“If it doesn’t make sense, it’s usually not true.” Words pronounced by the TV personality Judge Judy, who had an uncanny ability to spot bull from a mile away. Unfortunately for authors, a lot of things about today’s publishing industry make no sense, and yet are true. But if they remain true for now, they definitely can’t last. Authors can’t keep getting handed the short straw by publishers and distributors.
In 2016 we launched our self-publishing company BouquinBec, followed closely in 2017 by its anglophone counterpart CanamBooks, after realizing just how much needs to change about how we publish books. For starters:
- Authors need to be properly compensated for their work.
- And publishers cannot keep printing millions of books year after year only to have them end up at the pulp mill. Our planet has long since passed its ability to absorb such useless waste.
Especially when we consider that for over a decade now, digital printing technology has provided an economic way of printing short runs, right down to a single unit, without waste. As sales in brick-and-mortar bookstores continue to plummet and the online sale of books continues to rise, the need for printing massive amounts of books is less and less warranted. Connected to a print-on-demand system, online sale makes it possible to print books as they are needed.
As if that weren’t reason enough to sell books online, online sale also provides crucial resources to authors who want to better identify their readership (region, age, gender, consumer habits). Online sale platforms can provide authors with the information they need to properly assess their promotion and marketing efforts.
Only by rethinking the entire publishing chain, from the moment the manuscript leaves the author’s hands to the moment it lands in the reader’s lap, and by also making the best expertise and tools available to authors, can we help authors achieve a lasting independence.
After having studied the solutions offered by the big players in self-publishing, we quickly found that their models aren’t satisfactory either. While claiming to grant authors freedom and independence, these models actually perpetuate the skewed relationship between author and publisher, by forcing authors to accept package deals, lower-quality product and standardized templates.
Does independence simply mean to get your words out there, or does it go beyond that? We feel that you are only truly independent when you can publish your book your way. Those last two words are crucial.
Since its inception, CanamBooks has sought to provide a hub around which a community may grow to the benefit of the author, not the seller. In pursuit of this vision, we have developed a number of services that set us aside from most traditional self-publishing companies. We’ve created:
- many free guides, in English and French, covering all aspects of self-publishing from the basics all the way to specific topics like cover design, self-promotion and even the writing process, in order to provide authors with tools to achieve professional standards in their books.
- recurring events, such as our monthly 5@7 cocktails in Montreal which gather authors and publishing professionals together in an informal setting, and where authors can meet the people who make books for a living and learn from them.
- the very first e-commerce website solution geared to authors who want to sell their book online using a print-on-demand system that ties into a site that has been customized to reflect them and their work (the author’s website).
- the launch in 2017 of the BouquinBec Academy, which offers workshops and trainings to authors looking to go the extra mile, learn about self-publishing and how to succeed in their own projects.
We’ve been busy these past two years, and we’d like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to developing the best solutions for authors. We’re really glad with what we’ve accomplished so far, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels. Stay tuned in 2018 for brand new solutions and services coming your way!
What’s coming up?
Our strategy for 2018 will focus especially on harmonizing the various services we currently offer, while introducing innovations that align with our vision and mission.
Our mission continues to be to help authors publish professional-quality books. In 2018 we’ll be putting even more efforts into helping authors sell more books without increasing their financial risk. A tall order! But we’re feeling pretty confident. Meanwhile, author experience will keep serving as our guiding light.
Self-publishing continues to gather professional acumen and is progressively becoming the first choice of authors. It may be hard to see for now. As someone once said, “growing trees draw less attention than those we cut down.”
Week after week, one manuscript at a time, we notice that authors come to us with increasingly ambitious projects. Discreetly, without making a sound, self-publishing is seducing more and more authors, more and more of which are authors having already gone through a publishing house and now looking for a more meaningful experience.
We would like to thank all the authors who placed their trust in us in 2017. It’s thanks to you and in your name that we continue to grow, to strive and innovate.
In 2018, Canadian authors can count on CanamBooks to get the job done right.
The entire CanamBooks team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a new year that brings with it all the success you deserve!