Tag Archives: print

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.

From the vaults – Publication dreams, and delusions … May 22, 2011

Since I’ve been talking and working with a couple of newly published authors recently, and have written guest posts and given talks on getting your work published, I thought I’d have a look at the process I went through. So I’ve hauled out this blog post I wrote in the early days, when actually seeing my writing in print (these were pre-eBook days, folks!) was still only a pipe dream, but a dream that was shared with many talented friends. Here’s where the design ideas began forming for my first novel, Island in the Clouds, and how an initial concept became the reality. I never did find a traditional publisher interested enough in my manuscript, so I self-published instead and was able to work with that original idea Jenny and I developed a few years before. I have always been pleased with the final result and constantly receive compliments on it! Full credit goes to my friend, Jenny Ryan!

I was chatting online with Jenny Ryan this morning – she in Ottawa and me in Calgary. It’s been too long a time! We first met online while taking the Ryerson Publishing Certificate courses, and have only met in person once, when we were both in Toronto. We hope to meet again this summer, in Toronto, but in the meantime, we caught up today on all of the various things that are happening in our lives right now.

Jenny has always been a terrific designer – she’s a natural at it – having a good eye for cover design even during that first course in Trade Publishing, when we were members of the same “publishing team” set with the task of developing a new list of books for our final assignment. Since graduating, Jenny went on to form a design business, Copper Canary Publishing Services, but now works as a freelance designer. She’s been along with me, almost since the beginning, for this crazy write-and-get-the-damn-novel-published ride I’ve been on, and is a constant source of ideas, comments, criticism, and encouragement the entire time.

I remembered recently that she had also designed a cover for my first mystery novel, Island in the Clouds, just for fun and using a photo I had taken. Here it is …

At that time, I was planning on using my initials for my writing name – until another editing friend pointed out the rather unfortunate double entendre presented by the juxtaposition of those initials with my last name. So now I go by Susan M. Toy instead, there being other SusanToys out there in the world, with a couple of them also being published authors. Yes, I too was surprised by that discovery. Which is why we should all google our names. And why I must now include my initial.

But I still love this particular cover design, and Jenny and I did have fun working on it together. Just as any good publisher/writer relationship should be!

And while this novel may never be published, let alone that this particular cover design be used if I do find a traditional publisher, it makes the entire publishing dream feel as though it’s one step closer to reality.

Thanks, Jenny!

And dreams do have a way of coming true, sometimes! Here’s the final cover (but with a slightly different photo taken by Dennis). It’s all Jenny’s design though, front and back! And that was Jenny’s idea to add the #1 at the top of the spine, too. To keep me working on the rest of the series … Ahem!

island clouds cover spread with spine final

Welcome to My Virtual Bookstore!

During the 80s I worked in a Calgary bookstore that didn’t really “do” the Christmas thing. We sold philosophy (Eastern and Western), books on math and physics, Eastern religions, stacks of the I Ching (the Princeton University Press grey-dustjacket hardcover edition), books for gays and lesbians (looong before anyone else had “gender” sections, when stores were still being “busted” for carrying so-called “obscene” literature – for instance, we sold many, many copies of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series), armchair travel rather than travel guides, only vegetarian and macrobiotic cooking in the cookbook section, none of the big bestsellers or even books for children. But we did stock new age and progressive music … on vinyl. The fiction section was one long wall, packed, floor to ceiling, with a ladder to access the nether regions. That section wasn’t divided into genre or nationality either, but was alphabetized according to authors’ last names. So, Canadian authors all lumped in with everyone else. And we had everything that was really good, published in English – except, as I said, the bestsellers.



What I loved about this place at Christmas time, besides the lack of hype and frenzy surrounding buying (and the store trying to make a buck out of the season) was our customers. They were a loyal bunch we usually saw at least once a week anyway throughout the rest of the year, people who were serious readers, many of them authors, as well, who read to live and lived to read. Some of them are still my friends, online at least, and I continue to promote their writing. These were people who would buy a couple of cups of coffee at Bagels and Buns across the street and come in to chat with us about the latest books in whichever area they were interested, or talk about their own writing, or just sit in one of the big upholstered chairs in the window with a cat (either Watson or Salinger) on their lap.



I’m always reminded of this store every Christmas when I hear of people essentially freaking out over having to buy gifts for everyone on their lists. At that store, the week before Christmas Day, one particular customer would walk in, stop in front of the sales desk, slap his hands together and say, “There! I’ve finished shopping for everyone else – now it’s time to shop for ME!”


So, in this spirit, for those of you who are ready to buy a special gift for yourselves – and because I now no longer work in a physical bookstore – I am happy to present to you a virtual selection of books and authors for you to gift yourselves this year.

This virtual bookstore even boasts resident cats, one of them a thoroughly serious critic who eviscerates whatever she doesn’t like …


Here are my Reading Recommendations Authors – more than 250 of them – to choose from. Enjoy!! (And just like the fiction section in that old bookstore, these Authors are from all around the world! But unlike the store, there are a few Authors who write books for children among them, as well, and you may order most of these books in either digital format or print!)

Authors Promoted – alphabetical listing (A-L)

Authors Promoted – alphabetical listing (M-Z)

While you’re “browsing” you may wish to listen to some of the more popular music we sold in the store: Windham Hill albums … George Winston’s December and anything by Liz Story.
Penguin Cafe – their first album, Music From the Penguin Cafe and one of my favourite songs, The Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas.

From the Vaults … You say you want to save print books?

I originally wrote this post in Dec. 2009, at the beginning of The Great Debate … you know the one: Print vs. eBook. Some insist on continuing this debate, even though it doesn’t look as though, 5 years later, we’re going to lose print books at any time soon. So for all of those who continue to clutch your print books close to your chest and worry over their sudden demise, I have a few words for you…

"Some" of the hundreds of books in my own personal print library.

“Some” of the hundreds of books in my own personal print library.

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. (And 5 years on now it seems that MY generation, the Boomers, are embracing eReaders and eBooks even moreso than was predicted might happen.)

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 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.

"Some" of the hundreds of eBooks on one of the eReader devices I use (including a few written by friends and an advance PDF of the first 8 chapters of my own WIP - you won't find THAT shelved with any print books!).

“Some” of the hundreds of eBooks on one of the eReader devices I use (including a few written by friends and an advance PDF of the first 8 chapters of my own WIP – you won’t find THAT shelved with any print books!).

As for me, I prefer continuing to be an ambidextrous reader, and constantly switch between eReader and my print book library. I still believe that, as authors and publishers, we shouldn’t allow our own preferences to enter publishing decisions. It’s important to provide our books in all the formats in which Readers choose to read them.