The power of giving

Award-winning Canadian writer Terry Fallis gives away his novels in audio form – an investment that’s paid off well for him.

Terry Fallis

Many of us have heard how Terry spent a year sending off the completed manuscript of his debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, to countless agents and publishers. Except for an email rejection from one Toronto literary agent, he got absolutely no response.

So in January 2007, he began the self-publishing process by podcasting the novel, chapter by chapter, and making it available free-of-charge on his blog. His audience began to build. An audience from all around the world.

He self-published a paper edition of the novel that won the Stephen Leacock Medal  for Humour in 2008. And his writing career skyrocketed. “On April 30, 2008, my life changed,” Terry told Sisters in Crime Toronto last night.

Beverley Slopen, the agent who’d rejected him, took him on. Terry signed with McClelland & Stewart, which republished The Best Laid Plans later that year. Last year, it was named the essential Canadian novel of the decade by CBC Canada Reads.

Terry sees the free podcast as the key to finding a traditional publisher – which he admits was his goal all along. The freebie is still on his blog, and so is the free podcast of its sequel, The High Road, which M&S published in 2010.

“They think podcasting is a valid way of building an audience,” he said. “I’m going to podcast my third novel, Up and Down, which McClelland & Stewart will publish in September. If listeners like the podcast, they’ll want to buy the book.”

About rosemarymccracken

Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based fiction writer.
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