I Wrote This For You: The Photography

9781771681230Our most popular books are penned by a poet who was there at the beginning of the contemporary poetry craze: Iain S. Thomas. Multiple thousands, if not millions, of people have read his work; it’s shared, loved and read by people all over the world.

But there’s another part to the project that has brought so much to so many, and an important part: the photography. Without it, #iwtfy just wouldn’t be the same.

The photographer has always been a bit of an enigma — much like the poet — well until now. Jon Ellis is writing about some of the images you’ll find in Iain and Jon’s new book, I Wrote This For You: 2007-2017, which captures hundreds and hundreds of the entries on the blog.

I have personally enjoyed these photos for many years now and would find myself staring at one for several minutes, taking it all in. And now, I (and fans) get to read the story behind the photos: how they came to be, what they were taken with, and how Jon felt about them. I personally love these little peeks into the soul of the artist, they’re like secret treasures that have been dug up and revealed.

Please follow along with me as I discover even more about the photography behind I Wrote This For You. Read the posts at Jon’s blog.

Many stores are already carrying the new book despite the pub date being Oct 24. Find it at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book DepositoryChapters/Indigo, IndieBound, TargetUrban Outfitters


Guest Post: Molly Ringle, Author of ‘The Goblins of Bellwater

We’ve had the honour of having Molly Ringle and The Goblins of Bellwater featured on many bloggers’ sites and it’s my pleasure to share this one with you.

Happy Friday!

Her Good Reads

Molly Ringle, Photo Credit: Central Avenue Publishing

Dear fellow Babblers,

As several of you well know by now I am a Young Adult Fantasy Fangirl (wow, talk about a mouthful, huh!?). I recently had the opportunity to read and review an ARC copy of The Goblins of Bellwater (full review here). With a rating of a 4.5 stars I was left wanting more from this author. I was curious how Ringle fused fantasy with realism so fluidly in her novel. What amazed me about this read was not the plot and dialogue, both of which were wonderful in there own right, but not what I’m getting at. The dramatically vivid illustration of the fantasy world where goblins lurk and control the human conscious, and conversely, the human world where everyday young adults fall in love and siblings look after one another, is really what caught me reading this book…

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New Release: Amanda on the Danube

9781771681025We are very proud to officially release Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music by Vancouver author, Darlene Foster.

This is the fifth book in the Amanda Travels series about an intrepid 12-year-old girl who travels the world, embarking on journeys that always have an element of mystery and intrigue about them.

They’re a fun series of books which have been well-received by readers. Amanda on the Danube is available nationwide in Chapters & Indigo stores and we just found out we’re about to be featured in the  December issue of Quill & Quire.

Darlene is a world-traveller herself, and splits her time  between BC and Spain. Please join me in congratulating Darlene on another wonderful book. There will be a release event at Albany Books in Delta BC on Saturday November 19, 1-3pm. In addition, Darlene will be appearing at local BC and Alberta schools in November and December.

DarleneFosterFor a little more about Darlene and this new book, read on:

Q: Darlene, I see from your website that your books are inspired by your travels, have you been to all the places Amanda has visited?

A: Yes, I have. It was an amazing trip to the United Arab Emirates to visit a friend that inspired me to write the first novel, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask. The places I travel to and the people I meet inspire my writing. The world is an amazing place full of unique characters. Where ever I go I think, I must include this in a story. My first trip on an airplane was when I flew to England to marry my British husband, thirty-nine years ago. We have returned a number of times and I enjoy exploring that country and consider it my second home. My in-laws have since retired to Spain and we have visited them a few times there, each time discovering a different part of that remarkable country. As for Alberta, well I was born and raised there. I had the pleasure of experiencing a Danube river cruise which inspired the latest Amanda adventure, Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music. Amanda doesn’t get to travel anywhere I haven’t been to yet.

Q: How do you decide on the situation or adventure for Amanda? Is it something you saw on your trips and decided to use or just something you made up?

A: It is usually something I actually saw on a trip. For instance, I own the perfume flask from Amanda in Arabia. I bought it at a crowded little shop full of interesting things. I felt it called out to me and that I had to buy it, having no idea it would be part of a book I would write one day. I saw the painting by Velazquez when I was in Madrid and felt the little girl was watching me. I have always loved vintage books and I came across a number of them during my visits to England. I decided Amanda would have the same love of books I have always had. As a child growing up in the Alberta prairies, I collected fossils and interesting stones in the badlands on our ranch. Historical sites such as I saw on the cruise down the Danube, made me think about the stories those ancient walls and statues harbour. All of these things have developed into adventures for Amanda.

Q: How important do you think it is to ensure correct names of places, words, and phrases? Is it necessary?

A: I do quite a bit of research and try to get the details as correct as possible. I don’t think it has to be dead on, these aren’t text books, but I want children to learn about another part of the world when they read these books. So I don’t want to misinform them.

Q: Did you intend for this to be a series?

A: I did not intend it to be a series initially, but once I completed the first book I decided Amanda should travel some more. Children have often asked me, “Where is Amanda going to next?” So I felt compelled to do a series and I’m so glad I did! The more I travel, the more ideas I get for Amanda’s adventures.

Release Day: 300 Things I Hope


October 1 marks the official release day of the new book, 300 Things I Hope, written by Iain S. Thomas and illustrated by Carla Kreuser. This book is unique in that it started life as free pdf download that Iain had distributed on his website as a thank you to his many thousands of readers. Fans clamoured for it to become a “real book” and so we made it happen. It’s available everywhere you like to buy books and we truly hope you enjoy it as much we enjoyed making it.

To celebrate the release, Iain and Carla recently got together to talk about each other, the book and other things they find interesting. Here’s what happened.


Who are you?

Iain: I’m Iain S. Thomas. I only use the “S” because I think it makes me sound smarter, and there’s a phonetic resonance with Hunter S. Thompson. And there’s a Belgian pop singer called Ian Thomas now, so it helps avoid confusion. I’m an at least moderately successful writer and poet, although I struggle to call myself a poet as that feels like quite a loaded term, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling myself that at a dinner party.

Carla: But you are a poet.

Iain: I know I’ve sold more than 100,000 books of poetry but there’s an assumption of skill when you call yourself a poet. Someone smarter than me once said, and I’m paraphrasing, let someone write and at the end of their life, when they’re dead, let’s decide then whether or not they were a poet and that sounds fair to me.

Carla: But who decides?

Iain: Everyone else. Everyone else can decide, I don’t want to decide. Besides all that, I’m known for writing I Wrote This For You and all its sequels, 25 Love Poems for The NSA, Intentional Dissonance, a science fiction novel, an interactive poetry journal called I Am Incomplete Without You and How To Be Happy, which is a collection of prose and short stories.

Carla: Now I need to talk about myself and you might have to fill in the blanks because I’m not really good at this. I’m Carla Kreuser, a graphic designer and illustrator. I write poetry but never published. For my day job, I’m a creative director at an ad agency and on the side, I draw and I’ve got an exhibition coming up based on Nick Drake’s album, Pink Moon.

Iain: You’re very crafty and very awarded. You’ve won about a million awards.

Carla: I’ve won quite a few, I’ve spoken at Design Indaba and Pecha Kucha. And a few other things, I’ve recently graduated with a Master’s Degree.

Iain: I think it’s worth mentioning that we both live in Cape Town, South Africa.

What inspired the book?

Iain: I guess this is more my question. I think if I looked around me at the time, when I started writing the book, this was at the start of the worst year ever. I think Robin Williams had just died. There was the beginning of the election process in America. It felt like the world was in a really horrible place.

Carla: Lou Reed died.

Iain: Yes, and Spock, Leonard Nimoy died. And it’s always strange, the definition of celebrity, is that a lot of people who know you, you don’t know. Someone like Robin Williams, you always feel like he’s an uncle or someone you grew up with. And to discover that this guy who was the epitome of joy and happiness for me, killed himself, I found myself in what felt like quite a hopeless, cynical place. My wife and I were thinking about starting a family and I was going to bring someone into this world and so, as a challenge to myself, and a lot of my writing comes from this place, I said, “If I have to stand outside of myself and give myself advice, what would I say?” And I just started writing. And I think the first thing I wrote was, “I hope you always have a pen” and then “I hope you’re never lonely” and then I just carried on and on.

Carla: Isn’t that the beautiful thing about writing? That it’s a place to put those feelings? To pin them down and make something beautiful out of something hopeless. To take those feelings and make them real, give them shape, edges and boundaries.

Iain: Yes, that’s the thing, I wasn’t in a place where I felt particularly hopeful, it was the exact opposite. I’ve always said, good art is a way for you to process and move through feelings. If I write something, it’s usually a way for me to put an emotion down. “I’ve got this thing, this feeling, in my head and I need to put it down somewhere.” So if I write it down, and I put it out into the world, I can walk away from it and move on to other things in my life.

Carla: Yes, you’re not just wallowing in hopelessness. You’re looking at it and testing it and it becomes something hopeful.

Iain: And that’s the nature of the book, it’s a way to talk about hope but less overtly, fear, and what scares you. When I write “I hope you’re never lonely,” I’m talking about a fear of being alone. I don’t know. I just sat down and started writing and with all these feelings I’m talking about, that’s where it came from.

Carla: It’s strange how those two things are so interlinked, hope and fear, how fear stops you from doing things.

Iain: I always say to people, the opposite of fear isn’t bravery, it’s creativity. The only reason things don’t get made, whether that’s writing or art or music or anything else, is fear, fear that other people won’t like it or it won’t be good enough or that you won’t have time for it, or it’ll be embarrassing. I know it’s very easy to create ironic, cynical art. And what I’ve always said to myself is, “Ok, I will be painfully sincere.” I said the other day on twitter, I don’t think I’m particularly talented, I think I’m just more open to being embarrassed. This is a sincere book and I’m ok with sharing it because I think the world needs sincere things. There’s a dichotomy in this because I know you can’t see me, but I’m covered in tattoos and look like a truck driver.

Carla: I think the beauty of how you write though is how it’s always sincere but it never becomes schmaltzy. I think because it feels authentic, it touches a nerve. And so different people can relate to it in different ways. There’s something authentic about it that grounds it.

Iain: I hope so, that’s what I try to do.

Carla: It’s funny, I’ve known you for quite a while, and there is something quite fearless in how you write, you’ll try ten different ways to write the same thing and you’re never really precious about it or craft one single thing to death – you just write and rewrite so you can put it out there and make it better and make it part of a dialogue or a conversation.

Iain: I think it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, I mean, I’ve published a lot of stuff. If I look at I Wrote This For You, that has more than 1500 poems on it and sometimes I’ll ask myself, should I have –really- published all of this? Shouldn’t I have kept one or two of these back? But I think that’s part of the territory in terms of being sincere and being open.

Carla: For me, I feel like when I’m creating, it’s when I feel alive and it’s this little part of the day that I control completely. Because there’s no perfect time to make art or anything else, you have to steal it from somewhere else. It’s my imagination, it’s creating a new world, the way I want it to be. It makes you feel real.

How was the book made?

Iain: The book was a collaboration, and the drawings existed before the book existed and I like that because it’s not a perfect process. You’ve got this moment here, where you’ve captured something, and I’ve got this line here of what I’ve wrote, and you put them together and you get this third thing. It’s like 1 + 1 = 3. There’s this entry in the book, that says, “I hope you love your family” and we’ve got this drawing of this girl brushing her teeth and there’s this unique, vulnerable thing about it that says family.

Carla: Very few people have seen me brushing my teeth, besides my family.

Iain: I think one of Evelyn, my daughter’s first memories, will be of her father brushing his teeth. And so with all the drawings in the book, you get this magical third thing from these combinations.

Carla: I love that the one isn’t an echo of the other one, that the pictures sometimes say something different. There’s this beautiful cross pollination between them.

Iain: It’s exponential. In practical terms of how we did it, we sat in coffee shops and we went through all your drawings over the last three years, and then there were a million emails backwards and forwards.

Carla: I loved that there was a degree of independence from each other. As was said earlier, there’s not always time to make art and so I always have a pen and a notebook with me and I’m always drawing and if I’m waiting for some coffee or something, I’ll just start drawing the people around me. I’ll do lots of those but only a few of them have the right spark of energy. And you did the same in terms of editing your lines, the ones that resonated with you and so when you bring that kind of editing together, the right illustrations with the right lines, there’s something awesome that happens, with these little pockets of energy and they have this little dance on the page together.

Define your drawing process.

Iain: I think you’ve kind of spoken about this but the way that you draw, there’s this kind of wonderful, beautiful naive thing about it, especially when you consider just how experienced you are, you’ve won a million awards and you’ve spoken at a whole bunch of different things. And if you look at the way that you draw, there’s this very simple genius in terms of the way that you do it.

Carla: In terms of my day job, as a designer and a creative director, a lot of my time is spent managing people and processes, I enjoy it, but it’s a lot more contained. When I do stuff like this, I do it for myself, it’s spontaneous and that’s important to me, it’s fun. The front cover of the book is actually a series of illustrations I did during my December holidays, and it was like being in the desert and finding a cup of water, I just wanted to sit and draw, and draw, and draw. It’s amazing how many of those drawings from that period made it into the book.

Who is this book meant for?

Iain: I think, my ideal situation for a book like this is, is that someone’s walking through the bookstore and they find it, and they have this feeling that the book is right for them, at that moment in time. The very first entry in the book is, “I hope you find this book or someone gives it to you when you need it.”

I think it’s ammo for life. It’s a stranger wishing you well, in 300 different ways.

Carla: And you don’t have to read it cover to cover, you can kind of pop it open on any page and find something that means something to you.

Iain: What I really want, is for it to live in your glove compartment, next to your bed or on a coffee table and every now and again when you need it, you rediscover it and find something in it again. I don’t know who that is, in terms of who is the book meant for.

What do you hope?

Iain: I’ve just had a child and we’re three months in, on the other side of this crazy, chaotic period where you’re losing your mind and everything’s all over the place but I’ve discovered that everything I hope for, all my hope is for her now. I hope she has a great childhood and that we’re friends and we get to go camping and we play board games and, it’s fruitless hope, but I hope she’s never hungry or cold and she never hurts herself or gets her heart broken. I know those things are inevitable but that’s just what I feel. I know one day she’s going to skin her knee.

I still have my own hopes, I hope my work is successful and that it reaches a lot of people but there’s some kind of biological change that happens.

Carla: I’m a God mother, and my dedication is to my God son, and it’s crazy but I know what you mean. What do I hope? I hope just for more time to create things, to make things for myself.

Iain: Well if the book does well, you’ll get that, hopefully.

Carla: Hopefully.

What do you hope happens to the book?

Iain: I hope the book is successful and there’s always an egotistical aspect to every creative act where you go, “I’ve thought of this weird thing, and I need to show it to you” but for me, there’s this other element of it which defeats loneliness, when I write and I share it and people respond to it. I feel a whole bunch of different things all the time and I think I’m a very empathic person and I go through all these different experiences, as we all do, and my writing is always a way of capturing that and when I put it out into the world, saying, “I have felt this. Have you felt this? I have felt this. Have you felt this?”

And if I’m lucky, I can say, “You’ve felt this? And I’ve felt this? Ok, we’re no longer alone.”

What else are you busy with?

Carla: I’ve got an exhibition coming up called Pink Moon, that’s themed around Woodstock, a very colourful suburb of Cape Town and the exhibition is inspired by the music and the place, together.

Iain: I’ve just had a daughter so I don’t know when I’m going to do anything else but there is another I Wrote This For You book in the works and we’re doing something special because it’s the 10th anniversary of the blog next year. But other than that, I’m primarily focused on keeping my daughter alive. And my wife. And myself.

Carla: I’m also working on a children’s book with my friend Michelle Sacks, it’s a sweet story that we wrote six years ago about a child who discovers her parents are expecting a second child and she’s horrified by the idea of having a baby brother and I can’t really say more than that until it’s a bit more real.

Anything else?

Iain: I just hope people like the book. If it’s good, I’d love to do another one like it.


How to Craft the Perfect Short Story

skillshareRecently, Noah Milligan was invited to share his expertise in writing on SkillShare alongside other great writers like: Ashley C. Ford, Susan Orlean, Yiyun Li, Benjamin Samuel and James Franco.

Here’s a synopsis about his class. Given the skill with which Noah writes, I strongly encourage checking it out:

Ever wonder how a writer hooks you into a story and compels you to keep turning the page? Join writer Noah Milligan as he dissects a short story and explains a step-by-step guide in creating enthralling narrative arcs. This 30-minute class breaks down various elements of short story structure, provides a writing prompt to start a new story, and offers insightful tips on crafting engrossing characters and plot.

Students are able to post a new short story, engage in constructive critique with other students, and polish their projects to get them ready for publication. This class is designed for emerging writers crafting their very first short stories, more experienced writers honing their craft, and anyone who has ever had a story to share.

NoahMilliganShortlisted for the 2015 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, Noah Milligan’s debut novel, An Elegant Theory, is forthcoming from Central Avenue Publishing in the fall of 2016. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Central Oklahoma, and his short fiction has recently appeared in Rathalla Review, MAKE Literary Magazine, Storyscape Literary Journal, Empty Sink Publishing, Santa Clara Review, Glint, and elsewhere. Connect with him at www.noahmilligan.com and @MilliganNoah

IPG Interview with Michelle Halket

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of being in the spotlight over at the IPG blog: This is a repost from that article.


MichelleHalketMichelle Halket, Publisher, Central Avenue Publishing, shares her unique insight as a digital pioneer. We discuss the early days of digital publishing, the breadth of social media marketing, and the flexibility that comes from being an independent publisher.

IPG: Can you tell me a little about how Central Avenue Publishing was started?

Michelle Halket: Unlike many in the publishing industry, I didn’t work in it before this — I worked for Nielsen in retail market research. I’ve always been an avid reader and the idea for this company started with a conversation in 2008 about how it should be easier for authors to get their work read. Ebooks were in their infancy and being a tree-hugging, book-loving technophile, the whole idea of a low cost, environmentally sound way to publish books really intrigued me.

The first iteration of Central Avenue Publishing was ireadiwrite Publishing, which was basically a DIY type of venture where we would take anything that anyone submitted and put it into the many ebook formats and sell it on our website. A year later, I wanted a change. I wanted to feel really passionate about what I was helping to put out into the world and so we adopted a more traditional publishing model while still being true to our roots of publishing work that others might not.

IPG: What differentiates Central Avenue from other publishers?

Michelle Halket: You know, that’s a really hard one to answer. I don’t think any publisher is much different from any other one. We’re all in it for the same reasons, to publish books that we feel passionate about. I think our roots are different, in digital, and we remain pretty strongly tied to that side. 9781771680400But the actual books and process aren’t better or different than any other good publisher.

I do believe that being a small publisher means we can change with the tides a little easier and quicker than bigger ones. It’s been the reason that we’ve made it thus far — reading the market and staying on top of it. And we’re small, really there’s just me and my authors. I work on each book personally and I outsource anything that I can’t or don’t have time to do.

IPG: What do our readers need to know about your books?

Michelle Halket: Well, that they’re awesome, of course! Speaking more seriously, I suppose we take a lot of pride in them. They’re truly a collaborative effort of the heart and soul on the part of the author and myself. We put some really good energy into our books and I think it shows through.

IPG: What has your experience been with independent publishing? What are the benefits? The drawbacks?

Michelle Halket: It’s been a truly amazing experience. And a truly challenging one. I think we’ve been up against a lot of prejudice since we started. First it was ebooks, when everyone else thought they were for self-help or get-rich-quick pamphlets. Then, it was the prejudice against small pubs, and then it was the judgment against and non-acceptance of books produced using POD.

Thankfully, a lot of that has changed now and this old industry is catching up with the times.

The rewards have far outweighed our challenges. I didn’t mind being ahead of the curve. I liked educating people on what I was doing. We have had numerous bestsellers – selling quantities that would rival the big houses – and being able to work to my goals and ideals has been amazingly freeing. I don’t have to kowtow to any corporate numbers or only choose books for their market value. I can choose to work on lit fiction, poetry, or memoirs from non-celebrities because they mean something, they contribute to the book world in a real way. I don’t think other publishers have that freedom. I know I could sell books if they tied into a celebrity or some other current event, but I don’t have to and I feel it advances the frontier of reading and book making.

IPG: What advice do you have for prospective independent publishers today?

Michelle Halket: My best advice is to play the long game. Don’t try to come out with guns a-blazing, spending money left and right on your one season of a few books. Start really small, digital if you can, and keep costs as low as possible. Don’t spend what you make, invest it back into the company and plan on being around for a few years till you can make some money. Make a lot of books, as many as you can. And learn from each one.

Ideally, a publisher isn’t a writer. I think that being a writer/publisher often means that you become too vested in books, getting caught up in the writing/editing side and letting the other aspects of publishing slide. I’ve seen many, many writer/publishers come and go and I really feel for them, since they’re hard-working, intelligent people. Now, I know there will be a ton of responses to this, refuting what I’ve said and giving me great examples of self-published authors who’ve made it or started their own imprints (e.g. Amanda Hocking, Meredith Wild, John Locke). But there are few people who can do it all, or who want to, and now there is a pressure on writers not only to write well but to be publishers too. It’s a tough game and I could only imagine that doing both is exhausting.

But no matter who you are: editor, writer, or ex-market researcher: if you want to try it, do it! Remember that it’s a long term business, think ahead, save money, publish as many books as you can. Keep the quality up, but don’t sacrifice getting them out there because it needs to be *perfect*. They’ll never be perfect, they can always be revised, have a new cover, price adjusted, etc. Keep releasing books and continue to work with authors who are professional, also have the long game in mind and moreover – whose personalities meld with yours. And by far the most important: treat your writers well. Pay them regularly, fairly, and on time. Answer their emails quickly and remember that they’re the reason you even have a business.

9781926760681IPG: You’ve achieved viral success a number of times, particularly with I Wrote This for You. How did you reach viral status?

Michelle Halket: The funny thing about each of our books that have done well is that I believe that each of them did so for different reasons. I will tell you the things they had in common. For one, most were appealing to young adults. In a world where books and their distribution was changing so much, it was younger people who were trawling the net looking for new reads, communicated online, and for the most part, pirated content. I don’t advocate pirating, but I have never tried to take any of our books off pirate sites. The pirate sites were part of the reason we went viral on some books.

The second reason is that each of those books had authors who were extremely active online but in different ways. The creators of IWTFY give away their work for free online. For them and me, it’s not about making money, it’s about sharing art. This global sharing led people to talk about it. But not everyone wants virtual art, they want something tangible. So when the book was released it did — and continues to do — very well. For Suzi Davis, (The Lost Magic series), she connected with bloggers who were gaining momentum. They glommed onto the books and loved them and her for contributing a mutually supportive arena. For NM Facile (Across the Hall), the book started as Twilight fan fiction and a lot of the earlier drafts were posted in writing forums. The author connected directly with her readers and gave them what they were looking for. For Annie O’Sullivan, (Can You Hear Me Now?) she used her history as a child abuse victim to help others in the same situation by appearing on radio, blogs and by speaking openly.

IPG: How do you incorporate social media into your marketing strategy?

Michelle Halket: In the early days of my company, and being a newbie to the industry, Twitter was my lifeline. It was this cool medium where I could listen to people discussing real things – and they weren’t selling me anything. They were just talking and collaborating. I met some of my authors on Twitter, learned some typesetting tricks and solved ebook coding problems by tuning into hashtags. There were fewer bloggers around, Facebook was easier to understand (and to be heard), and Instagram didn’t really exist. But since the beginning, I have always striven to remain professional and treat people as if I was speaking to them in person.

Today, my social media strategy is a little different. I think I’m still kind, but I don’t engage on Facebook much anymore. Unless you’re paying for boosted posts, very little gets fed out to readers’ feeds, so I don’t really see the point. I use Twitter more to support those people I already know, rather than meeting new ones. I do listen a lot more than I talk, I only follow people who aren’t constantly selling me something and I listen to what is going on in the industry. I feel that the noise on Facebook and Twitter is so loud that it’s hard to be heard and I don’t want to contribute to the noise.

That said, I still use Twitter every day, I post to Facebook and Goodreads once or twice a week, and I blog and Instagram once every couple weeks. When I’m looking to promote a book, I think reaching out to other bloggers who have dedicated readers is the best use of social media. I know that they each have between 5 and 5000 people who actively read what they’re writing. I also use our robust mailing list with MailChimp; Rafflecopter for our multiple giveaways; and Goodreads for the giveaways and stats they offer (for free!) to help me see what people are reading or would like to read.

IPG: You’re one of our publishers that was there for the early days of digital publishing. Can you tell us a little about your experience as a “digital pioneer”?

Michelle Halket: What a trip it’s been. As I mentioned, the early days of digital publishing had me holding up my newly acquired smart phone and trying to show people what an ebook was, researching what happened in the music and film industry, learning ebook coding for several different formats, and trying to get distribution with each of the many stores offering ebooks. I supported the new bookstores and platforms that would come online only to watch them fail miserably. I watched many bookstores, formats, publishers come… and go.
The first few years were hard, I think my revenues were $900 in 2009. But in 2010/2011 when ebooks really took off, I had already made my mistakes, learned where to spend my energy, had a few books go viral and the market had dwindled down to a handful of stores and only 2 real formats. Then I could focus less on the technical side and more on the quality, marketing and sales of our books. Now that ebooks have levelled off (anyone worth their salt knew that would happen), it’s time to re-evaluate again. I have always believed that paper wasn’t going away, and now it’s time to strike a resounding format chord which balances paper, ebook and audio.

IPG: How do you pick the titles you going after?

Michelle Halket: I have three criteria for judging a book – writing, plot and characters. It needs to be fantastic in at least one of those areas — ideally all three! Of course, the author needs to have all the boxes ticked: professional, dedicated, etc. However, my overriding rule is whether or not I personally and professionally connect with the author. I want to rely on them, and they need to do that with me since I invest a lot in them and they’re trusting me with their literary babies.

IPG: What’s next for Central Avenue Publishing?

Michelle Halket: Next is getting to know my new distributor and all the avenues they’ve opened up for me! I know this is old hat to the vast majority in publishing, but working with traditional distribution has meant an overhaul of how I do business. I only use POD sparingly and have moved to offset for my new and best titles. I can now submit to the large reviewers without fear. I have access to bricks and mortar outlets I could have only dreamt of. I have a group of people I can rely on for good advice and information. There are multiple teams of people showing off my books to their customers.

For someone who came in at this through a different angle and who works by herself in a small town outside of the meccas of publishing, this is a huge change. I figure the next year will be spent seeing how all this goes while maintaining my old tenets of slow organic growth that will sustain all of us.

IPG: Finally, where do you see Central Avenue in five years?

Michelle Halket: I see great things. I see a NYT or USA Today bestseller. I see more viral books. I see regular write ups on us and our authors. I see foreign rights deals. And I see me being there for all of it — but perhaps not all by myself.

BlogTalk Radio with Annie O’Sullivan is Back

AnnieOSullivanAfter a long hiatus, Annie O’Sullivan, child abuse survivor, author of Can You Hear Me Now? and advocate for children and survivors is back blogging and with her popular radio show. With a supportive and informative environment, Annie and her co-host Connie Lee, have created a talk show that covers all aspects of survivorhood.

Join them this Thursday, September 25.

Broken Until Spoken

With me Annie O’Sullivan and Connie Lee, let chat!

Can You Hear Me Now with Annie O'Sullivan and Connie Lee is back!!  Thursdays at 6:30 PM Pacific Time!  Or in the Archives Anytime! Anytime!


Can You Hear Me Now with Annie O’Sullivan and Connie Lee is back!! Thursdays at 6:30 PM Pacific Time! Or in the Archives anytime. Available for download.Follow the link

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