Tag Archives: print books

Print copies of my books … the NEW way!

Both my Bequia Perspectives Novels are now available
worldwide from Amazon in print editions!

All links to purchase both titles in print or in eBook formats
(or to borrow from libraries) can be found here:
Bequia Perspectives Novels

Here’s the background as to how all this came about …

In Feb. 2012 I published the first eBook edition of Island in the Clouds. It had been my idea at the time that we should ePublish first, work out any bugs in the files, create a market for the writing and for a print edition, and then go to print once a demand was established. So I didn’t print Island in the Clouds until June 2012, and at that time I went with a traditional publishing company to do so. This cost me a considerable amount of money up front, leaving me in proud possession of 800 copies of the book – which I then had to store, distribute, and sell myself. Five-and-a-half-years later, I still have about 200 copies left in various locations. I have not been paid at all by several places that took copies on consignment to sell for me, and I have no reliable means of selling those remaining copies. Fortunately, I sold enough of the original 800 to cover my expenses of having the books printed, but I’m nowhere near having made enough money from this enterprise to pay myself back for everything I put into writing, promoting and selling the book by myself.

But then we do it for the love of it, right? This was never intended to be a money-making enterprise. But it was also never intended to be a money-LOSING enterprise …

When it came time to think about printing One Woman’s Island, I had to consider long and hard whether I wanted to travel down that same road. First of all, I did not have the several thousand dollars I knew a traditional printing was going to cost. Plus, I really didn’t want to have to store copies anywhere, or find a new distributor for this new book.

Fortunately for me, I received a blog post from Calgary author, Brian Brennan (who I have promoted on Reading Recommendations), in which he explained how he went about reprinting books of his that had been declared out of print by the original publisher. He worked with our mutual eBook formatter, Human Powered Design (Gina McCreary), to create the print files, and then went to a self-publishing service to have copies printed POD (print-on-demand). I reblogged Brian’s explanation of all this here: Brian Brennan – 3 reprints now available

So, I decided to look into this myself for my own print books. In the meantime, Gina had heard of a new service being offered by Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing Paperback Beta Program – that we could sign into through our existing eBook accounts (which Gina has always maintained for me) and it seemed as though it was exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t need to pay anything upfront to Amazon, Gina was able to create the necessary print files and cover designs from my original eBook files and look after the listings for me, and I will receive payment from Human Powered Design for sales made, along with any sales of eBooks, every month, as I have done all along since first listing my eBooks in Feb. 2012.

Plus … I now have the benefit of WORLDWIDE distribution of my print books!! That, to me, is the biggest benefit of printing books in this way.

Here’s another article I discovered about this new service that ran on The Digital Reader site.

One Woman’s Island – print edition now available!

Hooray!! The print version of my second novel in the Bequia Perspectives Series, One Woman’s Island is now listed with Amazon as being available to order!

Since I went with POD (print-on-demand) with this book, here’s how it works if you prefer to read the novel in a paperback format: you place an order with Amazon; Bingo-Bongo! a copy (or copies) is/are printed specifically for you; you receive your order by mail directly from Amazon. (Yes, you pay Amazon directly, but I will eventually receive my royalties on every copy sold.) I won’t be stocking quantities of this book (or lugging them around with me), so your best bet to get a copy quickly is to order from Amazon. Eventually, there should be a listing for every Amazon sales site and I will update the list as I discover new sites.

Here’s a complete list of where to purchase One Woman’s Island in both the print and eBook formats. Also listed there are libraries where you may be able to borrow the eBook.

Now, let’s have some fun! When you receive your copy of One Woman’s Island from Amazon, please send me a photo either of you holding the book or of the book set in a recognizable place that suggests where you happen to be at the moment … you know, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Rocky Mountains. I’ll then post all the photos on this blog as I receive them. Send your photos to me via email: susanmtoy (at) gmail.com

Thanks to all my supportive and very enthusiastic readers! You are the reason I keep writing …

Best Books Read in 2016 – Part 2

In Part 1, I listed all the Indie-Authored Books I had read this year that I considered to be the Best Books I Read in 2016.

During 2016, I was fortunate to read many other books, traditionally published, that I considered to be excellent. Some authors I list here are new-to-me and were recommended by reader friends – who definitely did not steer me wrong! Other authors are long-time favourites, some who I have promoted on Reading Recommendations and this blog (links to those promotions are included here), and a few are personal friends who I have known for many years in real life and whose writing I have always enjoyed.

These books are not listed in any particular order at all, but every one receives at least a 5-star rating from me.

So I give you Part 2 of the Best Books I Read in 2016!


A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, Brett-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Without a doubt, Backman is one of the very best “discoveries” in years! Not only are all three novels good, the writing is consistently good and I am now a fan for life, eagerly waiting for the next book by this author to be translated into English and available to read. If I were to rate books, I would give this author 11 stars on a scale of 10.


Running Toward Home and Odd One Out by Betty Jane Hegerat
I recently reread Running Toward Home, Betty Jane’s first published novel, and read her new novel, Odd One Out, shortly after it was released. As with everything Betty Jane writes, i enjoyed both immensely!

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Sadly, this was his final book as Doig died earlier this year. He had long been one of my favourite authors.

Brief Encounters by Brian Brennan

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
I reread this important book on writing and wrote a blog post about it.


What’s Left Behind by Gail Bowen
The 16th book in Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn novels and I have every one! I was Gail’s sales rep for the first book way back in the early 90s.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift


Mennonites Don’t Dance by Darcie Friesen Hossack, published by Thistledown Press
I reread this book recently and it’s now available as an eBook. Darcie and I first “met” online when we were students in the Humber School of Creative Writing, but did not meet in person until she published this collection of short stories in 2010.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Well-deserved winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Number 6 in the Department Q series of crime novels by an accomplished Danish author. I’ve read them all and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

In the Woods (series) by Tana French
I thought so highly of the writing of this first novel by French that I immediately read the next three in the Dublin Murder Squad series and have the fifth book on hold at the library.


The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel by Katherine Govier

Nutshell by Ian McEwan
McEwan is another long-time faourite author who never disappoints. With this book, I think he may win the award for “Most Unusual Narrator Ever”! (AND … I just discovered Ian and I share the same birthday, June 21st!)

Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide by Daniel Hunter
I received a free download of this book and found it a fascinating read on organizing activists. An excellent book for these current times …


The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
Lewis and I not only worked at similar jobs during our careers (bookseller, sales rep, writer), we repped the same publisher at the same time during the 1990s! The link above will take you to the blog post I wrote about Lewis and his book.

And here’s a link to Part 3 in this series.

Let’s get one thing straight!

I can’t believe that, after all this time since eBooks first hit the market, I would need to write a rant like this, so please bear with me …

On June 1, 2014, I published this blog post, No more “vs.” – Okay?, because I was weary of all the adversity that has proliferated in this writing and book business over the decades I’ve been part of it. I don’t know that my post made the slightest bit of difference, but getting all that off my chest at least made me feel a bit better.

There is one “vs.” though that still seems to be prevalent out there. And I see this being said often enough to make me want to reach into cyberspace and shake those who continue to do this, telling them to “Stop Right There!”

Stop referring to Print books as “REAL” books! Just stop it right now!!

All the stories, essays, words-we-string-together and publish for others to read are BOOKS. They are all REAL BOOKS, in fact, because a “Book” is what we write.

Print and eBook are the “formats” in which we choose to publish our BOOKS. This formatting can also include audio, iBook, and whatever else happens to be out there at the moment.

ALL of these formats are REAL BOOKS! Get it?

I am so tired of the only-print faction of writers/readers who constantly hold up their personal choice of format, calling them REAL, as though this were some kind of superior method of reading the material we, as writers and publishers, produce.

As a writer and a publisher, I have always believed it is our duty to provide our BOOKS in whichever format our readers wish to read them. (Obviously, within our own budget constraints and our ability to deliver these formats to the readers.)

So, please, let’s completely drop the REAL description when touting the benefits of one format over another, shall we? After all, if you do describe print books as “real” you’re only proving to me, at least, that you don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.


I hope I’ve cleared up any misconceptions, for once and for all.

Thank you.

5 Easy Steps to Successfully Write, Publish and Promote Your Book!

OR … How I Nearly Became an Overnight Success After My Forty-Year Apprenticeship in the Book Business!

If you read my bio you’ll realize I have worked with books and authors in one way or another for most of my life. I have experience as a bookseller, a publishers’ sales rep, a promoter (a self-styled Author Impresario!), a speaker, a student of writing, editing and publishing, a published author, and a publisher of my own and other authors’ work. I’ve been writing this blog on-and-off for almost ten years, and have discussed the book business here, made friends with like-minded authors and readers, networked and reached many other people in the business, made many friends and connected with even more colleagues, have shared a great deal of information I discovered over the years on the topics of Publishing, Reading, and Writing (hence the name of this blog …), followed and read lots of other blogs, have done a great deal of thinking about the book biz and experimented with a few new ideas of my own on how books might be published and promoted … and, throughout my entire life I’ve Read, Read, Read – widely, deeply, good and bad writing, books by new-to-me authors and old favourites, the classics and debut books, almost every genre, and authors from all around the world who may not even be writing in English but are translated.

Over the years, I’ve often been asked, “How do we write and get published/start a publishing business/promote our books and sell lots of copies?” So I decided to boil all of my years’ experience and expertise and learning and contacts down into 5 Easy Steps that anyone out there can follow, and so you too may become an overnight success in your ventures, just as I have!

Writing Your Book and Getting It Published
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about your craft and the book business by doing your own homework. (There are many online creative writing programs available.)
3. Write a great book.
4. Query publishers until you find one who wishes to consider and perhaps publish your book. (Or start your own publishing business, in which case, see next section.)
5. Write another great book.

Starting a Publishing Business
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about the book business by doing your own homework. (There are many online publishing programs available through accredited schools and universities.)
3. Acquire a great book to publish. (Or, if self-publishing, see #3 above.)
4. Work with the authors whose books you acquire and help them make that book the best it can be.
5. Publish more great books.

Promote Your Books and Sell Lots of Copies
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about the book business and how to promote by doing your own homework. (There are many, many bloggers, websites and publicists online who offer a wealth of information on how to promote both print and eBooks.)
3. Promote other authors as well as your own book. Network with other authors, in all genres. Help each other. Promote great books.
4. Develop new ways to promote books and authors; don’t just stick to the old ways. Always seek out new markets and new readers.
5. Don’t be concerned about the number of copies sold so much as the number of readers who are attracted to your book. Build a fan base from those satisfied readers – they will become your “tribe” who will do all the future selling for you.

So, there you have it! My sum total of advice for those who are interested in “How I did it”! Easy-peasy, right?

Good luck with that project! Let me know how it goes!


Seriously, though, I used to consult others who expected me to offer my sage advice on how to do any of the above – but no one was really willing to PAY me for those years of experience and expertise I had accumulated. (And do you know of any lawyers or other professionals who will give you free advice?) They wanted the quick-fix, the magic bullet or spell or potion that would help them achieve their dreams instantly. I am willing to give FREE advice (see above), to a point, and I do write about these subjects extensively on my blog, and link to many other bloggers who also give free advice. So I suggest you seriously take my advice that I’ve outlined above, as flippant as it may seem, and LEARN ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF BOOKS!!! Do everything you can in a professional manner, with the advice and help of professionals (and be prepared to PAY for the help of those professionals). Be passionate about everything you do, associate with like-minded people who are equally as passionate about writing, publishing and promoting. Work with each other, help each other, and create/publish/promote something that readers will want to read. And through all of this, continue to READ!!


Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

My Reading Recommendations … updated

Over on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, I’ve been busy for almost exactly a year now (I began writing that blog on Nov. 18, 2013!) promoting Authors and their books to Readers.

blog logo

Some of these Authors have been new-to-me, many are established, and a number of them are long-time friends and colleagues. Not wanting to play favourites, I do encourage readers to look through the complete alphabetical list of 168 Authors I have already promoted during this year.

There are a number of these authors whose writing I’ve had the privilege to read – either as finished books they’re promoting on my blog, earlier published works or, in some cases, as a beta-reader for unpublished manuscripts – and I wrote two posts listing both self-and-traditionally published Authors whose work I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! For those complete posts, including lists and links to Authors, please click on Dylan Hearn’s Pay It Forward for self-published authors … and Traditionally Published Authors on Reading Recommendations.

Since Sept. 4, 2014, when the second list appeared, I have read and IMMENSELY enjoyed books by a number of other Reading Recommendations Authors and, in alphabetical order, I’d like to share those names with you now. (All names are linked to their original RR post.)

Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Arjun Basu
Paul Butler
C. Hope Clark
Lori Hahnel
Kim McCullough
Peter Midgley
S.K. Nicholls
Gail Norton
David Prosser
Fred Stenson

I still have a large stack of print and eBooks yet to read that are written by Reading Recommendations Authors. I have no doubt I’ll be creating another list very soon! I do hope you have as much pleasure as I’ve derived from discovering and reading books by the Authors I’ve featured on Reading Recommendations!

From the archives – Publishing in 2010 – Dec. 29, 2009

Following is a post I originally published to this blog in 2009. The subject matter is still relevant.

There was a good article in the Globe & Mail today about the future of publishing in Canada, and the effect, during their very brief life, so far, that e-readers and e-books have had, are having, are expected to have, on publishing of traditional print books. Not surprisingly, it’s actually the older readers who have embraced this new technology, and for the very reasons why trade format paperbacks became a popular alternative to mass market format a couple of decades or so ago, and not only for publishing “serious” literary fiction – but because they offered bigger print for failing eyesight. Mine is also the group (Boomers) who read the most “books” (in any form), and buy the most books, because we have a disposable income; we belong to book clubs in larger numbers than any other generation; and, while I haven’t checked my facts on this next statement, I’m going to throw out there that we are also a more educated group overall, the majority of us having studied liberal arts, rather than receiving specialized learning, or job preparation, that seem to be the norm now. (i.e. We received an education that not only encouraged us to read, but also encouraged us to think about, and discuss, what we were reading, and we value print books.) Plus my peer group is proving to be lifelong learners, with many of us going back to school in order to study “for fun” and/or personal enrichment. Again, that disposable income, as well as retirement.

I was one of the most vocal naysayers, not too long ago, who was dismayed at the thought that a computer might one day replace all of my lovely print books that take up a great deal of room on my shelves. But I too have come around to seeing the many benefits of reading a book online (mainly from having read advance manuscripts in PDF format and finding that very convenient indeed, not to mention being a costsaver for the publishers), and of having whatever I want to read next available at a click. Environmental concerns alone should be enough to send most people out to buy an e-reader. Think of all the paper that will eventually be saved.

My real concern about the publishing business, though, and where I believe we should all be concenrating our efforts, is in getting the word out as to who is currently writing, and what books are available to be read. You can’t believe the number of people who ask me, “What should I read next?” There are fewer places that promote or review books, or maybe it’s just that the promotion being done is not all that effective. Whatever the reason, the information just isn’t getting to the people who want to read. So that’s where I see the challenges in 2010. Many people still do read, and whether they read books in traditional print form or as e-books really shouldn’t matter – so long as they’re receiving the information as to who is writing, about what is being published, and what might interest them enough to want to plunk down the money to buy a book. It’s time to start thinking creatively here, and promote outside the box. We need people who will champion books, authors, and reading in general.

From the archives – You say you want to save print books? – Dec. 22, 2009

Following is a post I originally published to this blog in 2009. The subject matter is still relevant.

Reading this post from Booksquare got me thinking – everyone out there who has ever said, “I could never read an e-book on a computer or a reading device,” or “I will never give up print books, because I love the feel of the pages and holding the book while I read,” should put their money where their mouths are and buy new books – lots of them, and insist that all their friends buy new books, too. And buy those books at full price, while they’re at it, and from an independent bookstore. Don’t buy used, because the author doesn’t gain from sales of used books. The only way to keep publishers publishing print books, and paying royalties to the authors who write them, is if those print books actually sell.

But the real point is that e-books, and all the other new technilogical formats, some of which you probably haven’t heard about yet – how about a vook? – are increasing in popularity, and are definitely here to stay. The Next Gen is computer savvy, and much more inclined to receive and read online than my boomer cohorts ever will be. We’ve really only seen the tip of possibilities of where e-publishing is headed.

So my point of this post is to suggest that if you truly love print books, and can’t imagine reading a book in any other format, then you can help to save those print books by buying them. Support your local authors, attend their readings, browse in independent bookstores and ask their (usually) well-informed staff for suggestions and help with reading selections. Recommend good authors you discover to your friends and encourage those friends to buy their own new copies of books. And buy books for everyone on your gift list.

That’s the best way I know of saving print books.