Remembering Dave Godfrey, 1938 – 2015

Dave Godfrey was truly a man of diverse interests and talents. Born in 1938 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he acquired a BA from the University of Iowa and an MA from Stanford University in English literature in the early 1960s. At Stanford he met his future wife, Ellen, and also enrolled in Wallace Stegner’s celebrated creative writing program, numbering among his fellow students soon-to-be famous authors such as Larry McMurtry, Ken Kesey, and Robert Stone. Armed with a subsequent MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa, he taught with Canadian University Services Overseas in Ghana in the mid-1960s, then returned to North
America to earn a PhD from the University of Iowa and teach at the University of Toronto.

Godfrey’s two years in Africa provided the inspiration for a number of his short stories and his novel The New Ancestors, which won the Governor General’s Award for fiction in 1970, besting Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business. His time in Africa also introduced him to a powerful and enduring icon — Anansi, the trickster of folktales who often takes the form of a spider. That creature became the colophon for and lent its name to Godfrey’s first venture into publishing: House of Anansi, the small press he co-founded in 1967 with Dennis Lee to publish contemporary Canadian poetry and literary fiction.

Next came New Press in 1970, a company he launched with Roy MacSkimming and James Bacque to publish books on political and social issues. Ever restless and searching, he founded a third publishing venture in the early 1970s with Ellen and moved to Erin, Ontario. Like Anansi, Press Porcépic (renamed Beach Holme Publishing in the early 1990s) focused on poetry and literary fiction with the addition of drama and some non-fiction. In the mid-1970s, the Godfreys took Press Porcépic with them when Godfrey was appointed head of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Victoria, eventually adding to their list young adult titles in the form of the Sandcastle imprint as well as science fiction and children’s picture books.

For Godfrey’s generation the afterglow of centennial year led to a confident and new Canadian nationalism. Godfrey played a major role in developing the Canadian-owned publishing industry. He was a founding member of the Independent Publishers’ Association (later the Association of Canadian Publishers), helped set up the Association for the Export of Canadian Books (now Livres Canada Books), lobbied successfully for federal and provincial government financial support for Canadian-owned publishing houses, and co-authored, with Robert Fulford and Abraham Rotstein, Read Canadian: A Book About Canadian Books, a guide to the best writing about Canada in a number of different areas.

In the 1980s, Godfrey’s creative and ceaseless intellect took him to computers and the role they could play in the cultural industries. He wrote Gutenberg Two: The New Electronics and Social Change, and with Ellen created software for distant learning as well as an Internet service provider company.

After retiring from teaching in the late 1990s, Godfrey turned his attention to wine and became a vintner on Vancouver Island. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and his daughter, Rebecca, both talented, award-winning authors, and his son, Samuel.

Kirk Howard, President & Publisher, Dundurn
Past President, ACP
July 2015

Remembering J. Gordon Shillingford

Earlier this week, a celebration of publisher J. Gordon Shillingford’s life was held at Winnipeg’s King’s Head Pub. Friends, family and colleagues gathered to share our memories of Gordon, and many more were there in spirit! The King’s Head was one of Gordon’s favourite hangouts and often served as his “satellite office.” I can see him working away on his laptop or taking meetings at his usual table, which has now been immortalized with a plaque marking it as “Gord’s office.” He also frequently dropped in to our office, just across the street from the King’s Head. We will miss his visits.

At the celebration, many people praised Gordon’s support of poets, playwrights, and Indigenous writers. He was known for his willingness to take risks on books and writers and his instincts were often right, as evidenced by his many Governor General Award nominations and wins. He was remembered for his intellect, generosity, love of music and literature, wry wit, and trademark hoodie!

Gordon was born in Saskatchewan in 1960, and even after many years of living in Manitoba, still cheered for the Riders. He entered the publishing world in 1986, when he teamed up with a friend to start the Winnipeg drama publishing house Blizzard, using his student loans for start-up money. He left publishing for a short time, and went to work for the Manitoba Arts Council, but returned to publishing in the early 1990s, establishing J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Inc, a respected literary press comprised of several distinct imprints including Scirocco Drama (theatre), The Muses’ Company (poetry), Watson & Dwyer (Canadian social history) and J. Gordon Shillingford (politics, religion, true crime, biography).

Gordon made a huge contribution to Manitoban and Canadian literature. He was a passionate volunteer in support of the industry, having served as president and long-term board member of our association. He was genuinely passionate about books.

Gordon passed away on January 25, 2016 after a brief illness.

Our thoughts are with his wife Karen Haughian (Signature Editions) and son Griffin.

We miss you, Gordon!

Michelle Peters, Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, February 5, 2016

Canadian publishers endorse federal initiatives supporting Indigenous arts

At its 2016 Annual General Meeting, held June 8-10 in Winnipeg, the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) voted unanimously to endorse initiatives announced recently by the Canada Council for the Arts and Department of Canadian Heritage, which make support for Indigenous arts and Indigenous peoples a funding priority.

Read the press release

Careers in publishing

Working in book publishing combines a love of books with a keen sense of business; editing, sales, marketing and production are just a few of the paths that careers in book publishing can take.

Working in book publishing combines a love of books with a keen sense of business; editing, sales, marketing and production are just a few of the paths that careers in book publishing can take.

Employment environments in this cultural sector are varied: you could work for a large or small press, a literary press, university press, scholarly or educational press.

Like any other career, there is no right or sure-fire way to get a job in publishing. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you pursue a career in book publishing.

The Pay Is Low

There are many other fields that are more lucrative than book publishing, but those who work in this industry have a love for books that increases the value of the career. Publishers generally cannot afford to pay their staff high salaries, and a typical entry-level job in publishing pays roughly between $30,000 and $35,000 per year. The publishing industry trade magazine Quill & Quire performed a publishing industry salary survey in 2013. You may view it here.  Please contact Quill & Quire directly for more information.

Decide What Area Of Publishing Interests You

As mentioned above, there are many different types of publishing firms. Determine what type of book, or books, you would like to work on — novels, poetry, textbooks, non-fiction, etc. – and then find out which companies publish those books by visiting the library, a bookstore, or taking a close look at our membership directory.

Internships

Internships are a valuable way to gain practical experience in the industry. Most internships are unpaid are offered to students enrolled-in, or recently graduated-from publishing or related programs. Internships vary in length, and can last anywhere from three months to a year.

Editorial vs. Sales & Marketing vs. Production

Before applying to internships, it is valuable to consider what type of job you want. In publishing there are several main areas of focus: editorial, sales and marketing, production, and digital. Editorial staff helps to create books; sales and marketing staff sells them; the production team ensures that books are made properly; and the digital team produces ebooks, audits metadata, and creates content and strategy for digital marketing campaigns. It is important to note that digital elements of publishing are crucial to the success of publishers, and almost every publishing job will encompass a digital element. For those interested in a career in editing, Editors Canada has published an information guide “So You Want to Be an Editor: Information about a career in editing”.

Some companies also handle their own distribution, in which case there are warehouse jobs available. For the artistically inclined, many firms also need in-house designers. Research about jobs will help you determine where your interest lies and what jobs would best suit you.

Related Jobs

Related jobs outside of book publishing are often a good way to get into the book industry. A job at a bookstore would expose you to an important facet of book publishing, and you’ll likely come in contact with sales representatives, who routinely visit bookstores on sales calls. Their visits allow you to learn about each company’s publishing program and potentially establish a contact person inside a publishing firm.

Jobs are available at various industry associations and at authors’ festivals and book fairs. Any kind of exposure to books and the book industry will help.

Education

Interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry? Nearly all new employees who enter the book publishing industry have completed a publishing program.

Interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry? Nearly all new employees who enter the book publishing industry have completed a publishing program.

Simon Fraser University – Summer Publishing Workshops
The SFU Summer Publishing Workshops offer participants the chance to learn from and work with some of North America’s top publishing professionals. Each July and August, participants and faculty gather at SFU Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver for immersion and seminar workshops in books, magazines, editing, design, and new media.

sfu.ca/pubworks

Simon Fraser University – Master of Publishing Program
Founded in 1987, Simon Fraser University’s Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing (CCSP) is a university/industry initiative dedicated to the development of publishing in Canada and internationally. Our special focus is on books, magazines and electronic media.

ccsp.sfu.ca/education/master-of-publishing

Centennial College – Book, Magazine and Electronic Publishing Certificate
The Book, Magazine and Electronic Publishing Program at Centennial College is one of the oldest and most prestigious programs of its kind in Canada. Established in 1974, the program has won awards and accolades for academic excellence and for the career success of its graduates. This unique post-graduate program specializes in practical, hands-on studies and prepares you for a wide variety of jobs in the exciting world of book, magazine and electronic publishing.

thecentre.centennialcollege.ca/publishing/

Ryerson University – Publishing Certificate
This program teaches the skills necessary to publish books successfully. The program will be of interest to:

  • Those who want to enter the publishing industry.
  • Those who are employed in the publishing industry or in areas where publishing skills are required.
  • Those who are working as freelancers in publishing-related fields.
  • Those who wish to upgrade their credentials with a view to career change.

ryerson.ca/ce/publishing

Humber College – Creative Book Publishing Graduate Certificate
Combining creativity and entrepreneurship, this graduate certificate program is an opportunity for students interested in book publishing and book-related enterprise. This intense concentration on books provides students with foundational knowledge in business models, acquisitions, contracts, copyright, technology, operations and content management. Students also choose three of four specializations: editorial, marketing, literary agenting/rights management, or advanced technology.

creativearts.humber.ca/programs/creative-book-publishing

Establish Your Credibility

You must prove your ability to a prospective publisher: are you an expert on the subject at hand? Do you have writing experience? Do you write regularly as a part of your job? Do you have any previous writing experience? Have you had work published in the past or taken a writing course?

You must prove your ability to a prospective publisher: are you an expert on the subject at hand? Do you have writing experience? Do you write regularly as a part of your job? Do you have any previous writing experience? Have you had work published in the past or taken a writing course?

If you have little or no writing experience, it is a good idea to start by taking a writing course. Aside from providing useful feedback, instructors (who are usually writers themselves) often have experience in the publishing industry. They may not get you in the door of a publisher’s office, but they can point you in the right direction.

You can gain invaluable experience and recognition by having your writing published by a magazine, newspaper, literary journal, or even a newsletter. A published story or article will give you credibility, and allow you to gauge the interest in your ideas and style. Literary journals are especially good for burgeoning fiction writers or poets. Visit Magazines Canada’s website at magazinescanada.ca for a list.

Another good way to learn the value of your work is to take advantage of the manuscript evaluation service provided by the Writers’ Union of Canada. Visit their website at writersunion.ca for more information.

Literary Agents

Literary agents represent authors to publishers. They negotiate contract details and provide representation if any part of the book is illegally reproduced.

Literary agents represent authors to publishers. They negotiate contract details and provide representation if any part of the book is illegally reproduced.

Literary agents are selective about who they will represent, and it is usually helpful for an author to be referred by people who work in or are familiar with the publishing industry. Typically, agents only accept a few new clients each year. **Please note that as the ACP does not publish books or represents authors, we are unable to refer any prospective writers to literary agents.**

Please see the listings below for contact information for several literary agents/agencies in Canada.

British Columbia

 

Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency

Carolyn Swayze, Principal Agent
D.Barry Jones, Associate Agent
Kris Rothstein, Associate Agent
swayzeagency.com


Interests: Literary and commercial adult fiction, booklength non-fiction (including biography, history, science writing, travel, humour and cookbooks), young adult novels. No science fiction, fantasy, romance, poetry, or screenplays.
Submission Guidelines: Not accepting unsolicited submissions.


Integral Artists Inc.

196 West 3rd Ave., #102
Vancouver, BC, V5Y 1E9
Tel: (604) 620-6001
[email protected]
integralartists.com

Submission guidelines: Query prior to submitting manuscripts.


Seventh Avenue Literary Agency Inc.


2052 – 124th Street
South Surrey, BC V4A 9K3
(604) 538-7252 (Tel)
Robert Mackwood, Director
[email protected]
seventhavenuelit.com

Interests: Non-fiction


Lucas Talent Inc.

#6 1238 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2Y5
Tel: (604) 685-0345
[email protected]
lucastalent.com

Ontario

 

Rick Broadhead & Associates

47 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite #501
Toronto, Ontario M4V 3A5
Tel: (416) 929-0516
Rick Broadhead, President
[email protected]
rbaliterary.com

Interests: Non fiction, including history, politics, business, natural history/environment, national security/intelligence, current affairs, biography, science, pop culture, pop science, relationships, self-help, health, medicine, military history, and humor.


The Bukowski Agency

14 Prince Arthur Avenue, Suite 202
Toronto, ON M5R 1A9
Tel: (416) 928-6728
[email protected]agency.com
bukowskiagency.com

Interests: Non-fiction as well as commercial fiction and non-fiction.


CookeMcDermid Literary Management

320 Front Street West, Suite 1105
Toronto, ON M5V 3B6
Tel: (647) 788-4010
[email protected]
cookemcdermid.com

Interests: literary and commercial fiction (including science fiction, fantasy and crime); narrative-driven nonfiction (specifically in the areas of health and well-being, popular culture, science, history, politics, natural history and personal reference); mind/body/spirit resources; and middle-grade and young adult books.


Arnold Gosewich, Literary Agent and Book Publishing Consultant

278 Bloor St E St 506
Toronto, Ontario, M4W3M4
(416) 925-7836 (Tel)
[email protected]
arnoldgbooks.com

Interests: Non-fiction in all adult categories, young adult novels.


Helen Heller Agency

4-216 Heath Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5P 1N7
Tel: (416) 489-0396
[email protected]
helenhelleragency.com

Interests: Adult fiction and non-fiction (excluding children’s literature, screenplays, or genre fiction).


i2i Art Inc.

20 Maud Street, Suite 202
Toronto, ON M5V 2M5
(416) 505-9522 (Tel)
[email protected]
i2iart.com

Interests: Representation for illustrators working for the publishing industry.


Kelly Consulting Agency

159 Oakcrest Ave.
Toronto ON M4C1B8
Tel: (416) 303-1247
[email protected]
www.kellyconsultingagency.com

Interests: Adult and children’s nonfiction; current affairs, social responsibilities, justice, health, wealth, wisdom, environmental issues, humour, biography, pop culture, relationships, and spirituality.


Bella Pomer Agency Inc.

355 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 801
Toronto, Canada M5P 1N5
[email protected]
bellapomeragency.com


The Rights Factory 

Box 499, Stn C
Toronto, ON M6J 3P6
therightsfactory.com


Beverly Slopen Literary Agency

131 Bloor Street West, Suite 711
Toronto, ON M5S 1S3
Tel: (416) 964-9598
[email protected]
slopenagency.ca

Interests: Fiction and non-fiction. Tends not to handle illustrated or children’s manuscripts or genre fiction (fantasy, horror, romance). No poetry.


Transatlantic Literary Agency (TLA)

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 3500,
Toronto Ontario Canada M4W 1A8
Tel: (416) 488-9214
[email protected]
transatlanticagency.com

Interests: Children’s literature and adult literature.


Westwood Creative Artists Ltd.

138 Sussex Mews
Toronto, ON M5S 2K1
Tel: (416) 964-3302
[email protected]
wcaltd.com

Carolyn Forde, Literary Agent and International Rights Director
Jackie Kaiser, Literary Agent, President and COO
Michael Levine, Film & TV Agent, Chairman
Hilary McMahon, Literary Agent, Executive Vice President
John Pearce, Literary Agent
Bruce Westwood, Literary Agent, Founder, Managing Director and CEO

Interests: Representation for fiction, non-fiction, film and TV. No unsolicited manuscripts.


P.S. Literary Agency

2010 Winston Park Drive, 2nd Floor
Oakville, Ontario
L6H 5R7
Tel: 416-907-8325

General questions: [email protected]
Queries: [email protected]
psliterary.com

Interests: Fiction and Non-fiction

Quebec

 

Robert Lecker Agency Inc. 


4055 Melrose Avenue
Montreal, QC H4A 2S5
(514) 830-4818(Tel)
[email protected]
leckeragency.com


Agence Littéraire Laëns


128, Richelieu Suite 2
Québec (Qc) G1R 1J5
[email protected]
agencelitterairelaens.com

Interests : Fiction and non-fiction. No theatre, no poetry

Prince Edward Island

 

Radici Translation and Wordcraft Ltd.Dr.

Giulia De Gasperi, CEO

71 Granville Street
Summerside PE C1N 2Z4
(902) 954-1433 (Tel)
giuliaradici.ca
radici.ca

Translation and Wordcraft specializes in translation proposals of Canadian and Italian literary works.
They work closely with individual authors and publishers and  collaborate with other literary agencies to bring the best of Canadian and Italian works to Italy and Canada, respectively.

Interests: Every genre is considered. Query before submitting.

Copyrights & Contracts

Writers protect their work by reading and understanding the Canadian Copyright laws. Understanding how contracts are drawn and how rights are determined is also a very important part of this journey.

Writers protect their work by reading and understanding the Canadian Copyright laws. Understanding how contracts are drawn and how rights are determined is also a very important part of this journey.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office offers a useful beginner guide to copyright, free of charge. Visit their website at cipo.gc.ca. 

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

Canadian ISBN Agency
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
(819) 994-6872 (Tel)
(613) 995-6274 (Fax)
bac.isbn.lac@canada.ca
www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/isbn-canada

Please visit the above link to learn more about ISBN numbers and how you can apply for them. Briefly, an ISBN (or International Standard Book Number) is a 13-digit identifying number used on all published materials, including print books, ebooks, pamphlets, CD-ROM and braille publications. Specific ISBN numbers are assigned to each publisher, thus allowing their titles to be recognized quickly and easily.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

ISSN Canada
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
(819) 994-6895 (Tel)
(613) 613-995-6274 (Fax)
[email protected]
www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/issn-canada

ISSNs (or International Standard Serial Numbers) function in a similar way to ISBNs, except they are assigned to serials and periodicals rather than books (such as newspapers, annuals, and journals). More information, and an application form, may be found at the above link.

Barcodes

Once you have your ISBN number, you’ll need a barcode for your book cover. You may obtain your barcode by two different methods: either by purchasing special software to create the barcode yourself, or by paying to have the barcode created for you. Barcode software or services may be purchased from a variety of sources, and many businesses will offer both software and service.

Proposals/Letters of Inquiry

It is best to send a publisher a proposal or letter of inquiry instead of the entire manuscript since few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts.

It is best to send a publisher a proposal or letter of inquiry instead of the entire manuscript since few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Be sure to review a publisher’s submission guidelines before sending a proposal or query. These guidelines are typically found on publishers’ websites.

Book Proposal Guidelines

The most important aspect of a manuscript submission to publishers is the book proposal. The author needs to prepare a carefully detailed and compelling proposal to convince a publisher that his or her book is worth publishing. The proposal is extremely valuable in negotiating a good sale by allowing publishers to evaluate the project quickly and to determine their ability to market the book successfully.

Your proposal represents the promise of your book; it must be distinctive and engaging so that the editor becomes enthusiastic about signing your project. The difference between a good proposal and an excellent one can determine whether you receive an offer—and can make the difference between a modest advance and a large one.

Every book is unique, but almost every proposal contains the elements listed below:

About the Book

Give a brief (three to five pages) overview and introduction to your project. Think of this section as the information that would be used in the jacket copy, book synopsis and market survey.

Describe the reasons you were inspired to write the book and what makes it valuable. Make sure to explain what makes your book different from other, similar books and mention any special features or approaches you offer.

Give a two or three paragraph synopsis of the contents, illustrating in detail the logic your book follows to satisfy its premise.

Explain why you as an author are uniquely qualified to write this book. Include relevant experience and credentials, as well as any supporting professional expertise or publishing credits.

Market & Competition

Who is the audience for your book, and why do they need to buy your book? Provide demographic data that reinforces your hypothesis.

Address the competition. List each title that would be in direct competition with your book, along with the author, publisher, and year of publication. Explain why your book would be better, or how it fills a vacant niche in the market.

Chapter Outline

Provide a brief chapter-by-chapter outline of the book. Try to convey both the content and tone of each chapter succinctly. Where possible, use quotations, anecdotes and examples to describe your chapters.

Sample Chapter

Include one or two sample chapters, preferably not the introduction or first chapter, to give the publisher an idea of your writing style and the actual content of the book.

Publishing Details

Describe the physical form you plan for your book. Be sure to include:

  • proposed book length, measured in words;
  • state how many, and what sort of, photographs and/or illustrations will be used;
  • list any special considerations for book size, format, design or layout;
  • estimate how much time you will need to deliver the completed manuscript.

 

About the Author

Provide a detailed biography of yourself. Stress your background experience in your field and credentials relevant to your book. If you have an established audience through social media, a blog, or other online platforms, let the publisher know. If applicable, attach a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.

Know Your Market

Sending your manuscript to the right publisher is extremely important. Valuable time – both yours and the publisher’s – can be wasted by sending manuscripts to publishers who are not publishing in your genre.

Sending your manuscript to the right publisher is extremely important. Valuable time—both yours and the publisher’s—can be wasted by sending manuscripts to publishers who are not publishing in your genre.

Do some research! Determine which publisher is best suited for your manuscript and which publishers are publishing material that is similar to yours by visiting bookstores or your public library. Bookstore shelves offer a wealth of information, including the titles your book would be competing against, how popular your genre is, and which publishers are involved in the market. Similar information can usually be found online – visit publishers’ websites and online bookstores. Browse around. Take your time. It is probably the most important aspect of the entire process.

If you write fiction or poetry, literary journals and magazines are a good way to explore the fiction and poetry that is currently being published.