We had an interesting Writer’s Union meeting today. First, though, we got a brief demonstration of the new Espresso Book Machine that is now housed at the McNally Robinson Booksellers store. It is an On-Demand book maker that is available to writers who would like to self-publish their books. There is an initiation fee of about $70 (I think the demonstrator said) and then each book will have a set price as well as a per page price. Most books produced in this way will cost between $10 – $25 depending on length. Each book is printed and bound all in the same machine. It was very cool to see it being produced, as the sides are glass so you can actually see the whole process. They will only accept .pdf files, though, including the covers. The machine can also trim the book as long as it is smaller than 8″ x 10.5″ and larger than 4.5″ x 5″. The shortest book they can print is 40 pages but they can make books up to 800 pages! McNally’s will then help you promote your book with a well-publicized launch and sell the books in their store, place it on their e-commerce website and make it available for Print-On-Demand at other bookstores.
Now, to our meeting: TWUC (The Writer’s Union of Canada) is gearing up for their AGM in Vancouver coming up this May. It sounds like an interesting event. I have only been a member for less than a year, so I doubt I’ll end up going, but some of the activities include a harbour cruise, a rookie reception, a cabaret and eight panel discussions including: ‘Found In Translation‘, which will be a panel discussing the creative roles of both author and translator. Another panel, ‘Is Technology Changing Craft and Audience?‘ will be exploring the way technology is affecting writers and readers. ‘First Time Authors’ Tales ad Trials‘ will feature a poet, a short story writer, an Amazon self-published YA novelist, a graphic novel memoirist who will enlighten their audience about what strategies they used to finish their manuscripts, publish them and promote their books. On the panel, ‘Buy! Sell! Borrow! Read!‘, the panelists will discuss the changes in how books are sold and read. ‘Eco-Writing: New Leaves‘ will explore how eco-writing differs from nature writing. ‘Going Digital In Your Own Backyard: A Workshop‘ will give instructions and answers on how to publish digitally. ‘Not For Profit? Writers and the Downloadable Universe‘ will make clear the “fair dealing” clauses in Canada’s Copyright Act. ‘Promoting Our Books: Tricks of the Trade‘ will have writers describing how they have successfully taken their books on the road using traditional, innovative marketing techniques and by getting digital.
I’d love to head out to the west coast to take part in these exciting events. I may end up waiting for 2015 when my home town will be hosting the AGM. If these events sound interesting to you, you might want to consider joining TWUC, but you need to be Canadian and have a published work under your belt. The more the merrier! 🙂