Tag Archives: Canada

“How to Guerrilla Publish: or, The Basic Gist of It All”

By David Reynolds

Being an independent publisher means working with little-to-no budget, so exploring how to optimize low cost publishing options is par for the course. While Problematic Press is financially unable to publish everything that’s awesome, we’re not too concerned about creating competition, and so we’d like to encourage and enable other upstart literati to embrace guerrilla publishing. This brief guide will introduce the uninitiated to a basic publishing strategy to potentially reach a global audience, while emphasizing a Canadian context.

Welcome to guerrilla publishing in the digital age of globalization!

STEP 1 – Learn Your Rights and Responsibilities

Before you begin this guerrilla publishing journey, you should brush up on the rights and responsibilities of content creators. (And, acknowledge my disclaimer: I am no legal expert, nor am I a tax expert; you’ll be responsible for your own actions.) In general, be upfront and respectful with your collaborators. They have rights, too. And, consider the Canadian context of publishing. For instance, in Canada, copyrights are assumed upon creation of a work, meaning you needn’t register your copyright anywhere. However, it is up to the copyright holder to protect their own works, because no one else is looking out for it. Another Canadian consideration is that publishers are required to submit copies of their books to Library and Archives Canada, in what’s known as the legal deposit. These are a few things you should look into before you begin publishing. Remember, self-publishing your work usually means many more hands-on, D.I.Y tasks are in your future.

STEP 2 – Develop Your Content

The next thing you’ll need is material (it’s also really the first thing you need, but we won’t debate the semantics here). If your plan is to publish a book, then that means you need a manuscript. Whatever genre you’re working in, your manuscript should be thoroughly edited, as every error present is the bane of your credibility. Beyond your flawless manuscript, you’ll need front matter, a bio, ad copy, a table of contents, and so on. Be sure to get on top of that, too. You’ll also need a book cover, which likely means artwork. Handle whatever you’re competent at on your own to save costs, or you could recruit assistance from your friends or professionals. Once you’ve got all the bits and pieces together to make a finished product, then you can begin formatting it all to fit the criteria of our online printers.

STEP 3 – Formatting Content for Online Printers

There is a whole, humongous plethora of self-publishing and e-publishing services available online, and you can explore as many options as you like, but we’ll suggest the following because they offer international distribution for zero cost. That’s nigh unbeatable.

Three services that cover most of the bases are CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Smashwords. CreateSpace provides you with a trade paperback print copy of your manuscript, and they offer streamlined distribution through Amazon’s many online sites. You can upload and distribute your book with them for potentially zero cost. Kindle Direct Publishing is great for linking the ebook to the print edition, but they only produce ebooks in Kindle format. Nevertheless, they, too, provide this distribution at no immediate cost to the publisher. Besides those two Amazon companies, it’s also a good idea to use Smashwords to reach readers on different devices and through different online retailers. Again, Smashwords allows publishers to upload and distribute content at no immediate cost. The companies earn their portion of the revenue as sales accrue, which is why they don’t charge fees upfront like some vanity publishers do.

So, you’ll have to review the content and format guidelines for CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Smashwords. This means going back to format your files to meet their requirements. This part can be a bit tedious, but the work is worth it once your book is on that virtual shelf! The good news is if you can create a .doc and a .pdf of your book, then you can get it out there using these online companies.

As for the Canadian context, there are a few things to consider. For one, Canadians can utilize these American printing and distribution services, but unless you file all the proper tax documents then they’ll withhold 30% of your royalties. This means you’ll need to apply for a tax number with the IRS before you can take advantage of trade treaties between our countries which remove that withholding. It may be easier to work with a Canadian company, like Blurb, because they can distribute through Amazon as well, but this tax situation shouldn’t arise since they’re based within Canada. Secondly, Canadians can acquire ISBNs for free from the government by registering titles through the Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS).

Once the files are finalized, complete the submission process with each distributor, inputting your ISBN, setting price points, distribution channels, and so on. Then, with just a few clicks, your book will be available online for all of your eager readers!

STEP 4 – The Publishing End Game: Promoting Your Book

Once your book has been published, you’ve entered the end game. Now, you need to spread the word about your new book. There are many ways you could do that, ranging from paid advertisements to blog posts and social media. Maybe consider having a book launch, doing public readings, giving interviews, or creating a video log. If you have some promotional copies, you might send some to reviewers or hold a giveaway. If your finances are limited or non-existent, then consider devoting some time to blogging and social media, which only cost your time and effort. At this stage of the guerrilla publishing experience, putting in so much of your time and effort should be a given.

STEP 5 – Repeat, and Enjoy

Repeat, and enjoy!

Otherwise, if this all seems like too much of a mess, then you should recall I founded this publishing house called Problematic Press. This is exactly what the name implies.

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David Reynolds studied at Memorial University where he completed his BA in Philosophy and English Language and Literature in 2006 in addition to completing his MPhil in Humanities in 2008. His graduate research focused on the cultural significance of superhero narratives and culminated in his dissertation Superheroes: An Analysis of Popular Culture’s Modern Myths. Presently, he enjoys teaching English at Memorial University while fumbling about as a publisher with Problematic Press.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Appearance at SFotR8

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Problematic Press Appearances at Sci-Fi on the Rock 8

Problematic Press is pleased to announce that David Reynolds and Myles Reichel will be appearing at Sci-Fi on the Rock 8 at the Holiday Inn throughout the convention, from May 23rd-25th! The writer and illustrator of The True Story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff: The Troll’s Side of the Story will be at the Problematic Press table, found along Diagon Alley. They’re totally stoked about this book, and they’d love to hear from you and sign your copy!

This book and our others will be available for purchase at SFotR8, too, so you can pick up whichever titles tickle your fancy! We have a variety of titles in different genres. Besides this reinterpretation of a classic fairytale we have books that dabble with superhero scholarship, action-dystopia, Sterne scholarship, classic short fiction, early Canadian science fiction, early Newfoundland poetry, and more! See below for book descriptions and pricing.

The Troll's Side of the Story

The True Story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff: The Troll’s Side of the Story was written by David Reynolds when he was about 9-11 years old. It relates the young author’s reinterpretation of the classic Norwegian fairytale, considering how the troll might have seen things differently.

Subtle and charming, bright and playful, The True Story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff: The Troll’s Side of the Story reimagines the classic tale to reflect on the perspective of the kind troll who falls prey to the prejudice of the eldest goat Gruff. Illustrations by Myles Reichel give this tale life. Plus, this edition also includes Sir George Webbe Dasent‘s translation of the classic folktale. This book is best suited for adults reading to young children, for early readers, and for all of us children-at-heart.

Copies of this book can be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $15CAN.

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It’s been more than 125 years since A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder was first published, and now Problematic Press is pleased to present this annotated edition of James De Mille‘s classic masterpiece. This book is now available in print and Kindle editions!

While playing a silly game, four bored yachtsmen find a mysterious copper cylinder bobbing along the sea. They soon discover the briny cylinder contains a massive script, a journal of sorts, detailing the adventures of Adam More, a sailor lost at sea. Examining the script reveals More’s incredible story of drifting across the ocean, sailing to lost lands, encountering giant beasts, and meeting truly peculiar people. This satirical tale is sure to entertain!

De Mille was a Canadian scholar and author. He pioneered Canadian science fiction and fantasy with his masterpiece, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder. De Mille had many lofty goals for his fantastic satire, and he struggled to accommodate all of them, leaving the denouement somewhat abrupt in his ultimate manuscript. Nevertheless, what remains is a thought-provoking tale of absurd wonder that seeks to challenge our most deeply held values. The story was first published posthumously as a serial by Harper’s Weekly in 1888, eight years after the author’s death.

The Problematic Press edition of James De Mille’s A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder features a Foreword and Annotations by David Reynolds. Reynolds briefly introduces the author and the novel while his end notes reflect on interesting elements of the text and reference scholarly works.

De Mille’s satirical tale of wonder has entertained readers for many years, yet the work has remained largely overlooked. For that very reason, Problematic Press is tremendously excited to add this work to our growing collection of titles!

Copies of this book can be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $18CAN.

Cavern: City in the Dark - Front Cover

Nicholas Morine’s Cavern: City in the Dark is now available in print and Kindle editions!

Cavern: City in the Dark is a dystopian adventure set on a ruined Earth.

Deep beneath the scarred and scorched surface of the Earth, the last of us remain.

The Cavern is deep, dark, and damp. The city is busy, expansive, industrious. Technology has been salvaged, scavenged from the surface, and repurposed to a new fashion. Survival comes in the form of the shunt, drilled deep into the skull. A device that takes all the pain away, and lays it on the shoulders of one poor soul.

The Sufferer. An old man, dying beneath the tree of tears. And when his heart breaks, it will spell doom for us all.

Nicholas Morine was born and raised in Gaspereau, Nova Scotia. Words are his livelihood. He has written many words on a range of subjects, from tech to fashion. Having returned to Nova Scotia, he continues to write non-fiction and fiction. Montag Press published his debut novel, Punish the Wicked: A Dystopian Horror. Problematic Press is proud to present Cavern: City in the Dark, his second novel.

Copies can be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $15CAN.

Narrative, Nature, and the Cock and Bull Story - Front Cover

Narrative, Nature, and the ‘Cock’ and ‘Bull’ Story: The Lockean Tristram Shandy and the Modern Novel is based on Tiller’s research as a graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her studies focused on Laurence Sterne‘s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760). Sterne’s novel has tremendous comedic appeal, but it is also noteworthy because Shandy narrates the tale as a string of digressions and tangents. This means Sterne’s novel is one of the first English novels to stray from Aristotle‘s classical literary guidelines as presented in his Poetics. In Narrative, Nature, and the ‘Cock’ and ‘Bull’ Story, Tiller applies concepts from John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding to explore how such deviations lead Tristram, in the series of events stemming from his birth, to a more precise imitation of nature than strict adherence to Aristotle’s guidelines could have procured.

Amanda Tiller is the Humanities Collections Development Librarian at the Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s. Before completing her Master of Library and Information Science at The University of Western Ontario, she completed her Master of Arts in English Language and Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Copies can be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $10CAN.

Vester Vade Mecum - Front Cover Mock-Up

Vester Vade Mecum: A Collection of Short Fiction is a collection to delight educators and pupils alike. It contains a variety of important short works of English literature, featuring authors such as Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, Pauline Hopkins, Stephen Leacock, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and others. Edited by David Reynolds, the text contains contextual information about each author and story as well as questions to provoke critical reflection.

Vester Vade Mecum is a Latin phrase that means “you go with me.” As the title of this textbook, that phrase carries multiple meanings. It indicates that this is a manual that mindful students will carry with them in their studies. In relation to the enduring nature of great stories, the title alludes that these are tales we often recall in our own reflections. In relation to the nature of storytelling, it suggests how the author leads the reader along their journey.

Copies can be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $30CAN.

Quodlibets - Front Cover

Robert Hayman’s Quodlibets, Lately Come over from New Britaniola, Old Newfoundland is a collection of witty, poetic verses that were penned while he served as governor in colonial Harbour Grace, Newfoundland between 1618 and 1628. His is likely the first English poetry penned in North America.

And, his work is quite impressive. Containing original poetry as well as his translations of pieces by John Owen and Francois Rabelais, Quodlibets reflects on thieves and knaves, good wives and whores, as well as the untamed beauty of Newfoundland. Hayman’s poetry exposes his love for Newfoundland, inviting the adventurous and hopeful to settle this rock. The language for this edition has been updated by David Reynolds to facilitate reading for modern audiences yet preserve the poetic voice of the author.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $10CAN.

Fawning, Fear and Frustration - Cover

Fawning, Fear, and Frustration: A Collection of Teenage Poetry from the 90s collects thirty six poems by a young David Reynolds. It features a range of poetry that considers love, death and confusion in addition to a number of matters that lay somewhere in between.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $8CAN.

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Superheroes: An Analysis of Popular Culture’s Modern Myths by David Reynolds is a semiotic and cultural anthropological interrogation of popular North American superhero narratives, such as those of Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman, that provides insight into how media’s messages influence the culture’s ethical values. Since emerging in the late 1930s, the superhero has become a pervasive figure in North American popular culture. As an extension of ideas presented by Friedrich Nietzsche, Joseph Campbell, and Umberto Eco, this dissertation argues that superhero tales must be regarded as modern mythology. It follows that people observe and learn social norms of justice from such narratives, since these ideals are intrinsic to the tales. In investigating the superhero’s role as a contemporary figure of myth, this project focuses primarily on three areas: an account of the history of the superhero from 1938 to present; an examination of the cultural functions of contemporary superhero narratives; and, an interrogation of vigilantism, responsibility, and justice in these narratives and how those concerns further relate to ideologies and practices in North American culture.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Problematic Press table at SFotR8 for $10CAN.

If you can’t make it out to SFotR8, don’t worry – copies can also be purchased online from the Problematic Press Shops (CAN and US). Additionally, wholesale purchases of Problematic Press titles can be made through CreateSpace Direct, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor. Feel free to contact us if you have difficulty ordering (send email to problematicpress@gmail.com).

We’ll be involved with some other attractions throughout the convention, as well. Our own David Reynolds will be delivering a short presentation 11:30am on Sunday, May 25 titled Superman, Batman, and War-Time Propaganda as part of the Warp-Speed Workshops series. On top of that, Myles Reichel will be attending the video screening of Uneeda‘s music video, “Momentum.” You can even pick up a Ninja Story t-shirt from the Problematic Press table!

While you’re attending the convention, be sure to take in all of the other great attractions! There are special guests, film screenings, workshops, and more to entertain the whole family!

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Direct all media inquiries to problematicpress@gmail.com. Thank you.

ABOUT PROBLEMATIC PRESS

Problematic Press is a small, independent book publishing endeavour founded by David Reynolds and based in St. John’s, NL.  Problematic Press has a mission with a broad scope, aiming to entertain and educate readers of all ages.  Perhaps that’s problematic.  Problems make us think. 

Regardless, Problematic Press will produce original works as well as popular classics, with an emphasis on texts that challenge readers’ notions and the status quo.  Special attention is given to Newfoundland literature, Canadian literature, and other imaginative works from such genres as speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, pulp fiction, non-fiction, comics, and children’s books.  Problematic Press will also release selected anthologies of poetry and short fiction, some of which will be formatted as textbooks suitable for high school and post-secondary education.

The attention span of the collective consciousness is too short.  Problematic Press aims to challenge readers while revitalizing interest in important narratives from the past that remain relevant today.

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