Publishers & Publishing
Links Provided For Your ConvenienceThe publishers listed here are not necessarily endorsed by the Canadian Authors Association. Like other external links on this site, these links are provided only for your convenience.
Publishers: What to Look for in a Publisher
Select the Right Publisher for Your Work
The use of a publisher for your work has obvious benefits, including the editing and other pre-publication processing. You should always check to ensure that the publisher is legitimate and that they are in a position to complete the publication of your manuscript in a market that it will sell.
Publisher Resources for Writers
Always check the submissions guidelines for a publisher before submitting your work. This is where publishers tell you what they're looking for and how they want to have it submitted. These pages will help as well:
- Getting Published by Penguin Books Canada.
- The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia's For Writers provides guidelines on writing, getting published, ISBN, copyright and more.
Review the Publisher's Catalogue
Do yourself a favour and view the other types of works being published by that company. A publisher will seldom publish a newcomer's work in a field that is unusual for them.
You should be prepared to invest time and money in promoting your own book. A business plan will help you to view your writing as a business and avoid common pitfalls.
Literary agents can help in promoting you and your work, but is not essential. Many agents are unwilling to take on clients that have yet to publish. You will find a listing of Canadian literary agents in our The Canadian Writer's Guide Thirteenth Edition.
Review Contracts Before You Sign
You should review any contract before you sign. The CAA (and other writing organizations) can provide help to members.
Avoid Vanity and Subsidy Presses
In most cases you will not recover the cost of publication if you choose to work with vanity or subsidy publishers. In the worst cases you may not even receive the books you've paid for.
The following resources can help to verify the integrity of a publisher:
- Check the Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors lists of current problem publishing houses.
- Read about Subsidy and Vanity Publishers for good definitions and examples of publishers that have not fulfilled the best interest of the writer or the industry.
- Check your local Better Business Bureau for lists of publishers with complaints.
- Check with your local CAA Branch to see if they have experienced problems with a particular publisher and if they can recommend one that will take a look at your particular type of writing.
- Check other writing associations for hints about obtaining a publisher.
Support Those That Help You
Please consider that most writing organizations are run by volunteers or minimal staff and may not have the resources to help you. Consider supporting them by paying their membership dues if you would like their assistance and have determined what organization or set of organizations can provide that for you.
Learn from Others' Experience
If these steps seem overly negative to you, they were placed here for your protection after receiving many emails from writers who lost thousands (and often tens-of-thousands) of dollars when Commonwealth Publications failed to fulfill their contract. We are not suggesting that you not use a publisher, merely that you use good business sense when choosing one.
Listings of Canadian Book Publishers
- Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia.
- Association of Canadian Publishers.
- Canadian Publisher's Council.
- Canadian Publisher's Council — Member Publishers.
- Literary Small Press Publishers listing by Yahoo! Canada. Canadian listings are indicated.
- Online Guide to Canadian Writing — Publishers in Canada.
- Fine & Chapbook/Micro Press Printer/Publishers listed by Greenboathouse Press.
Canadian Book Publishers
- Coach House Books.
- Cumulus Press.
- Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publishing — Publishers of The Canadian Writer's Guide, Thirteenth Edition.
- Lobster Press, based in Montreal, publishes children's and YA books.
- Mother Tongue Publishing—formerly (m)Other Tongue Press.
- Orca Book Publishers publishes books for children and young adults.
- Palimpsest Press.
- Penguin Books Canada.
- Porthole Press is a Canadian publisher of fine cookbooks, directories, and various titles offering an unique perspective of a new world.
- Sono Nis Press.
- Sonotek Publishing Ltd. publishes British Columbia outdoors guidebooks, histories and historical biographies.
- The Porcupine's Quill has been described in the Toronto Star as
one of Canada's best small presses.
Self-publishing is different than a vanity press. The characteristic that separates them is that a self-publisher will be up-front with the actual costs of producing your book and you may shop elsewhere for the various components of the process. They can help with cover design and editing like a regular publisher, except you are paying the entire bill.
Many self-publishers promote a process called print-on-demand (POD) where books are printed as they are ordered. POD costs less for small print runs (but more per book), because it avoids the higher setup costs for offset printing (which is more suited to larger print runs).
An Incomplete Guide to Print-on-Demand Publishers compares a significant number of print-on-demand publishers and will give you a good overview of the industry.
- Ballmedia Book Factory. ()
- Michael Grass House . ()
- Printorium Bookworks () specializes in short-run book printing that includes extraordinary image quality at affordable rates.
- Trafford Publishing offers an on-demand publishing service. (Now in Bloomington, IN, Trafford is no longer a Canadian publisher)
- MOCA Book Design () has a great deal of information about the technology of book design including bindings, paper, internal layout and more.
- Spica Book Design () provides book layout and cover design services.
Other Self-Publishing Resources
- Go Publish Yourself.com. Their goal is to provide you with the best self-publishing resources the Internet has to offer.
- Publishing Basics is a monthly newsletter for the small press and independent self-publisher.
- Para Publishing — Dan Poynter offers a number of resources and several free documents including a cover layout template.
The following pages on this site contain related information:
Updated: February 16, 2013