I’m speaking to increasing numbers of authors who are choosing to self-publish or go with a smaller publisher. The changes in the book industry in recent years mean small publishers can really compete with the bigger houses. We don’t have the same resources, but we offer a much closer working relationship with authors and this is what attracts them. I’ve worked for a large publisher and you simply don’t have the time to do this. I was managing 50 or 60 books a year!’


Actually I Can … was released in the first week of August 2013.

More information about Nicky and her books at:
More information about Rough Draft Publishing at:

About Helen Ross

Welcome to my creative world. I have many passions; some of which I write about in my blog posts. I have a quirky sense of humour, and dance to the beat of my own drum. Thanks for dropping by and hope you visit again soon. I always have tea, coffee, wine and cake.
This entry was posted in All my posts, Australian children's books, Australian children's picture books, book promotion, book publishing, children's picture books, Helen Ross writes, kit lit, Parent category, Publishing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bestselling author signs with small publisher

  1. those books sound terrific – it is good to have a lot of control over the end product 🙂

    • Helen Ross says:

      Hi Gabrielle. Yes, it is good to find a publisher that you can develop a good relationship with, and be able to have some input with the production and marketing side.

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