The story behind Sisters Publishing

How did you get the idea for Sisters Publishing?

Margôt:

I am a member of a powerful writers’ group in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Called The Writers in Group, it is the oldest writers’ group in the city. Several other members are self-publishing their work.

Margaret Westlie’s project, Selkirk Stories, is particularly intriguing. Also, Patti Larsen, who self-publishes under Purely Paranormal, lives on Prince Edward Island, and I have attended a couple of her workshops on writing and self-publishing. I greatly admire Patti’s work and initiative.

My sister, Brenda, is a wonderfully skilled designer, so I wondered if we could combine our skills and interests to get our own self-publishing project underway.

Brenda:

Margôt called me up last Christmas and suggested the project. I came up with the name Sisters Publishing. There are actually three of us. Three sisters. That’s why there are silhouettes of three girls. I wanted to include all of us.

What has the process of getting Sisters Publishing ready for market been like?

Margôt:

Fun, stimulating, but at times perplexing is how I remember it.

The creative part was wonderful, but there was also paperwork that had to be done—getting registered with Library and Archives Canada for ISBN numbers, and getting set up with Amazon’s CreateSpace.

I am not fond of paperwork, but it had to be done. Brenda sent me her beautifully crafted layouts, and that is what kept me going. I envisioned the final product and was glad of it.

Brenda:

It took a little longer than I thought. Finding time after my regular design work and having a family is always a juggle. I wanted to try CreateSpace to design and layout a novel. Margôt and I thought it would be best to try one of hers first – When the Circus Comes to Town and Other Stories. Also, I wanted to experiment with an internet template (WIX) for the website to see if it would work and fullfill our needs. So far so good....

What sort of books do you plan to publish?

Margôt:

In the main, books for Junior and Young Adult readers.

We are starting with When the Circus Comes to Town and Other Stories, which I actually wrote several years ago. An earlier version was published in 2002, and Brenda did the design for it, too. This was before publishing programs like CreateSpace were available. I lived in British Columbia’s West Kootenay then, and the book did well, selling over 500 copies in the West Kootenay region at the time.

Our new version of When the Circus Comes to Town is a second edition. It’s been reedited, and Brenda has totally reupholstered it with a new layout, but at the same time keeping Deb Borsos’s original artwork as part of the production.

I am particularly interested in publishing historical fiction for Junior and Young Adult readers. There are many historical topics that I think young people need to know about, and a good way to get them this information is through storytelling.

The next book we plan to publish is Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince. It is for Junior readers.

I’ve been working on a PhD for the past five years, and am about to graduate. My historical subject is Mary Prince. She is the first known enslaved black woman from Bermuda and the West Indies to tell the story of her life.

I first learned of Mary in a fourth year English course at Simon Fraser University when I was thirty. How I wish I had known her story when I was a child! To me, it is life-changing.

Brenda:

For me, I think designing and laying out different kinds of books would be fun. Kids' books appeal to me because they can be so bright and playful.

What does the future of Sisters Publishing look like to you?

Margôt:

It’s very bright. Brenda and I have other occupations that keep us busy, but we hope to publish two books a year, beginning with When the Circus Comes to Town in late 2015.

Brenda:

Self-publishing is an open door to self-expression. New self-publishing programs like CreateSpace and Blurb are wonderful opportunities to help any creative people bring their work to public awareness.


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