Tag Archives: publishing

Reading, Writing, & Publishing Workshops at Sci-Fi on the Rock 9

By David Reynolds

Readers and writers on the Avalon Peninsula (that’s in Newfoundland, a magical place), take note: Sci-Fi on the Rock 9 will be hosting an assortment of reading, writing, and publishing workshops that you just might have to see for yourself!

Sci-Fi on the Rock’s ninth instalment takes place from April 24th to 26th at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s. Mark off those dates on your calendar because you’re in for a treat, and read on to get a brief preview of some of the upcoming discussions and workshops.

As the convention begins, Engen Books presents some of the first writerly workshops that will get your attention. Engen returns to SFotR9 with “The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel Ever: A Convention Tradition,” featuring Ellen Curtis and other authors. This panel promises to be so dysfunctional they’re presenting it twice – April 24th at 4pm in the Nimoy Room and April 25th at 9am in the Tolkien Room. Engen Books really knows how to represent at Newfoundland’s premier convention, and so they’re presenting another panel on the 25th at 10am in the Nimoy Room, titled “Engen Early Bird Panel: Wake Up Your Literary Side.” These talks will provide attendees with ample opportunity to address their questions about writing in various genres.

There are also a few more discussions featured throughout the convention that are sure to reveal the innermost secrets of the writing and publishing craft. On April 25th, at 2pm in the Lucas Room, Scott Bartlett presents “How to Make Your Writing Matter to You and to Others.” On April 26th, at 1pm in the Tolkien Room, Charles O’Keefe presents “Adventures with Vampires and Publishing.” Later on that same day, at 3pm in the Tolkien Room, David Reynolds (well, that’s me, actually) of Problematic Press (yeah, that’s us alright) presents “How to Guerilla Publish: Getting Your Book Out There with No Budget.” Together, attendees with dreams of writing and publishing their own material are sure to glean some important insights about the whole process of making their stories available to the world.

If you’re primarily interested in reading and raving on about your favourite fantasy series, then the con has got you covered, too! Interested attendees should keep an eye on the Ambassador Series, which features Alison Edwards and Dr. Christopher Lockett as well as others. Edwards discusses further reading for fans of popular fantasy in “Beyond Harry Potter: Books for the Young and the Young at Heart,” which takes place April 26th at 1pm in the Nimoy Room. Lockett delves into the intersections of some of fantasy’s greatest authors in “The Ballad of Joss, Neil, and Sir Terry: Reflections on Three of our Most Brilliant Fantasists,” to take place April 25th at 3pm in the Nimoy Room. Such nuanced presentations and discussions are sure to give fantasy addicts their fix.

Events at the convention target a broad age range, too. Shelley Chruchill presents “Wee Geeks Storytime” on April 25th at 11am in the Tolkien Room, which is sure to entertain the convention’s youngest readers. However, if you crave more adult flavours, then perhaps you can sate that hunger with Chelsea Smith and Janielle Butt’s “WTF Fanfiction: The Most Cringe-Worthy Stories of our Time,” which is set for April 24th at 8pm in the Roddenberry Room. Again, SFotR9 has a little something for just about every geeky niche.

This is just a sample of the convention’s events; there is much more in the works, so be sure to check it out for yourself when the time comes. You can find more details about all of their discussions and workshops by viewing the full schedule here. Plus, the convention also promises special guests and plenty of vendors, so prepare to get your geek on! For an idea of what to expect, click here to view NTV’s coverage of SFotR8.

James DeMille's A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, Annotated by David Reynolds

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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“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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Day 1: It Has Begun

Welcome, friends!

This is a momentous occasion.  Problematic Press has just arrived on the scene with a mission to stimulate your hungry, eager intellects!

Problematic Press intends to challenge your fundamental preconceptions of the world through original works of literature as well as important, yet often neglected, texts from the past.  Our first release will be Robert Hayman’s Quodlibets, which is quite likely the first work of literature produced in North America.  Written while Hayman was Governor of the British colony in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1628, this edition features David Reynolds’ adaptation of the Middle English poetry into more contemporary language, in order to make the text more accessible to today’s audience.  Reynolds makes every effort to preserve the poetic elements of Hayman’s work, which reflects upon matters ranging from spirituality to politics and is largely an appeal to the British to settle in the Newfound-land.  Quodlibets portrays the reflections and attitudes of one of Newfoundland’s, and also North America’s, founding fathers in unabashed eloquence.

Stay tuned for updates on other upcoming releases!  Tell your literati friends that Problematic Press is here to stay!

Cheers!

David Reynolds

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