The Travails of Having a Book Published, Part 2

March 27, 2008

Ok. Maybe we need a bit of a flashback. Forget about how Kickstart got into Indigo or onto Amazon. Let’s talk about how we got a publishing deal. We were nobodies, literally. None of us, save a couple articles here and there, had ever published anything. We had no agent.

We followed the proper procedure: we wrote query letters, we sent chapter excerpts, we had initial meetings. But… nothing.

The interesting thing – though more than a little frustrating at the time – was that compared to the overwhelming response we were getting from our interview requests with successful Canadians, the local publishing industry was rather demure. Why is that? we wondered.

Then we found Dundurn. They were willing to take risks on us. And for that we are forever grateful. But how did it happen?

It came down to luck. We happened to bump into the right people at the right time. One of our features, Liberal MP John Godfrey, was able to guide us in the right direction. And a lot of publishing – hell, everything – comes down to that: having a champion – someone who’s well-known and wants to see your project come to fruition.

The publishing industry in Canada is extremely risk-averse. It’s understandable. Ninety percent of titles don’t make back their money. There’s a huge influx of cheaply produced mass runs from the US market. But we’re happy our friends at Dundurn threw caution to the wind – and said Yes. It’s an entrepreneurial spirit we need more of in the arts business. Especially in Canada.

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