Sunday, June 22, 2008

Canadian Horror Writer Shut Out of Genre-Free Canadian Publishing

Canadian horror writer G. Wells Taylor is sidestepping the Canadian literary establishment and giving free copies of the popular first book in his Apocalypse Trilogy, When Graveyards Yawn, to all visitors at or starting Friday, June 13, 2008 to celebrate the upcoming release of the second book in the series, The Forsaken, and to announce his break from the traditional publishing industry.

To qualify for government subsidies, mainstream Canadian publishers produce works with Canadian themes and locations, often with an educational component, that focus on contemporary or historical fiction. Taylor's horror novels are written with the wider mainstreams audience in mind, yet retain a level of writing quality that falls well within the borders of literature, Canadian or otherwise. But these works have been shut out of this restrictive Canadian literary world despite the fact that they contain Canadian locations, characters and cultural content. Fantasy and science fiction writers also need not apply.

Out of necessity, Taylor began courting the satellite offices of American publishers selling their own titles in Canada, only to find that his works could not be easily or cheaply sold in Canada due to Canadian government guidelines intended to protect and promote Canadian authors. He then decided to take his manuscripts online to promote his work internationally to readers and publishers, eventually attracting over half a million visitors to his web site. It soon became apparent that as the number of traditional bricks and mortar publishers dwindled, alternative forms of publishing without restrictive national literary regulations were rushing to fill the gap.

In 2001, friend and Chief Information Officer for a large national law firm, Richard Van Dyk suggested Taylor move to the Internet. "Taylor and I have had an ongoing dialogue for decades, sometimes aggressively so, on where print media was going and what form it would take. I think in the end we were both reasonably accurate and what is available now is the best of both the digital and hardcopy formats catering to readers, not a publisher's quarterly financial requirement."

More recently, Van Dyk has been watching the growing conflicts in technology regarding patents and copyright and the opportunities presented by the mass duplication and distribution of digital works. From this he formed an idea for a business model that he then presented to Taylor. All Taylor had to do was agree to give away one of his life's works. "Taylor has a franchise of material that is deserving of so much more attention than any publisher has given him. The entire publishing industry, be it music, movie or books, is trapped in an unsustainable business model and unable to view digital media as an opportunity, and those producing content suffer."

Using print-on-demand technology and sidestepping expensive traditional distribution methods, Taylor is able to re-release all of his titles at affordable prices for order as paperback or E-book download. Without the unjustified extra costs of outmoded distribution networks, the consumer pays half the price for paperbacks and E-books.

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