Two important things happened this week in the Canadian book scene. The first, and probably most interesting (yet complicated) is the fact that the Writers Union of Canada will now allow self-published writers to join their ranks. Find out more about it here on their website. Some of you may not be aware of this, but before this ruling, to have become a member of TWUC, you needed to have published work to your name (so, obviously not just anyone could join). It’s important to note that with this latest policy, the self-published author’s work must have demonstrated ‘commercial intent’, and their work has to have been ‘peer-reviewed’ for acceptance into the union. Why does this matter to the rest of us? Well, it shows that the writing community in general is starting to view self-publishing as an acceptable form of publishing. It’s no longer the last resort for wannabe writers, it’s a viable option for people who may have published work in the traditional form, but are looking for a more flexible and profitable way to distribute their own work. So, there’s that.
Next is the fact that Canada Reads happened, which is also a big deal, because similar to the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the winner sees a big increase in their book sales, which let’s be honest here, is pretty much hitting the jackpot for any writer, no matter how successful you may be. This particular Canada Reads competition also seemed to have much more riding on it, mainly because they were trying to determine which book will change Canada. Pretty daunting task don’t you think? So obviously most of the books in the running were serious, and held dire consequences for their characters, not a bunch of funny ha-ha stories that you can read on the beach somewhere. Either way, Joseph Boyden’s Orenda won, which I haven’t read yet, but would really like to now that its been determined that it’s a story that will change our country (!!!). So, just a little info to keep you up to speed. Try dropping one of these two bits of info at your next dinner party, and people will be impressed, I guarantee it.