A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Banner for SoMisguided

Amy at Fresh Marketing did a bang up job on new banners for SoMisguided.

I used to have a little skateboard, which is a photo my brother took at a skateboard-art exhibition:


I love the skateboard, but I also wanted a change. So here’s ISBN, pronounced “is-bin”. He’s my new little robot.


I have a bunch of other cool ISBN banners that I’m reveal all in good time.

I hope little ISBN doesn’t get in trouble managing the site while I’m away. (James and I are in Malta from Oct 1 to 21.)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Word on the Street This Sunday

Strong Man

The Word On The Street is Canada’s annual book and magazine extravaganza. Check out author readings, exhibits, performances, magazine displays, book displays, and all-round literary mayhem.
Calgary, Halifax, Kitchener, Toronto, Vancouver

Vancouver’s Word On The Street is back for its 13th year on Sunday, September 30, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Unlucky 13. I’m not sure what it will be like with all the library staff on strike, but I understand the festival is going ahead.

The Vancouver festival takes place on streets and public spaces around Library Square: Hamilton and Homer Streets between Georgia and Robson, the parking lot of Canada Post, and sidewalk of The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts.

For more information, including festival program and site maps for all cities:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chapters Indigo Launches Social Media Site

Tara (aka Miss Rogue) over at HorsePigCow and I have a shared experience.

As an Indigo customer, I received an email note about Indigo’s new social networking site. You create your profile and then create lists of favourite books and join friends and do other social things on their platform.

My problem is that it’s on their platform and I already do the same things on Amazon. Now I should do them on both I assume because some of my readers buy from Amazon and some from Indigo. [Being cheeky: Thank goodness the independents aren’t on board with this whole social net thing.]

Wow, a lot of work for me as the blogger and friendly book girl. Redundancy department of redundancy.

But, I still want to applaud Indigo for making attempts in this area. I haven’t had a good chance to kick the tires, but it was super easy to login and update my profile. That’s a good start.

Where do you go to see this new site?

Check out Tara’s experience—same letter, same site, but she has a personal experience to share about trying to pitch this idea to Indigo years ago.
Here’s the post Chapters-Indigo Goes Social.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Book Browse Widgets

Kate at Random House Canada just pointed out that they launched a book browse function in May and there are several of their books on Canadian sites that now have this function:

My Friday post on this widget is a bit confusing because the HarperCollins site appears to have disabled this feature. I can no longer find it on the site. But here’s an example of a working widget from Random House Canada.

UPDATE: And sadly the script for Random House Canada does not seem to work ...

Cool idea, better execution required. I’m going to keep investigating.

If you look at the detail page, you can see the browse function and the widget. The widget share function is not working on my site, but you can at least look inside the book and see how it works. Detail page for Chocolate.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Association of Canadian Publishers and the Book Publishers Association of Alberta

A Huge Thank You
Many thanks to everyone who attended my sessions on Online Marketing last week in Toronto and Banff.

Thank you also to Jack Illingworth at the Canadian Publishers Association and Katherine Shute at the Book Publishers Association of Alberta for organizing the sessions.


Hire Monique
If you are interested in online marketing services, please feel free to get in touch with me. See the Work Industries contact page.

If you are interested in having me come into your company to talk about online marketing, Jack tells me there is money available in the mentor program for members of the ACP.

Here’s a list of further services that I offer through Work Industries. You can see details on the Work Industries services page.

Subscribe to the Underwire Newsletter
And if you are curious about my Underwire Newsletter: Full Support for Non-Techies, you can subscribe here.

Out of the Office Travel Notes
Just a reminder that James and I will be out of the country from October 1 to 21 and will have sporadic email access. But we’re back full time November 1.

Testimonials and referrals are greatly appreciated. If you have a testimonial that I may share on my websites or with potential clients, please contact me.

Many thanks again.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Browse Inside and Why It’s the Wave of the Future

UPDATE: When I posted about this the widget would take you to the HarperCollins book detail page. From that page there was a link to BookBrowse. Those links no longer appear on the website. I’m not sure why. So the coolest feature ever appears to be disabled :-(

Craig Miller of LibreDigital is here presenting on online marketing technology and he is showing an example of a widget that they’ve created for publishers who are storing their digital assets with LibreDigital.

And, LibreDigital is super cool. If I could use this type of widget for all the books I review, I would be a very happy reader and reviewer.

Why because I can tell you how good the book is, but it’s my subjective opinion. It would be great if I could give you a link to look inside yourself.

I am salivating, this is so cool.

Publishers—please start thinking about how to empower me as a fan of your stuff. This is one way to do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Boy Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes stories are by far my favourite detective stories of all time. James and I have watched all the videos and read most of the books.

Yesterday I gave a presentation for members of the Association of Canadian Publishers on online marketing. We were talking about how long it takes to make a blog post so I asked for a book from the audience—The Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock was the proffered title.

The Eye of the Crow turns out to be a series about a young Sherlock Holmes. The boy detective is as sharp and witty as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s senior Holmes—I’m looking forward to confirming that myself. The book is published this fall from Tundra Books.

Shane Peacock has a Flash site promoting the series.

[And now you know what I was on about yesterday. Oh, the arcane workings of my brain ...]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

ACP Children’s Publishing Promotion

Eye of the Crow is the book we’re talking about right now.

Buy it on Amazon.ca

This is a cool book that is first in a series “The Young Sherlock Holmes”.

Here’s the publisher’s site.

Author Robert Jordan Dies

CBC.ca Arts - Wheel of Time fantasy author Robert Jordan dies
Fantasy author Robert Jordan, whose Wheel of Time series captivated millions, has died of a rare blood disorder at the age of 58.

I don’t normally read fantasy but I know all about these books because James’ brother Scott has been following the series for about 15 years.

15 years. 11 books.

The author died before releasing the 12th and final book.

Jordan had also stated that the final book would be over 1500 pages because there were so many plot lines to tie up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

J.K. Rowling Comes to Canada

I met JK Rowling in 2000 when she made her first visit to Canada. She came to the Raincoast offices and met each and every one of us. Then we all went to the Pacific Coliseum to hear her read and chat to the kids.

WELL HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m just getting on a plane for Toronto but here’s the Raincoast Harry Potter News Alert that I received just now:


J.K. Rowling Comes to Canada

J.K. Rowling will be making an appearance in Canada this fall! J.K.
Rowling will be appearing at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on
October 23 for an all-ages event sponsored by Raincoast Books and hosted
by the International Festival of Authors. J.K. Rowling will offer a short
reading from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, answer questions from
her fans and sign complimentary copies of the final book in the Harry
Potter series for every fan in attendance. The event will begin at

There will be no tickets for sale and numbered and assigned seats will
only be available through random draws.

Beginning at 9:00AM Pacific on Monday September 17, Raincoast will be
holding an online sweepstakes for lucky fans, ages seven and older, to win
one of one hundred pairs of tickets to the J.K. Rowling Comes to the
Winter Garden Theatre event. Raincoast will draw ten pairs of tickets per
day for ten days, excluding weekends, from September 17 though September
28. For full details please go to: http://www.raincoast.com/harrypotter/.

The IFOA, working with The Ontario Library Association (OLA) and their
sister organisation, The Partnership (The Provincial and
Territorial Library Associations of Canada), will also be making hundreds
of tickets available for fans across Canada. Seating at the event will be
capped at 950 attendees.

“J.K. Rowling has always given priority to her fans,” said Allan
MacDougall, CEO of Raincoast Books, “and we and the IFOA have tried to
plan an event that reflects her values. The Winter Garden event will be
intimate, interactive and something that her Canadian fans will never
forget. We are thrilled to have her in Canada again.”


Raincoast Books of Vancouver is the joint publisher of Harry Potter series
in Canada in conjunction with Bloomsbury Plc of London. Since first being
published in 1997, the seven books in Harry Potter series have sold over
350 million copies worldwide and over 11 million copies in Canada. The
trip next month will mark the second occasion that J.K. Rowling has
travelled to Canada. In October 2000, she made appearances in Vancouver
and Toronto.


Remember my little site http://www.sinceharry.com well since I’m flying hither and tither, post on the site for me or post comments here if you are as excited as I am.

And in the post or comment answer this question: what has happened in your life since first reading Harry Potter?




Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reckoning 07: An Appraisal of BC Writing & Publishing


This weekend was a symposium—Reckoning 07—organized by BC BookWorld‘s Alan Twigg, Shadbolt Fellow (SFU).

See Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing info on Reckoning 07 or download the PDF of the Symposium Announcement.

It was pitched as a chance to gather BC’s writing and publishing community together to talk about the cultural successes that are seldom told here—successes that are often overshadowed by the sexier, media-friendly sister, the BC film industry.

What it was was a brilliant documentation of the unique stories behind the birth of BC’s publishing industry. The morning session was a walk down memory lane. And remember, these are publishers—storytellers. It was not a boring session reviewing the corporate histories of BC publishing houses. It was storytime.

Karl Siegler of Talonbooks talked about joining the company in 1974 as business manager and going for tea and cookies with other BC publishers to talk about starting the BC Publishers Group, an organization that would help members collectively promote their titles and prosper.

Randy Fred talked about founding Theytus Books, one of the first indigenous publishers in BC and how the government tried to suggest to them how indigenous publishers could work together and how the native elders were suspicious of natives publishing native works because that had never been done before.

Richard Olafson explained the name “Ekstasis Editions”, ekstasis means to stand outside of oneself and that’s what good poetry does.

Rhonda Bailey of XYZ Publishing, who attended one of my sessions months ago, told me I have changed her life. And she’s now on Facebook and keeping up with her students.

Ron Smith reported that Oolicahn was started over a scotch with Robert Kroetsch, that Rhonda Bailey was instrumental in the early days of the press, and that a fellow—whose name I missed—used to encourage them to go down to the highway and sell boxes of books to the logging truck drivers. They sold cartons and cartons their first year.

It was a family reunion, and the best of sorts.

The afternoon sessions were on the future of publishing. I was on a panel that spoke about online marketing, new technology and what exciting prospects are on the horizon for publishers and authors.

The following session was on the future of writing in BC and the audience was packed with BC authors. I met Zsuzsi Gartner.

And the day ended with an evening celebration of Duthie Books, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Good times were had by all. Thank you Alan Twigg for hosting the biggest and best BC party I’ve ever been to—of course, James tells me his book launch was also pretty big and fun.

As Alan promised, it was not dull.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

BlogWorld—November 7 to 9 in Las Vegas

Quick note, I saw this press release from Business Wire on September 10:
“Blogosphere’s Brightest Stars to Offer Expert Advice to Bloggers, Entrepreneurs, ADV, PR Communities at First BlogWorld & New Media Expo
Business Wire”

BlogWorld & New Media Expo, the first-ever industry-wide blogging conference and trade show is scheduled for November 7-9, 2007 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

There will be more than 60 sessions on blogging, podcasting, video blogging and other types of social media activities.
See the site for speakers and other info.

Discounted pricing is available through October 19.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vanessa’s Gingerbread Cottage Bed & Breakfast

Vanessa’s Gingerbread Cottage Bed and Breakfast is a very cute bed and breakfast in Victoria, British Columbia.

My mom and I spent two nights there and I’ll never forget the incredible breakfasts I had.

Making Perfume

Ayala Sender is a perfumer here in Vancouver, BC.

We met at Portobello West, which is a great craft market that happens the last Sunday of every month.

At some point I registered for Ayala’s newsletter. I dream of making the most intoxicating perfume. And, I just won a contest for a copy of the video Perfume. Thank you Ayala.

My prize arrived in the mail today, along with an email announcement about Ayala’s new website. See how beautiful perfume can be.


You can see exactly how the different forms and concentrations are packaged and the beautiful colours of the perfumes.

Each fragrance has a description and review that will taunt you. And you can now order online.

Ayala Moriel Parfums

Also check out the SmellyBlog: http://SmellyBlog.com/

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Book Review: The Convictions of Leonard McKinley

Every Labour Day Weekend since 1977, writers have gathered to sweat, cry and produce amazing 3-day novels. This “trial by deadline” is going on right now. www.3daynovel.com

But I have other things to do this weekend, like making peach pie, so instead of whipping off a novel, I’m reading The Convictions of Leonard McKinley by Brendan McLeod, a recently published winner of the 3-Day Novel Contest.

McLeod’s protagonist Leonard is a crazy piece of work. I imagine he was born amidst too much caffeine and too little sleep.

In some ways The Convictions of Leonard McKinley is a morality play. Wikipedia defines this as “a type of theatrical allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of various moral attributes who try to prompt him to choose a godly life over one of evil.”

For Leonard the morally bad take the form of round-bottomed cute girls, his desires to achieve NBA fame, and his increasing interest in deviance.

There is certainly a secular nature to Leonard’s desires that conflict with his visions of martyrdom. He promises God that if he performs well at basketball try-outs that he’ll open up an adoption agency when he’s older.

But what starts as innocent questioning of God and morals in the 6-year-old Leonard, even in the teenaged Leonard, gives way to a form of religious fanatisism that cripples him.

The Convictions of Leonard McKinley could be renamed The Ethical Trials of Leonard McKinley. As a child Leonard executes ethical trials for himself: if he is good, his father won’t have another heart attack. As a teen he believes that saying the Lords Prayer and volunteering at the Red Cross will ensure his mother’s safe return home from late nights at the office. But as Leonard enters university his convictions that well being is a reward or punishment determined by God lead to darker thoughts about homosexual yearnings and pedophilia. He creates trials for himself that were funny child-like behaviour earlier but are now disturbing.

Leonard is pretty creepy but the novel is good.

I agree with the quote by author Terence Young, “Brendan McLeod presents us with a protagonist who is at once mesmerizing and ridiculous, charming and offensive ... He draws our attention like a really good house fire.”

And with kind permission from 3-Day Books, here is a short excerpt:

The Convictions of Leonard McKinley by Brendan McLeod.

When Leonard turns six, his father buys him a bike without training wheels because he wants to learn to ride like he is escaping from assassins with lasers. Leonard’s father shuffles him up and down the street, breathing hard at his side until he sustains heart palpitations and Leonard takes off on his own. He flies around the suburban streets of Calgary until he can no longer see his house and has to stop at a store for directions.

“I can’t tell you unless you buy something,” says the clerk. Leonard has no money, so he kicks down the newsstand outside and rides away crying. Two hours later a policeman finds him sulking against a tree and puts his bike into the backseat. He drives Leonard halfway home, but pulls a U-turn after hearing the whole story. They return to the convenience store and the policeman disappears inside for ten minutes. When he comes back out Leonard asks him what happened.

“I gave the bad man a ticket,” says the officer.

“What for?”

“Being a dick.”

“Awesome,” says Leonard.

The policeman pulls away. “Did you kick down his newsstand?”



When the policeman pulls up in front of Leonard’s house his father is being wheeled away on a gurney. The large lights of an ambulance reflect off the gleam of the neighbours’ gaping mouths behind their windows. Leonard’s older brother Steve is standing on the walkway, his hands over his lips as though afraid something will escape from him.

Leonard’s younger brother Nick is wandering around outside wearing his costume from his fourth birthday party last week. Their mother had allowed him to dress up as the sheriff, so he locked his friend Pete in the laundry room after he hadn’t given him a present that involved the California Raisins.

Now, Nick moseys up to the police car. Leonard and the officer quickly get out.

“You killed Dad!” Nick shouts at Leonard. Then he shoots the police officer full of imaginary bullets and dives behind a bush.

“Shut up, Nick!” Steve yells.

Their mother runs up to Leonard and holds him tight to her waist. Then she smacks him on the bum for going missing and kisses his forehead to assure him their father is going to be okay.

Mrs. Shelbourne from next door comes over to look after them while their mother follows the ambulance to the hospital. They eat dinner in silence. Steve, who is in grade six, won’t talk to Leonard because he is just a stupid little kid who still gets lost. Nick won’t speak to Mrs. Shelbourne because she beat him at Hungry Hungry Hippos, except to briefly accuse her of cheating. Mrs. Shelbourne threatens to send him to his room for being impertinent, so Nick says he was just worried about their dad in the hopes that she’ll feel sorry for him and give him a cookie. She doesn’t fall for it and Nick refuses to eat his peas in protest.

Brendan McLeod is a writer, musican, spoken word artist, former Canadian SLAM poetry champion, and previous winner of the 3-Day Novel Contest.