Saturday, April 12, 2008

Self-Published, First Time Author a Finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour

First-time author Terry Fallis managed the impossible. Unable to interest a publisher for his satirical novel of Canadian politics, The Best Laid Plans, he published it himself through iUniverse and made it available as a free podcast. His solo efforts paid off when The Best Laid Plans was named a finalist for one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards, The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. The other distinguished finalists are Douglas Coupland for The Gum Thief, Will Ferguson for Spanish Fly, Scott Gardiner for King John, and Ron Wood for And God Created Manyberries.

"My feet haven't yet touched back down to earth since the announcement of the Leacock Medal shortlist," commented author Terry Fallis. "To be mentioned in the same sentence with writers like Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson, is surreal and humbling at the same time."

Breaking through in the publishing world is as difficult today as it has ever been. Now, thanks to the Internet and iUniverse, and other print-on-demand publishers that make books available for anyone who wants to order a copy, Fallis wasn't shut out. The book has sold 500 copies and had more than 1500 podcast listeners around the world.

Fallis started by podcasting his novel one chapter at a time at, iTunes, and To date, the free podcast version has gathered more than 1500 listeners from all over the world. The Best Laid Plans climbed up the iTunes charts and broke into the top 25 Arts and Literature podcasts. Even though the last episode was posted back in May 2007, every day new listeners are still discovering the podcast, driving word-of-mouth interest.

Fallis also blogs about his publishing journey at and uses Facebook to keep his readers and listeners up to date. The response from the community has been very gratifying. In fact, readers have started posting Facebook photos of The Best Laid Plans shot where ever they happen to be in the world ranging from Melbourne, Hanoi, Dallas, Singapore, Boston, Ottawa and Kingston.

The podcast attracted Radioropa, Europe's leading satellite radio network, which aired the 20 episode podcast in a primetime evening slot on their English language service.

The Best Laid Plans tells the story of a young, Ottawa speech writer trying to escape the seamy world of federal politics. Despite best efforts to fail, he succeeds in helping a cantankerous but honest engineering professor, win an election against Canada's most popular politician. Scandal and politics come together in this hilarious take on the state of our democracy.

In the wake of the Leacock shortlist announcement, Fallis has rekindled his search for a mainstream publisher for The Best Laid Plans with the assistance of literary agent Beverley Slopen.

The Leacock winner will be announced on April 30th in Orillia, Ontario, the hometown of Canada's most-loved humourist, Stephen Leacock.

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