I was intending to continue my series of posts about backlist management, and I swear, I’ll get it done at some point; but this came into my inbox recently and I had to read it.

ShuSH writes a series of posts about the Canadian book market, and they did an analysis of the recent market data and it made me blink. Specifically, this part:

Canadian-owned publishers represented 4.9 percent of the value of books sold in 2016; they represent 4.8 percent today. The only bright spot for the Canadian independents was that the value of their sales increased from $48.5 million in 2015 to $54 million last year. That was achieved through higher prices: unit sales declined slightly from 2.8 million to 2.6 million.


The tracked Canadian independent publishers in Canada made $54 million a year with unit sales of 2.6 million. That seems like a lot, right?

Except.. I can think of maybe 4 to 5 selfpub Canadian authors alone who together could make 10% of that. Now, obviously, I don’t know their sales exactly – but I know how well I do, how well they do in comparison and I can guesstimate based off that.

Indie/self pub authors are doing incredibly well, but we are still locked out of a ton of opportunities within the Canadian publishing marketplace. We do not count for the majority of grants, we cannot even access them. Even when we are, frankly, larger than some of these publishign companies in Canada, we are the redheaded stepchild of the publishing industry.

It’s why we – I – started the Toronto Indie Author Conference. If we’re not getting any support from the government, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. And frankly, I think the selfpub industry is vastly, vastly more active and dynamic than the tradpub industry in Canada.

International in nature

Another thing worth thinking about is how most of us who are selfpub are internationally focused. We’re a net positive to the Canadian economy, because our sales, our focus is generally the US and international markets. I can guarantee that for 99% if not all of the selfpub authors of significance, Canada is not our major market.

How little does Canada matter? They were 1.8% of my total income last year. It’s rare for Canada to breach 2% and each year that we grow, that number keeps dropping.

Missing Component – Print

That being said, the majority of the tradpub businesses in Canada are focused on print. That’s a major component that we miss, as indies. From what I understand, Canada actually is a great place to break in to print, because we’re so focused on

It’s something that I think, given the right circumstances could add a significant revenue source – though I am uncertain about profitability. After all, there’s significant cost in doing large print runs and handling stock, never mind the additional cost of distribution of these books.

The Canadian Industry

At the end of the day, I firmly believe that Canada needs to quickly enhance their focus on selfpub authors. We are publishers, we are authors, and probably the fastest growing portion of the industry. There’s not really a future (full-time) career if you’re a Canadian author looking to write and publish using tradpub Canadian press. Not if the advances ($0-$6k) is indicative.

Well, not if you’re not a celebrity I guess.


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