It’s unusual for a writing conference to produce immediate results, but just one month after Northern Writes staged the Yukon Writer’s Conference, delegates were already using what they learned to explore emerging publishing models.
Presenter Kristine Kathryn Rusch likened the growth of e-book options to network television plus cable.
“Some people only deal with network; some only with cable. But viewers (readers) usually go back and forth between both. I think writers should as well.”
Rusch, who writes in four genres, brought her experience as a self-published author, with an impressive e-book following, to the Yukon for the Thanksgiving weekend workshop.
Michael Gates, whose Klondike histories have been published by university and traditional presses, learned plenty. “The material on e-book publishing the second day was very informative,” he says.
Eleanor Millard says the conference “confirmed that I am doing the right thing by self-publishing. I have a better handle on the steps to publishing, and it has made me do more research before buying into just any self-publishing company.”
Millard is a long-time advocate for fair wages for writers in both paper and electronic formats. She was published by a traditional house before turning to self-publishing with Trafford Publishing.
After difficulties following the U.S. takeover of Trafford, Millard now works with Printorium in Victoria, where she makes a small profit on hard copies.
“The workshop indicated that we need to write dozens of books and then we will make a profit,” she says.
For emerging author Amanda McDonald, the weekend opened her eyes to how much work is involved with self-publishing.
“It takes marketing, editing, copy editing, image creation and so many more items that a publisher can often take care of for you,” she says.
Rusch, however, works full time as a writer, McDonald notes.
“Those who are writing around a regular 9 to 5 job really can’t invest as much time as she does to be as successful as she is.”
For now, says McDonald, “If I do print-on-demand or self-publish, it’ll be once I’ve developed a strong readership.”
By then Tim Green, an engineer with a background as a writer, editor and web designer, may have developed his idea for an e-publishing working group in Whitehorse. He has already met with writers to lay the groundwork.
“The whole area of marketing is a lot clearer for me now,” he says.
The next issue to be addressed is effective use of multimedia, from inclusion of simple images to more complicated books. Green finished the conference with ideas for a “proof-of-concept project” to tackle before Christmas.
Rusch believes Canada and the Yukon are ready for the world of e- and self-publishing.
“Canadian writers have long looked to local, regional and Canadian publishers instead of the big New York publishers. It’s not going to take much for those same writers to learn how to do the work themselves.”
Northern Writes partners Marcell Dube and Barb Dunlop agree, saying they expect discussions on indie-publishing to continue.