Monday, September 13, 2010

Terry Fallis: A writer shows how to make self-publishing worth the effort

If you haven’t read Terry Fallis’ award-winning – and laugh-out-loud funny – novel The Best Laid Plans, you should run to your local bookstore and get busy. THRNow.  Today.

I make this suggestion because Terry’s second book, The High Road, is now available.  It’s the second installment in his Parliament Hill series featuring political aide Daniel Addison and his charge, Engineering professor-turned-public servant Angus McLintock.

Madcap antics and mayhem ensue on practically every page – what a great read!

I met Terry when he read at the Elora Writers’ Festival in June, and since then he’s been everywhere promoting his book and talking to people about his fun journey from self-published author to Stephen Leacock Award-winning Author. And if you don’t believe me (about the “everywhere” part), just check out the Appearances link on his website. 

 TBLP[1]The Best Laid Plans was chosen by Waterloo Region for its “One Book, One Community” selection this year. With interest so high, I was asked to review The High Road, and did so with trepidation. The words “sophomore jinx” hovered in my mental background, but no fear: the second book in the Addison-McLintock saga holds its own quite nicely, thank you. You can read the review here, posted on Terry’s website.

For me, the most interesting part of Terry’s rise-to-fame story is that he was just another self-published author – until he sent his 10 free copies of The Best Laid Plans (part of the self-publishing package he subscribed to) to the selection committee for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. He was a first-time author without a book-publishing history or a literary agent, one of the masses of self-published authors who frequently draw the disdain of “real” writers (i.e. think agents, editors, publishing houses, review in Quill & Quire, etc.). In fact, as Terry tells it, he did approach several agents with his manuscript, but didn’t get any bites.  Self-publishing was the obvious alternative.  He also took it a step further and tapped into the social media scene by podcasting his book and offering audio chapters for free.

But guess what? The Best Laid Plans was short-listed for the the award.  Did that change anything?  Yes – one of those previously-uninterested agents perked up her ears, the book won the Leacock Award and found a publishing home with McClelland & Stewart and – well, the rest is history.

The moral of the story: persevere, writers.  If you’re good enough and creative enough to get your work out there, good things can happen. Terry Fallis is the perfect example of self-publishing as a means to a very happily ever after.


Interested in self-publishing?  If you live in the Waterloo, Ontario, area, Terry  will be part of a panel discussing his journey down this road.  Here’s the scoop from the One Book, One Community blog:

Self-Publishing 101

Monday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. With Terry Fallis, OBOC Author; Dean Froome, President, Volumes Publishing; Ron Stadnik, Print Collection Development Manager, Library Bound; Sharron Smith, Manager of Readers’ Advisory Services, KPL.

When the doors to traditional publishing houses were locked, One Book One Community author Terry Fallis decided to forge his own key.  He released his first novel on the internet – free – as a chapter-by-chapter podcast, then turned to social marketing for promotion.  Following encouraging feedback, Terry decided to publish his own novel.  Later that year, his novel won the prestigious Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.  Within a week of his “Leacock shock,” he signed a publishing contract with McClelland & Stewart, a well-established Canadian publishing house.If you are still knocking on closed doors, join our panel for an informative discussion on self-publishing.  Find out what services are available and how to keep the process affordable.  Gather tips on marketing your product and the criteria used to select new books for library collections.

Kitchener Public Library – Country Hills Community Library
1500 Block Line Rd. To register, please call 519-743-0271 519-743-0271  ext.  255.


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