Posted by: Natalie Hatch | May 7, 2011

Mystery of Nida Valley by Elaine Outson

Elaine Ouston is a debut author of a fabulous novel which combines dinosaurs, magical powers and the irascibility of kids who won’t give up no matter what. Mystery of Nida Valley has it’s own website where kids can win prizes including a $300 eBook reader. (I think I’m going to enter a few times! Want me one of those ebook readers for sure). You can access the site HERE
Here’s the book blurb:
When Meg Sealy woke that fateful morning, she had no idea that by day’s end the life that she had known would be gone forever…
While saving her best friend Amanda, fourteen year old Meg Sealy and her older cousin Jaiden stumble upon a secret valley where time stands still. The three friends are thrust into a dangerous world of magic, time travel, and creatures they believed extinct. Here they learn that it is their destiny to use their new magic skills to join the fight to save the valley from an evil break-away order, bent on exploitation.
Follow their journey as undercover villains threaten Meg’s life, and they fight to save the animals from extinction.
Elaine has created a great start to what promises to be a fantastic series set in Queensland. She has used her knowledge of paleontology to create a great paced read. It felt similar to Richard Newsome’s “Billionaire’s Curse” and will be a hit with kids 9 and older. I loved the setting, the use of good science mixed with magic (can’t get enough of magic really can we?) and the genuine ‘healthy’ storyline – there’s good guys/bad guys without too much angst or misery, and the book rockets along dragging you through the Valley and beyond. Oh and did I mention dinosaurs? Yeah, them too!
I was lucky enough to get hold of Elaine and ask her about her journey to self-publishing, and after a bit of arm twisting she shared this gem with me. Take it away Elaine!
On the subject of self-publishing: A couple of years back, as test of the worth of independent publishing, I went to CreateSpace, a publishing arm of Amazon. I published the first animal book, Lost in a Strange Land with them. The result was not good, but that was my fault. I did no promotion for it at all. I decided then that self-publishing was not the way to go, but since then many things have changed. Independently published books have become more widely accepted. A couple of distributors will now represent them; depending on their quality and worth of course. With this avenue opened, it is not then much different to being published by a recognised publishing house. It is mostly up to the author to arrange their publicity, book signings etc anyway, so it is business as usual.
I also looked into partner publishing, but their distribution system was not good enough to warrant the upfront cost and the commission. For the same upfront money, I could hire an editor and print my book. Having a distributor is an advantage for getting the widest coverage. However, for anything I sell through the distributor, I will not receive any more money than I would if I went through a publishing house – less than 10% of the retail price. I will make more on anything I sell through my website but I won’t reach as many people. I used Publicious on the Gold Coast to set up and distribute my eBook to America and Britain and they brokered the printing for me. My background in marketing is a huge bonus to me. I sat back, looked at the situation, and said, “How would I approach this if a client came to me to help market their book?” I then set up the marketing plan as I would for a client. How successful this will be is still to be proven, but if I fail, it will be my fault. And I will accept full responsibility for that.
Thanks Elaine. Did I mention that Elaine is also a freelance editor and a graphic designer? The first chapter of The Mystery of Nida Valley is available HERE. You can purchase the book as an eBook or printed copy through this LINK.


  1. Thank you Natalie, for the great review and links.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: