‘Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published.’— Julie Watson, author
The association says it needs a venue to showcase the booming self-publishing industry.
“I would say it’s tripled, quadrupled,” said author Julie Watson, who organized the event.
“It used to be that self-publishing was a very expensive venture. It’s not anymore.”
Rebecca Black tried for years to find a publisher but instead of giving up, like many people she decided to take a different route — doing it all on her own. Publishing 250 copies of a book costs Black about $1,500.
“It’s a great way of getting your work out there, sharing what you’ve written with the world, and experiencing that rush of getting your first book in print, without having to worry about waiting to be noticed by a big publisher,” she said.
Island writers are following a much larger trend when it comes to self-publishing. New technology has made self-publishing easier than ever, with software that allows you to lay out books, and companies that print a much better product. These changes have prompted writers around the world to go it alone, and some are having great success in bypassing a publisher.
“Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published. They just don’t broadcast the fact that they’re self-published,” said Watson.
Watson noted Jean Paré, author of the popular Company’s Coming cookbooks, started as a self-publisher, selling out of the back of her car.
Laurie Brinklow of Charlottetown’s Acorn Press said while it is getting easier to self-publish, it is getting harder to find a publisher willing to take on new authors, partly due to funding restrictions. Brinklow said the Canada Council for the Arts, which funds publishers like Acorn Press, is looking for very specific content.
“They’re a jury process, so they look at my books carefully every year and say, ‘Well, this contributes to Canadian culture, and this doesn’t.’ And if it isn’t then the money isn’t there,” she said.
That can leave authors like Black, who writes romance novels, on her own.
As in any business, marketing is key to success. Finding a space on bookstore shelves is not a challenge in Charlottetown — two large stores dedicate space to local offerings — but selling means doing more than just making the book available. Watson hopes the book fair will give help give local, self-published authors a higher profile.