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Reporting back on new directions in self-publishing: A summary of challenges, opportunities and resources

Editors Toronto paired with PWAC Toronto Chapter to present a panel on self-publishing. The following post is from the PWAC Toronto Chapter blog,  Networds. Thanks to editor Suzanne Bowness for giving BoldFace permission to share the post.

by Suzanne Bowness

PWAC Toronto chapter president Karen Luttrell introduces the panel

If you’re one of the unfortunate PWAC members who couldn’t make it to the self-publishing panel held on March 27, which was co-organized by PWAC Toronto Chapter and Editors Toronto, you’re in luck: I took notes for you. It’s not quite the same as being there, but here are a few tips and images to give you a flavour of the event.

If there were a quote to summarize the evening, perhaps it was one of the first to be projected on the big screen in the University of Toronto (U of T) lecture hall, where we all gathered:

“Self-publishing used to be a scar; now it’s a tattoo.”

That’s from Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine: One Boy’s Journey through Boot Camp to Manhood. I forgot to take a picture, but the quote still sticks in my mind days later.

Helpful slide of panellists’ names!

If the evening had a theme, it was how much has changed in the world of self-publishing, even in the last five years. Seriously, most panellists said those exact words or similar.

Hosted by the Creative Writing program at the School of Continuing Studies, U of T, the panel consisted of four industry pros, who all did a great job of dividing this big topic into digestible sections, providing a helpful mix of new information and personal anecdotes, which allowed their talks to flow together nicely. You can read the panellists’ biographies here, in our original post advertising the event. (more…)

Notes on New Directions in Self-Publishing

Editors Toronto paired with PWAC Toronto Chapter to present a panel on self-publishing. The following post is from freelance editor Michelle MacAlees’s blog Many thanks to Michelle for giving BoldFace permission to cross-post this post.

by Michelle MacAleese

“Self-publishing [used to be] a scar; now it’s a tattoo.”— Greg White

Last night [Tuesday, March 27, 2018]  four of Canada’s most savvy publishing professionals addressed the subject of new directions in self-publishing together with Editors Canada (Toronto branch)PWAC Toronto Chapter, and the U of T School of Continuing Education.

This morning I am reviewing my notes, and I share them here:

  • Many in the biz draw a distinction between self-published authors and hybrid-published authors; both are “independent,” but the self-published authors are a special breed, who understand art and business and (usually) gladly develop proficiency in all the technical and administrative details of the process.
  • Not surprisingly, options for authors continue to change rapidly. What worked best in 2011 is irrelevant today. Many quality companies offer publishing services and hybrid publishing deals. (Many companies will pretty much just steal your money. One must read up before signing up.)
  • The best publishing option for e-only genre fiction won’t be the same as for a debut hardcover business book. It’s a wide world of independent publishing.
  • Authors: If you don’t love technical things (formatting ebooks, working Amazon’s categories, tweaking descriptive copy), you probably won’t enjoy starting a publishing house of one.
  • Editors: Working with self-published authors is a specialty and those editors who are good at taking on that relationship and guiding the process are worth their weight in gold. (Isn’t it about time we begin to mentor each other in why this kind of author-editor relationship is unique, and how it borders on the agent role at times?)
  • Editors who already specialize in working with self-published authors: Let’s talk about how to partner with reputable publishing services companies as well as with other independent designers and book marketing professionals to launch great self-published books that sell!

Thanks to panelists Stephanie FyshMeghan BehseMark Leslie LefebvreNina Munteanu, and to my audience buddy Bronwyn Kienapple. Let’s keep sharing!

Editor for Life: Greg Ioannou, freelance editor, owner of Colborne Communications, and co-founder of PubLaunch.com and Iguana Books

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Greg Ioannou

Greg, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.

I started freelancing on September 6, 1977, though I’d done lots of writing and some volunteer editing for a couple of years before that. So not quite 40 years. My first paid editing gig was working on Coles Notes (I edited almost 200 of them), and from there I branched out into textbooks, dictionaries, and trade books. By 1982, I was working for a range of publishers, and also editing a section of Ontario’s provincial budget. I’ve always been a complete generalist. My all-time favourite customer was Cranium, the board game company. I worked on over 30 games for them.

In 1985, I agreed to share a small office with two friends, which ended my days as a lonely freelancer working from my spare bedroom. That became a company that was originally called The Editorial Centre and is now Colborne Communications.

Five of us founded Iguana Books in 1991 as a book packaging company. (We put out one book soon after we launched the company. It was someone else’s pet project—an academic book on a business subject—and I’ve never seen a copy of it.) In 2011 I converted Iguana to a hybrid publisher, serving self-publishing authors. Iguana has published about 70 books, many of which I’m intensely proud of.

Iguana publishes general trade books—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, kids’ books, whatever. I won’t publish a book unless it is at a fully professional standard. Our books are as well edited and designed as the books coming out of the major trade-publishing companies. As an editor, I’ve always been a complete generalist, and my publishing company is the same.

Iguana started crowdfunding its books in 2013, mostly using a New York-based website called Pubslush. By early 2015, a large portion of my income was coming through Pubslush, so when the company announced in August 2015 that it was going out of business, I sort of acquired the company. That deal fell apart seven weeks later. We’d been planning to rebrand the company as PubLaunch anyway, so that was an opportunity to program PubLaunch the way we’d wished that Pubslush had worked. (more…)

January speaker Q&A: Nina Munteanu, ecologist and author

Nina MunteanuOur first members’ meeting of the year for EAC’s Toronto branch is coming up soon, so we wanted to give you a taste of what to expect from this month’s speaker. Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories, and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Nina has been coaching writers through the process of successful publication for over a decade and gives workshops to writers on editing, marketing, and promotion.

In Nina’s presentation, “Keeping Up with the Changing Face of Publishing: What it Means for Freelance Editors,” you’ll learn about different forms of publishing (including self-publishing and indie publishing), publishing myths, where to find new editing opportunities, and how to market and promote yourself to writers who need your help.

Meeting details
January 28, 2014
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Room 318 (southwest corner of Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West)
7 PM: Open discussion session for new and prospective EAC members
7:30 PM: Information session and program (Nina Munteanu’s presentation)
9 PM: Mix-and-mingle over coffee, tea, and cake
Meetings are FREE for EAC members and students, and $10 for all other attendees.

Q&A conducted by Laura Godfrey

Why do you think self-publishing and indie publishing have grown more popular recently compared to larger, more traditional book publishers?

I think it’s because we’ve grown out of that constricted and limited model. The traditional model consisted of the following scenario: a reputable publishing house screened works by hopeful writers and determined what got published and how, based on the current market; books were typically sold to bookstores via a distributor; what the bookstore didn’t sell, it sent back to the publisher. Publishers relied on reviews from professional sites and traditional marketing to sell their top authors.

(more…)