As Canada surpassed the 35 million mark in its population growth in 2013, there is one very surprising statistic that might raise the eyebrows of some of our readers. Compared to the 20,000 to 30,000 books that traditional publishers in Canada roll out each year, the number of titles that were self-published last year runs into the hundreds of thousandsi.
Now that should definitely make readers sit up and take note!
THE COMPETITIVE SELF-PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
Self-published authors are definitely on the rise, and from the looks of it, they are gradually chipping away at the market share of traditional publishers. Look at where readers are finding self-published titles:
a) In 2013, Kobo had around 250,000 self-published titles on its siteii. According to Kobo’s own statistics, that figure was just a quarter (around 62,500) a year earlier
b) To put things in perspective, Random House, who is the gorilla of traditional publishing in Canada, earns from all of its weekly sales what Kobo earns from just 10% of its weekly self-publishing sales!
c) Another proponent of the self published Canadian author, Kindle, reported that 14 of its self-published titles topped the 1 million copies record in 2013. A year earlier, that number was just 2 titles!
This phenomenon called “self publishing” has literally gone viral over the last few years in Canada. How much has it changed the Canadian publishing landscape? Enough so that the Writers’ Union of Canada has felt the need to poll its membershipiii on whether to admit self published authors into their ranks.
A WEALTH OF SUPPORT
Self published Canadian authors aren’t alone in making it in the highly competitive book publishing industry. There’s lots of support out there for those that want it:
a) We earlier mentioned the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC). As of June 2013, self-published authors are now eligible to become members of this all-important literary union. Self publishing authors will find a wealth of resources on their website
b) The Association For Art And Social Change (AASC) is yet another stalwart when it comes to pushing forward the self-publication agenda in Canada
c) And when Canadian self-published authors are in need for some recognition and reward, both these organizations are at the forefront of doing just that. As a matter of fact, the AASC will be announcing its 2014 People’s Choice Awards for the best self-published books in various categories shortly (Nov 13-16)
d) For Canadian self-published authors that want to network, meet other self-publishers and promote their own works, the Toronto International Book Fair is a melting pot for doing just that. Scheduled to run from Nov 13th to 16th this year, this should be THE PREMIER EVENT on the calendars of every self published Canadian author
Making the leap into self publishing isn’t easy, especially in these uncertain times. But if you are serious about entering the arena, you’ll see you have lots of supporters. From commercial book formatting and eBook production companies, to not-for-profit unions and associations; there’s a wealth of support for you out there!
GOING IT ALONE
Canadians holding writing aspirations need not fear stepping into the bold new world of self publishing. You’ll find that you are in great company with fellow Canadian best-selling self-published legends like David Chilton (The Wealthy Barber-1989) and Janet and Greta Podleski (The Looneyspoons cookbook-1996). Other Canadian authors like:
a) Elaine Cougler (The Loyalist’s Wife)
b) Liliana Daminato (Brush Before Brain)
c) Robert Muir (The Dive)
d) Jason Savedoff (Ad Lucem: The Art of a Felon)
e) Andy Stanleigh (Hobson’s Gate: Trauma)
f) Heather Wardell (Everybody’s Got a Story)
could also soon be joining that elite group shortly, if they win the AASC 2014 People’s Choice Awards!
Obviously, book formatting will be a key element of success. That’s where The Fast Fingers, with many years of book formatting and illustration experience, can support Canadian authors make the most of their self-publishing experience.
i Mike O’Connor, publisher of Insomniac Press and instructor at Toronto’s York University
ii Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo