Books by the bay
Publishing cooperative serves County authors
It can be difficult for an aspiring author to find a publisher for their work. Large publishers are facing the onslaught of ebook demands and typically look to established authors who will provide them with healthy sales figures, sometimes dropping lesser-known authors or withdrawing some of the precious few opportunities for promising authors to gain a toehold.
To address this disparity, David Carpenter, Shelagh Mathers and Peter Blendell founded Cressy Lakeside Books, a cooperative venture to facilitate and enhance writing in the County.
“We want to give a voice to the County,” says Blendell. “The stories we have, so far, have been County-based and the authors we hope to promote are County-based. We think there is a lot of interesting writing going on in the County. We’d like to promote that, make those stories heard and available.”
The three principals formed the cooperative about 18 months ago, and published their first book in March, 2016. They have subsequently published another one, with a print run of 500 books.
That figure is about the point where it begins to be economically feasible. “It’s a labour of love,” says Blendell. “It’s much more cost-prohibitive to do a smaller run. We have trouble selling even a run of 500, but the cost per unit of anything less than that goes up so much.”
To help establish itself within the County, Cressy Lakeside Books has launched a short story contest.
“A few of the local writers we know shared short stories with each other for criticism and feedback,” says Blendell. “We realized there are a number of writers in the County who are working in that form. And so we put out a call for submissions. The hope is that we will be able to publish an anthology in April, 2018 to coincide with the Authors’ Festival. We’re hoping for 12 to 15 short stories.”
The call for submissions was issued about a month ago and already there has been significant interest. The contest closes on September 30. The manuscripts will be anonymously judged for merit and quality before being accepted for inclusion.
Blendell is hoping the contest will act as a stimulus.
“I hope it does something for the writers and readers in the County,” he says. “Because it exposes something that is there within a small circle of people and is ready for a lot of readers in the County. If it helped to promote literacy and reading generally in the County, I’d be very happy with that. And we’re definitely ready to put in the time and put in volunteer labour to promote that issue.”
The books are available at various County locations, at bookstores in Ottawa and Kingston, as well as online.
For information about the short story contest, visit cressylakesidebooks.ca/contest/.