15 June 2013 - LANDMARK CANADIAN DECISION - Self-Published Authors


- Self-Published Authors -

G'day guys,

Any regular follower of this blog will know that I have always been a great supporter of creative people, any, especially as an advocate and activist for and on behalf of self-published authors who have been treated shabbily by the establishment. However, as mentioned in previous posts, many authors today, who were previously with traditional publishing houses, are opting to go it alone and become self-published. Why, because they have more control over their intellectual property. And, why not indeed!

Following the disastrous results of Australian book awards in 2012, I did lots of research and wrote two consecutive posts about them - 21st and 22nd of September 2012. I called it, 'Fame or Farce'. Here are the links in case you need to refresh your memory. I did not spare the horses in my comments, and no doubt many might have thought I was a lone ranger. Nope. I have linked up with others fighting the battle for self-published authors around the globe. Check out these links, then read what has just happened in Canada:

The Writers' Union of Canada Votes to Admit Self-Published Authors!


 Referendum on Membership Criteria to be Held


Ottawa, June 1, 2013 – In a unanimous vote, members of The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) attending their 40th Anniversary annual general meeting today approved a resolution opening membership in the Union to professional, self-published authors. The resolution will be presented to the entire TWUC membership (over 2000 Canadian book authors) in a referendum and will come into force with a two-thirds majority.

“This is a landmark decision,” said a delighted Merilyn Simonds, Chair of TWUC, “one that addresses our sincere desire for inclusion and innovation, while maintaining our tradition of defining and upholding professional standards for writers in Canada.”

The resolution allows for self-published books as professional credit toward membership, as long as three important criteria are met:

1. Self-published books presented by authors applying to join the Union must contain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

2. They must demonstrate commercial intent.

3. They must be peer reviewed before being forwarded to the membership committee of the Union for approval based on existing criteria.

During a long and detailed afternoon of discussion, TWUC members spoke both to the importance of recognizing shifting realities in the world of professional writing and publishing, and of protecting the standards of professionalism for authorship.

“In an increasingly fractured literary landscape, others in our sector are looking to TWUC to define what it means to be a professional book author," Simonds continues. "If this resolution is approved by the general membership, we hope that granting agencies, festivals, residencies, and other support programs for writers will follow TWUC’s lead and expand their own definitions to welcome what is becoming an increasingly important practice among professional writers.”

The Writers' Union of Canada held its inaugural AGM in Ottawa in 1973, with such iconic Canadian writers as Margaret Laurence, Marian Engel and Graeme Gibson as founding members. Interestingly, Mr. Gibson was present for today’s discussion and was the enthusiastic seconder of the self-publishing resolution, moved by Ottawa writer, Eric Enno Tam.  

The Writers’ Union of Canada is Canada’s national organization representing more than 2,000 professional authors of books. Celebrating 40 years in 2013, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.  www.writersunion.ca

Clancy's comment: Mm ... I have met many Canadians in my travels and liked them. Now I like them even more. I as an Australian, cannot enter the Victorian (my home State) Premier's Literary Awards, nor the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards because I am self-published. However, in my deliberations, communications and negotiations with senior representatives of both awards and other organisations, I have suggested similar rules as mentioned above by the Canadians; even suggested a separate award for Indie authors. All of my suggestions fell on deaf ears - as I assumed they would. But, I'm still battling. Stay tuned, folks. I'm not done and dusted yet.

Many of you reading this  have probably never read a self-published book. Why, because the establishment will not allow them into book stores, contests etc. So who is the loser? Simple answer: every child, student, parent, grandparent, teacher and librarian. They, you - members of the general public, are only offered those books allowed by the gatekeepers.

I have read many self-published books and reviewed a lot of them. Sure, some are not up to scratch, and I have made that very clear when I reviewed them. But, many were sensational reads; obviously written by passionate writers who'd honed their craft. Trust me. Writing, being published and accepted is the toughest gig I've ever done, other than my participation in human rights issues. So, why do I persist? Simple - I'm a storyteller who will not live long enough to write what I have stored in my head's hard drive. 

Not only, but also. It's worth remembering this. If all self-published authors banded together globally and formed a union, the publishers and their friends would be outnumbered by millions. Imagine the clout such an organisation would have in regard to negotiating with paper, printing, distributing, bookshop and computer software companies etc. That would bring a tear to a glass eye. 

Don't get me wrong. It ain't about power - it's about a fair go for all. It is 2013 isn't it?

Go, Canada! 

Now, here is a brand new self-published book just published by Scott Skipper who has been a previous guest on this blog - 29th of May. It is about a man I have read much about - Doctor Josef Mengele, often called 'The Angel of Death'. Check it out.

I'm ...


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