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Writing. Rewriting. The editor. The agent. The publisher. The road tour. Aftermath revelations. 

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Season Three: First aired May - July 2007
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 Diane Morriss: "I think there's far too many books being published, and publishers aren't going behind their books. Out with the old, in with
the new. That's not how I like to do business. "
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Show #18 - Diane Morriss, publisher

Diane Morriss is the publisher at Sono Nis Press, in Winlaw, a small press that has been publishing books for 39 years. Well-regarded for their mainstay transportation books - railway, aviation and nautical - Sono Nis continues to evolve and now has a small line of children's books, garnering awards. A fact of publishing: "Most people don't know, but bookstores have up to a year to return books to a publisher, so we never know what the bottom line is for a book because a sale isn't really a sale."

Topics: the chain bookstore (Chapters/Indigo) from the publisher's point of view, independent bookstores, Otter Books, the publishing year, book printing and distribution; the cost of mailing books; the effect on Sono Nis when General Distributing folded & what they did to recover.

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Info for Show #18: "The demise of General Distribution Services (GDS) in 2002 had a profoundly negative impact on the book publishing companies that it distributed. Many book publishers, in particular smaller literary presses, are still recovering from the financial impact of that bankruptcy, are still paying off the debts incurred when they did not receive payment for books sold through GDS or did not get all of their unsold books back from the distributor."
This information came from a Canada Council report on publishing. To find out more, go to the Canada Council website
Once there, select Writing and Publishing in the sidebar. Scroll to the bottom of the page. If you're a writer, you should read this.

 

made to measure
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Morty Mint: "The key to the ultimate success of a book is not that it's published."
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Show #19 - Morty Mint, literary agent

 

Morty Mint distributes Ripleys and founded Mint Publishers Group. Living in Nelson part-time, he has begun representing local writers, including Anne DeGrace (Show #16), and has generously contributed information and expertise to the community through participating in various Oxygen Arts projects and other book events. He was the president of Penguin USA & Penguin Canada. A quote from the show: "Publishers in Canada are overwhelmed with manuscripts. The editors of these houses don't have time to edit books."

Topics: Canada Council publishers' grants, book pricing, The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) report on writers' satisfaction with publishers; Scott MacDonald's article What authors need to know, Quill & Quire, March 2007; publishing in Australia; word-of-mouth as the world's best seller of books; The Globe & Mail; The New York Times Sunday Book Review; why not to set your novel in B.C. or Newfoundland; the author as brand.

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Info for show #19: Canada Council grants to publishers are tied to what they publish, not what they market. Poor marketing of their books causes writers the most dissatisfaction with their publishers, according to a recent poll taken by The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC). The poll consisted of 62 questions to elicit responses in these six categories: Contract; Editing; Design; Marketing; Payment; Treatment. Diane Morriss in Show #18 talked about book marketing. Tom Wayman, Show #4, had a rant on this very issue. Hear Tom Wayman's "publisher's rant", first half of Tom Wayman's show.

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Pauline Holdstock: "I do like getting into a new setting that I know nothing about."
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Show #20 - Pauline Holdstock, fiction writer

Author of five fiction books and published internationally, is set in Florence during the Renaissance, China during the Boxer Rebellion, Canada during the smallpox epidemic. How does she do it and why? A quote from the show: "I can't write in a linear way. I have to write according to the kind of mood that particular day and where I want to go that particular day in my imagination." She reads from her novel Beyond Measure.

Topics: Banff Wired Writing Studio, creating authentic-feeling historical settings, Canada's interlibrary loan service, language rhythm, setting parameters to work within, dealing with the ego.

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beyond measure
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Vivien Bowers, on writing for children: "One of the things I have had to learn is how to write visually and do things with the illustrations that
work far better than writing would."
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Show #21 - Vivien Bowers, freelancer

A freelance writer for more than twenty years, Vivien Bowers writes elementary and secondary school material, as well as non-fiction books and magazine articles for children and adults. Wow Canada, a book based on her family's travels, has sold over 100,000 copies. About her book In the Path of an Avalanche she wrote in an email: "You do get more respect when you write an adult book. Less money, but more respect." About being a freelancer: "I think guts is a big part of it." Vivien Bowers has won the Science In Society Journalism Award in the Childrens Book category for Crazy About Canada. For more info go to Canadian Science Writers.

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wow canada
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Terence Young: "A strategy for a short story opening is to draw the reader into a situation, a microscopic situation in which there's conflict."
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Show #22 - Terence Young, poet and fiction writer

About writing short stories: "To me, the short story is the poem of fiction." His poetry and prose have been widely nominated, including the recent BC Book Prize nomination for his poetry collection Moving Day. He reads from his collection of stories Rhymes with Useless, nominated for the Danuta Gleed Award, and talks about the international success of The Claremont Review, a journal for writers aged 13-19 that he co-founded. Orca Book Publishers is bringing out the best of The Claremont Review this fall.

Topics: defeating the internal critic; where inspiration comes from; The Claremont Review; the value of imitating favourite writers; American writer Joy Williams; writing about what you don't know; the BC Book Prize party; William Deverell, crime writer & host of the BC Book Prizes; story beginnings; dialogue; the connection between AbeBooks.com and The Claremont Review. To learn more about Orca Book Publishers, Victoria, go to Outstanding books for young people. To learn more about one of Canada's most respected poets, go to P.K. Page. Learn more about poet Patricia Young.

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rhymes with
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 Lynne Van Luven: "If you care about writing and stories and capturing life in literature, you want to help people coming along."
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Show #23 - Lynne Van Luven, creative non-fiction

photo: Melanie Seibert Associate professor at the University of Victoria, teaching creative non-fiction, Lynne Van Luven is also an editor and anthologist. Her latest project was Nobody's Mother: Life without kids, so popular it was nominated for the B.C. Booksellers' Choice Award, about which she says, "The fun was plotting it out, making a proposal that would get someone's attention." She started in journalism, has worked as a books editor, commentator, critic for CBC radio.

Topics: the art and craft of writing creative non-fiction (also called literary journalism), the role of the editor, what makes a memoir work, the generic review, literature as product, following through on ideas for books, writing proposals, payment for book reviews, mistakes writers make, Myrnah Kostash, Truman Capote, Leon Rooke, the role of one of Canada's most prestigious literary journals The Malahat Review in the development of writers, Rita Moir, Show #6, author of The Windshift Line and Buffalo Jump,) Rita Moir's show.

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nobody
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Bill Schermbrucker: "My aim in reviewing a book is to tell a specific audience of the publication medium I am reviewing for whether or not the
book will interest them, in my opinion."
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Show #24 - Bill Schermbrucker, fiction writer, awards jurist

Fiction writer and consummate book reviewer Bill Schermbrucker was born in Kenya and is the winner of an Ethel Wilson Fiction Award here in B.C. Frequent jurist - Canada Council grants to artists and writers and this year's B.C. Book Prizes fiction jurist - he has fascinating information about how juries are selected and prizes decided. Bill Schermbrucker will run a Memoir Writing workshop in Banff in 2008.

Topics: jurying for book awards and prizes; Canada Council & BC grants to artists and writers; the process of reviewing books versus jurying them; the number of book awards in Canada; about Canadian writer Matt Cohen, obituary remarks by Margaret Atwood in Maclean's, through The Canadian Encyclopedia Matt Cohen; writing for Event, the literary magazine, published from Douglas College, New Westminster; resource site about how to write a thoughtful book review Dalhousie University Libraries. (The "how to" fiction reviewing starts on the second page).

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motortherapy
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"If I'm having a bad poetry day, I can just pop into the novel because they are so different and don't distract from one another."
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Show #25 - Andrea MacPherson, novelist & poet

Andrea MacPherson has written four books: two novels, When She Was Electric (Raincoast, 2003) and Beyond the Blue (Random House, 2007) and two poetry collections, Natural Disasters (Palimpsest Press, 2007) and Away (Signature Editions, 2008). When She Was Electric was listed No. 6 on CBC Canada Reads: People's Choice. She is the reviews editor for Event, the literary magazine and teaches creative writing and English with the University College of the Fraser Valley and Douglas College.

Topics: inspiration from ancestors; character voice; the role of the manuscript editor & the lightbulb moment that may have saved the book; adding layers and complexity to characters; Quill & Quire, Canada's magazine of book news and reviews.

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beyond
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