Tag Archives: books

Why must creating an eBook be so mysterious?

“Something to read and enough coffee” originally uploaded to flickr by bibliothekarin

Happy Movember book folks!

We hope you are all having a wonderful autumn season so far. Fall always makes us think about books (although I think about books everyday, since I work in publishing). I think it has to do with the warmer layers, pumpkin spice lattes and mint mochas, and snuggling up by the fire, not to mention that it gets dark by 4 pm. Curling up with a good book just fits right in with all that.

Since books have been on the brain more than usual, I have been doing a lot of eBook work over here at the Playfort. Seems there is a lot of information on tips and tricks for creating ebooks on the interweb. By Googling the subject I was able to find a bunch of good (and not so good) info for creating eBooks using Adobe InDesign. I even managed to turn our current titles into eBooks without any prior knowledge.

The problem arose when I found out that eBooks must meet certain criterion to be considered valid by retailers and others that distribute eBooks, and if they don’t these retailers would not go near them with a ten-foot pole.  And my eBooks did not pass EPUB Check. Of course once I found that out I went searching for information about how to get them to pass EPUB Check, and I couldn’t really find anything concrete. Why must creating an eBook be so mysterious?

Then we found out about eBOUND Canada, a not-for-profit focused on helping Canadian publishers advance their digital engagement. And they don’t discriminate. Even though we are a very small Canadian publisher, they offered us the same level of help and access as they give their larger members. So we signed up to be a member and I instantly had access to tutorials that showed me EXACTLY how to convert my books into EPUBs and how to get them to pass EPUB Check. Because of that I was able to turn five of our titles into validated EPUB format eBooks and should be able to convert them to MOBI (for Amazon’s Kindle eReader platform) pretty easily. So if you are a Canadian publisher struggling with how to turn your print books into digital eBooks, I suggest you become a member of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and eBOUND Canada. They are very helpful and offer great discounts on publishing services to their members. There is a cost to membership, depending on your annual revenue. But if you will use their services, it’s worth it.

If you are an author looking to self-publish, you may have better luck paying a company to create your eBook for you. I managed to find a listing of companies that do this work, although I know there are many others. This is a very new industry, and there isn’t really a master list of where to find these professionals. You should do a bit of research on the companies you are considering paying for this service, as they do not all offer the same services, and you want to make sure they are a good fit with you. Also, with most publishers turning their backlist into eBooks right now, a lot of these companies may be backlogged with work, and I cannot guarantee that they will have the time to take on your project.

I am glad that we have found some great help with ACP and eBOUND Canada, and that our eBooks will soon be available with many online retailers, including Amazon, Apple, and OverDrive (libraries). But my work is not done, so I better get back to it!

Violet 🙂

Are you trying to create an eBook and having trouble? Let me know in the comments and I will try to steer you in the right direction.

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Beyond the Cover: author reading on social justice

This past Saturday, at 7:30 pm, we (Midway Press, a division of Playfort Publishing) hosted an author reading at the SAGA Public Art Gallery in Salmon Arm, BC. Three authors each read from his or her latest published work. Although the story lines and contexts were different, each had a theme of social justice. The event, therefore, carried that exact theme: Social justice.

Three old friends (and authors) decided to get together to discuss a topic that each had recently written about: Social justice. Each spoke about a different aspect, with different stories: Don Sawyer about youth growing up in less than ideal situations, whether it be three native siblings taken from their mother and the reserve and put into separate foster homes, or a young boy witnessing his father die in a horrific car accident, or a teen girl being raped by her church minister in his young adult fiction book Running; Tom Wayman about the Afghan war and its absence and presence in Canadians’ everyday lives as citizens of a nation at war in his collection of poems Dirty Snow; and Carmen Rodriguez about three generations in a family affected by the 1973 military coup in Chile, and their flight to Canada as political refugees in her fictional take on true events in Retribution. Although each book is about something entirely different on the surface, they each speak to how social injustice affects everyone, whether or not they are even aware of it.

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Despite the dark (and I’m sure some of you are thinking depressing) overtones of the topic, each author injected humour into his or her book and the reading, along with something we all can relate to: Hope. It is truly amazing what human beings can overcome when given hope.

The discussion afterwards was lively and fascinating, with a range of points from educational matters in post-secondary institutions, such as leadership and politics, to communication barriers in this new technological world.

The authors signed and sold their books, each at a discount from the list price – even we got our hands on autographed books from Tom and Carmen!

We would like to thank Don Sawyer, Tom Wayman, and Carmen Rodriguez for allowing us to be a part of this enlightening event, as well as all the people who showed up, listened intently, asked questions and gave comments, and bought books from these authors. We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

The PFP team

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How can we make your life easier?

photo is 3133347219_4c16658dd5_m by ky_olsen on Flickr

Hello world!

We recently started to create some super-fun surveys on Survey Monkey, and we just finished one up for all those book folks who order for their libraries or organizations. When we started out with the surveys our goal was to figure out how people order books for their organizations and what frustrations arise with the whole process. How do you order books? Do you find it frustrating to source books? Or is the issue with how you receive the title information from publishers and distributers? Well, we don’t know. But we want to know.

Do you have an opinion on book sourcing and ordering? Tell us what it is! We will listen. 🙂

Click here to take survey

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Summer reading for teens

No Way Out by Melanie Jackson

Hey there,

Our very first YA mystery title was written by Melanie Jackson, who lives in Vancouver, BC. It is a clever and suspenseful novel written for kids aged 11-15 who may be reluctant readers, and at a lower reading level.

The story centres around Sam Jellicoe, a 15-year-old boy from Vancouver who has to spend the summer in Winnipeg with his mother and her flashy new husband, Alvin. To escape the prairie heat Sam goes to a department store. When the power goes out, chaos ensues. A gunman takes Sam and several other people hostage. Sam must draw on his wits and acting skills, and above all, keep his cool.

NO Way Out is a great story to keep young adults reading when out of school, with its easy vocabulary and short chapters. Just in time for summer break!

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Letter from the Publisher


My name is Louise Wallace and I am the publisher at a small Canadian house called Playfort Publishing. We publish Canadian content by Canadian authors and specialize in quick-read titles for reluctant readers. Some of our books have already found homes in Canadian libraries, literacy groups, and college ESL programs. We hope that Canadian content is needed in your community and believe that we have some great options that you will enjoy.

To view our catalogue, click here. If you are interested in receiving information from us regarding our current and future titles, please contact us at sales<at>playfortpublishing<dot>com or visit our website. There you will find reviews, free chapters to read, links to buy our books, and information about each of us here at Playfort Publishing.

We really are a friendly bunch, which is why our motto is “Friendly Fiction for All”. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. We love to be social 🙂 We also would love it if you passed on our information to anyone you think would be interested in high interest fiction titles at a lower reading level. And let us know what you think!

Have a great day!

Louise Wallace, MPub

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And the winner is…

Prize pack awarded to School District 37 Delta, BC

We are very excited to announce the winner of Playfort Publishing’s BC School District Prize Pack draw! To see a list of the school districts involved in the draw, please click here. After lunch I had Louise pull a name out of a hat (actually it was a little paper cup), and the winner is…

BC School District 37 Delta!

Congratulations! We will package up your prize pack and send it in the mail today. We wonder what you will do with the goodies, and we would love to hear about it!

Congratulations and happy holidays!

The PFP team

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Running crosses the finish line!

This book title has been giving me a lot of good blog post titles lately, eh? 😉 hehe. Well, good news folks! As you can probably gather from the title here, Running by Don Sawyer arrived on our doorstep today! A skid of boxes arrived at our door (the door at the bottom of the “steepest stairs in the world,” not the one at the top, unfortunately) and we quickly unwrapped it and started hauling those heavy boxes up the stairs and into our supply closet (our office is pretty small and we tend to run out of space easily). This time I did the honours of unboxing Running and here it is! I don’t think I will ever get bored of these days! Having the final product arrive all pristine and boxed up after months of hard work is such a thrill!

Congratulations to Don Sawyer on the most recent addition to your personally authored library! I have to say that I loved this book, and I’m not just saying that because I am biased—I know that this would have been a favourite of mine if it were around when I was in high school (before I had heard of Don or Playfort). It would make the perfect gift for any young adult or teen, boy or girl.

Running unboxing at Playfort Publishing

Running can be purchased from Playfort Publishing in paperback for $13.95, or in ebook (EPUB, PDF, or MOBI) for $8.95

Catch ya next time!


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Running along

Running by Don Sawyer

We found out that Running by Don Sawyer is ready! Now we just have to wait for them to show up on our doorstep… ah, the waiting game. Well worth it, though.

This story about three friends who run together in the Shuswap area of British Columbia was such a great one. I felt connected to the characters and could see clearly the picture Don Sawyer was painting with his descriptive narration. Even though it is about high school kids, I could identify with and relate to all of the characters—they’re so realistic. Here is the YA title synopsis:

Running is a fast-paced story about friendship, redemption, and the triumph of love. Louie and Paul come from very different worlds. Yet they have one thing in common—tragedies have shattered their families.  To bury their hurt, they run fast and relentlessly. A chance accident on the trails brings the two boys together, and an unlikely friendship grows. Joined by Annie, another loner who has secrets of her own, they form a threesome that runs like the wind in the hills above their town. But a disastrous attempt by Paul to join the school’s cross country squad and an explosive encounter with their star runner turns the alliance upside down. Overcoming their anger and loneliness, the three find a way to become a team again—and hatch an outrageous plot along the way!

Although we don’t yet have the physical copies in hand, the ebook is up online already at a very reasonable price.

Until next time,


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