by Hani Yassine
The Lance – Arts Editor
Have you finished writing a manuscript, but you’re unsure as to the next step? A recent workshop was held to help guide novice authors into getting their written work published.
A small round table was filled up in the Arts Council Windsor Region’s Artspeak Gallery for a two-hour publishing 101 class the evening of Oct. 12. It aimed to talk about the numerous options authors have upon completing a manuscript and weighing their pros and cons, from going through a traditional route to taking the steps to get work self-published.
The workshop was helmed by Justine Dowsett, owner of the locally rooted Mirror World Publishing, which has had 22 books published since its creation in 2014. Among the key points she hopes to get across with those attending the workshop is how the practice of publishing is inherently a business.
“Whether you’re coming at it from a self-publishing perspective or just an author looking to be published traditionally, it’s a business and you’re going to have to do all the marketing and legwork involved, and you should go into it with that mindset,” Dowsett said.
A journalist by trade, Clara Benedek finds herself more engaged in creative works on her spare time. Having been working on a book on and off for the past year, which she describes as a coming of age story which mixes fact with fiction, she attended the workshop to grasp the basics of publishing, as she believes it would essentially prevent plenty of wasted time.
“Just go about it the right way, so you don’t take some work that’s really precious to you and spent a lot of time working on, and then you make a mistake or just take the wrong road, and it’s all for nothing,” Benedek said. “You definitely want to absorb as much information as you can from as many different people as you meet in your community.”
Between getting a manuscript published and finding a publisher to bring forth said manuscript, Dowsett says the meat of the workshop itself was set to deal with writing a query letter, which is practically a cover letter sent to either a publisher or agent which describes the book, its history and purpose to have it stand out amongst the numerous submissions.
From personal experience, one of the biggest lessons Dowsett learned in publishing falls towards doing the proper research.
“No matter what you decide to do, whatever path you take, you want to research that thoroughly so that you make sure you know exactly what you’re going to get out of it, so you’re not getting false expectations,” Dowsett said.
The workshop was in partnership with BookFest Windsor, which also served as a lead up to this year’s schedule which goes from Nov. 4 to 6.