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Writers with disabilities: how to obtain NDIS funding to meet your writing/self-publishing goals

In Australia, writers with disabilities who have NDIS funding are able to  apply for funds to work with a service provider to achieve their goals.

Hiring an editor to edit your manuscript or coach you in writing or self-editing

Is your goal to improve your writing, learn to self-edit, and/or self-publish your manuscript (MS)? If so, you can use your NDIS funds to hire a suitably qualified editor* to:

  • teach you how to improve your writing and self-edit your manuscript
  • assist and guide you in self-editing your manuscript
  • give you coaching in writing or self-editing, while working on your manuscript
  • provide you with a manuscript assessment, structural review or structural edit of your manuscript
  • copy edit your manuscript, ready for the design stage.

* a ‘suitably qualified editor means and editor (a) experienced/qualified in the genre of your book (e.g. memoir, fantasy novel, youth fiction), and (b) who is a  professional member of IPEd. Go to Choosing the best editor for your project.

Hiring an editor or life story writer to help you write/edit your memoir

Other assistance an editor or life story writer can give a writer, or storyteller, includes the following options. If any of these are aligned with your NDIS core goals, you will be able to apply to use your NDIS funding for them.

  • If you are better at telling your story, than writing your story, a life story writer can sit with you and type (or record) your story, as you speak, and then write it up for you into a first draft manuscript. This would then need to be edited.
  • If you have written your memoir but it needs lots of work, a life story writer or editor can show you where the ‘gaps’ are in your manuscript, and either write in the extra information needed for you in your own voice/spoken words, or give you advice about how to write in the additional information.
  • A life stories writer with suitable experience can also coach you in writing.
  • Self-publishing services: see below.

Hiring an editor, designer or self-publishing services provider

If you are a writer with NDIS funding, and your goal is to self-publish your book, your NDIS funds can also potentially be used to pay a self-publishing services provider (including editing, design and self-publishing assistance) to:

  • project manage the production of your self-published book (self-published under your name, with the copyright owned by you)
  • edit and design your manuscript (inside pages and cover)
  • obtain printer quotes and/or e-publishing quotes, for you to consider (or if you wish, make recommendations about which printer/e-publisher is best)
  • obtain ISBN, bar codes and other requirements for you
  • make sure that your book does not breach copyright or other legislation
  • proofread the designed manuscript, and the printer’s ‘final proof’
  • coordinate the printer to print and deliver your books, and/or coordinate e-publication of your book.

Note: To apply to access their NDIS funds, the writer with disabilities (or their agent) needs to ask the editor, life stories writer or self-publishing services provider to submit a quote/invoice to them. This must be clearly aligned to the writer’s NDIS core goals. The quote/invoice is submitted to the writer (or their agent) and they then submit their application to NDIS for approval. As long as the requested services will help the writer achieve their NDIS core goals, they should be successful in using their NDIS funding for those services.


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