Though there are a lot of terrific things about my job, one of my intense pleasures is working directly with our authors. Though much of the day-to-day editing is in the hands of a couple of the best substantive editors in the business, in my dual role of Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, I have the privilege of dipping in at various points of the editorial process, throwing in my two cents whenever that seems like a useful thing. Continue reading
There is an ebullient air here at the Self-Counsel Press offices right now. Something good and fine.
We are moving into our 45th year of publishing books that help people in many aspects of their lives, personal and professional. That’s something to be proud of. Continue reading
Want to write for Self-Counsel? We love hearing your great ideas. While passion and enthusiasm will carry you a long way, before we contract you to do a book for us, there are certain things we want to see.
Your goal should be to let us know you have the vision and the tools to carry your idea to fruition. Also, no matter who the players are, in the 21st century, creating a book is a partnership. Make sure you let us know you’re someone who will be a good partner.
Next, show us what you’ve got: write! A good non-fiction book proposal should include the following things:
Give the child a name
The title on your proposal won’t necessarily follow your work into book form, but it’s a great starting point. Try to choose a title that describes the book as much as possible.
An elevator pitch
Tell us what your book is about in a single sentence. This is always difficult! But not only will it help us understand what your book is about, you’ll find that the process helps you define your book’s purpose and market very tightly as you begin work on your project.
A mission statement
This might be what you’d expect to see on the back of this book if you were buying it. Or it might be longer: perhaps an introductory chapter. Tell us as succinctly and eloquently as possible exactly what your book is about and why the reader needs it. This is your chance to strut your stuff, too. If you want us to get a sense of the way you write, this is the place for it.
Draft a table of contents for your book. Don’t worry: we won’t hold you to it verbatim. What we’re looking for at this stage is your clear understanding of your topic and expertise to cover it in an engaging, lucid and thorough way.
A sample chapter
This is your very best tool for showing us you can write clearly, organize your thoughts cohesively and that you have a very good handle on your material.
Do your homework. Who is going to buy this book? Why do they need it? What other books in this category are out there? In what way is yours different or better? Why is this book needed? (And if it isn’t needed, why do we want to publish it?) The more specific you can be the better.
Something about you
Let us know your background and what about it equips you to write this particular book. At this point, also let us know if you have a special platform that will support sales of the book: are you a blogger? Do you lecture or teach on the topic? Just anything that demonstrates how suitable you are to both write and then help us market this book.
Pack it up and send it
Once you’ve got all the pieces down, put them together and send them to us. Send us your submission electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail to:
Att: Acquisitions Editor
1481 Charlotte Road,
North Vancouver, BC V7J 1H1
I’m delighted to join Self-Counsel in the capacity of Publisher. My relationship with the company is an old one: Self-Counsel published my very first work of book-length non-fiction, The Canadian Business Guide to Using the Internet, back in 1995. Since then I’ve written many books, both fiction and non. My 14th will be published in April 2016. So I certainly have a better than usual understanding of the author’s side of the desk. I think that will stand me in good stead at Self-Counsel in helping to create a complete picture of not only the industry but the people who comprise it.
On the non-authorial side, I have done freelance publishing-related business with several companies over the years. Also, I have been publisher and editor of the book-related January Magazine since 1997. And I’ve taught and lectured on various aspects of writing and publishing with Simon Fraser University, the Publishing Success Network and writers festivals across the country. In one way or another, books, authors and publishing have dominated my adulthood. It is my intention and my pride to bring my passion, energy and acumen to this very stellar company.
The past week has been an interesting one, with Apple losing a court battle in America over ebook price fixing, Barnes & Noble letting go its chief executive, and Barnes & Noble announcing (negative) changes to its ereader lineup. My take on all this follows.
I was asked last week, why we do not publish books as “apps” — software applications which are targeted at particular reading device operating systems, like Apple’s IOS, or the Android operating system.
Our marketing whiz, Tyler, developed this map to show the countries in which ebooks published by Self-Counsel Press have sold (this map is updated as we reach more countries):
View Global eBook Sales in a larger map
Notes: You can click and drag the map to see more countries. You can also click on a blue pin to see the country name.
One of the more interesting challenges in producing ebooks is the file format question. On the surface, it looks pretty simple: two formats, EPUB and Amazon’s Mobi dominate. Both (loosely speaking) use HTML tags and CSS stylesheets to determine how text and graphics are displayed. So an ebook is a collection of webpage-like pages in a container. Or is it?
As 2012 draws to a close, a trend we are watching is the changing universe of devices used to read ebooks. A year ago, monochrome “e-ink” reading devices (such as the original Kindle) dominated the market. That dominance has eroded through 2012, and by the time Christmas sales are tallied I expect we will see a new leader.
Back in August I said how pleased I was to report that we were starting to see sales of ebooks in countries outside Norrth America. The cost of shipping printed books has always been a major obstacle to sales outside North America, but ebooks change that.