January 19, 2005
Self-Publishing Leads to Traditional Contract By Tom Douglas | printable version
I am a former full-time journalist born and raised in Canada who went the freelance route a few years ago. That's one of the reasons I signed up to receive the very worthwhile (no apple-polishing intended) WritersWeekly. I read it faithfully every week and thus, when I first read about Booklocker.com's offer to digitally print my book at a reasonable price, including formatting, cover and help with distribution, I collected together a bunch of short stories I had written over the years (two of which had been published in Canada's largest daily newspaper, The Toronto Star and one that had received an honorable mention in the Writer's Digest Short Story contest).
Within a matter of weeks, I had my own book, Some Sunny Day, and I sold more than 500 copies of it without much effort. But, more importantly, it gave me the incentive to write another book based on a band of very brave French-Canadian soldiers who volunteered to parachute into Nazi-Occupied France during World War Two. They set up an escape network for downed Allied airmen - mostly Americans, Canadians and British - and managed to rescue more than 150 of them by war's end.
The book, Canadian Spies, was accepted by the first publisher I submitted it to - Altitude Publishing of Canmore, Alberta - and enjoyed brisk sales right from the outset. These sales were helped, no doubt, by the popularity of the movie "Saving Private Ryan", the TV series "Band of Brothers" and the 60th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day landings in June. The publisher then asked me for a second war book and I had one published last spring about Canada's involvement in D-Day. Recently, I submitted a third manuscript about the 16 Canadians who were awarded the Victoria Cross - the equivalent of the US Medal of Honor - during World War Two.
This past Monday, I received a check from the publisher for just under $10,000 in royalties for these two books (in addition to $2,000 in advances) and they are still selling well. I was informed that Spies has sold about 15,000 copies and "D-Day" has reached the 7,500 mark. In Canada, a sale of 5,000 copies is considered a bestseller. If only we had the 10 times larger market writers enjoy in the U.S.!
Anyway, I owe a lot of my success to Booklocker.com and I always recommend their service to any aspiring writer who asks about breaking into the book publishing field. Thanks and keep up the good work!
Tom's books are available at amazon.com.