Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I had another media interview this week. This time it was with Sarah Weinman, the noted crime fiction reviewer. She was doing a story on the state of Canadian crime fiction for Quill and Quire, Canada's publishing trade mag. Although I was a bit scattered during the interview - I hadn't slept well the night before and had to rush to get my kid to school before the bell - I know she'll find something in my disconnected comments and make me sound intelligent or maybe just slightly coherent. Even so this interview will have two major positive results for my book. First, since Q & Q is the trade mag for the publishing industry going to agents, editors, publicists, distributors and booksellers, it will bring my name out to those folks. I already do some freelance work with Q & Q (I offered my services to the mag not just to make money freelancing but to get my name out there), but this article will mention my upcoming novel, Fall From Grace, and its release date, April 1. I also recall making some comments that could be taken as controversial (stuff about literary fiction readers unwilling to read genre fiction) and that could attract attention. Also, Sarah Weinman is a very well respected reviewer of crime fiction in the US and not only does she know who I am now, she will be reading my novel. The hope is that if she likes it, she will mention it somewhere, in a review in an American publication or her blog or on Twitter. And that could help sales.

On another note, a lot has been made about the recent winner of the Giller Prize. Here are a couple links about the controversy.



I've commented much on FB about this. I noted that this story shows how great and how terrible the Canadian publishing industry can be. On the great side, here is a small press taking a chance on a relatively unknown writer, putting out her book (and doing a great job because they treat their books like works of art) and then she wins the biggest literary prize in Canada. Many people have complained that small presses rarely win such prizes so here it is, a small press and debut novelist winning the award. The terrible bit is there is an aversion to success in certain literary circles, that if you win an award, or sell a lot of copies (or hope to sell a lot of copies) of your book and try to reach an audience of "regular" readers, you've sold out your artistic principles. Many people defended Gaspereau Press for not wanting to produce a bunch of books, blaming the Toronto media and publishing types for forcing a small press to compromise its artistic principles. Of course many of these people complain that "regular" readers have no taste and never get a chance to read the great books the small presses publish. But when a chance comes to reach these readers, when they get a chance to show what great work a small press and debut novelist can create, they spurn the chance. I thought Gaspereau's attitude was stupid because while I understand their desire to create great books, not just in the writing but in design and printing, in the end, it wasn't the design and printing of the book that won the award. It was the writing. And to deny your writer a chance to reach a wide audience will not only hurt her but their press. It wasn't a long ago that Gaspereau had to lay off a good chunk of their staff and cut back on how many books they released. Also, I know for sure there are many unpublished writers out there who were watching this and they will not be submitting their manuscripts to Gaspereau Press. I'm glad they came to their senses and decided to allow another publisher to print many copies of the Sentimentalists but I think the damage to Gaspereau will be long lasting.

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