Brian Brennan – 3 new reprints now available

Brian Brennan has been featured previously on Reading Recommendations five times, and is back now with information on how he’s managing to keep his traditionally published out-of-print books in print.

Don’t Let Your Books Go Out of Print!

By Brian Brennan

That’s the advice I would give to any author who receives a statement from their trade publisher listing their book’s status as “OP.”

I received three such statements from my publisher, Fifth House, in 2014:

One was for Alberta Originals: Stories of Albertans Who Made a Difference, a book of biographical profiles that had sold more than 5,000 copies after it was published in 2001.

The second was for Scoundrels and Scallywags: Characters From Alberta’s Past, which had become the most successful of all my books, with more than 10,000 copies sold after publication in 2002.

The third was for Boondoggles, Bonanzas and Other Alberta Stories, which sold a comparatively modest 3,000 copies after publication in 2003.

I didn’t like the idea of my titles going out of print. I was particularly saddened to see Scoundrels disappear from the catalogues because it had been my favourite. Villains always make for more interesting stories than those who walk the straight and narrow. I decided I would keep all my titles available by self-publishing them as ebooks.

Human Powered Design, an independent Canadian company that specializes in turning manuscripts and print-design files into ebooks, did the EPUB conversions for me. It then sent the titles to Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Apple (iTunes) and OverDrive, the American company that distributes ebooks to libraries across North America. That put the books back into circulation, at least, but left me feeling it was not enough. As much as I enjoy reading books on my iPad – especially while away on vacation – I still like to hold a print book in my hands and savour the tactile enjoyment of leafing through the paper pages. I believe others feel the same way.

Enter CreateSpace the on-demand publishing company owned by Amazon. I sent CreateSpace the press-ready cover and interior PDFs I had asked Human Powered Design to generate for me after it did the EPUB conversions. And for no charge, CreateSpace uploaded the PDF files onto its platform, making them available as print-on-demand books that could be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, indiCo and other retailers.

So how does CreateSpace make money if it doesn’t charge anything upfront for publishing books on its platform? It waits until the paperbacks start selling and then collects a percentage. In most instances, this works out to about 60 per cent of list price for CreateSpace, which leaves 40 per cent for the author. This arrangement suits me just fine. Fifth House used to pay me a royalty of 10 per cent for my paperbacks.

The CreateSpace versions of my three books resemble the Fifth House versions because I have the PDFs of the original designs. Without these, I could still have republished the books because CreateSpace provides do-it-yourself authors with free tools, including a cover creator and interior reviewer. For a fee, I could also have availed of the professional services CreateSpace offers for designing book covers and interiors.

All three of my books focus on the colourful personalities and social history of Alberta. If you’d like to learn more about or purchase any of them, either as paperbacks or ebooks, here are the links:

Alberta Originals
Scoundrels and Scallywags
Boondoggles and Bonanzas

My thanks to Susan for allowing me to take up some of her valuable online space to post this.

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Brian Brennan – update on a new collection of previous “Brief Encounters”

Brian Brennan has previously been featured a number of times on Reading Recommendations, first in Nov. 2013 when he was the 6th author I promoted here, but significantly on my other blog, when he announced he’d be reprising his Brief Encounters series of columns he wrote for The Calgary Herald, back in the day, and running them again in the new online magazine, Facts & Opinions. At the time, I had said to Brian, “You know, this collection of essays might make a great book …” and, what do you know? Here’s Brian to tell us about his most recent publication!”

Encounters cover

Brief Encounters: Conversations with Celebrities
by Brian Brennan
Genre: Nonfiction, journalism

Brief Encounters is a collection of 63 stories drawn from interviews I did with such luminaries as Sophia Loren, Tennessee Williams, Leon Uris and Tammy Wynette during my 15 years as an arts and entertainment reporter. The interviews were conducted originally for the Southam newspapers in Canada, reimagined and expanded for the respected online journal Facts & Opinions and now available as an eBook.

Brian hedshot Why does the song “Amazing Grace” still occupy a very special place in the repertoire of singer Judy Collins? Why did Robertson Davies abandon what appeared to be a successful career as a playwright in Canada to start writing novels? Why did Sophia Loren go back to Italy to serve a jail term for tax evasion? Why did Tom Lehrer totally disappear from the scene after establishing himself as one of America’s cleverest and wittiest satirical songwriters? Why did Michael Nesmith quit The Monkees to start making music videos? Why did Shari Lewis start conducting symphony orchestras after she had endeared herself to kids all over the world with a comedy ventriloquism routine involving a cute sock puppet named Lamb Chop? Why did Chubby Checker go through 20 pairs of platform boots a year to keep his audiences twisting the night away? These are some of the questions Brian Brennan asks and answers in this collection of stories based on conversations he had with celebrities during his 15 years as a newspaper entertainment reporter. In many instances, Brennan reports on things they said which weren’t included in the original articles. The featured celebrities also include Tennessee Williams, Chuck Berry, Tammy Wynette, Bob Newhart and many others.

Links to buy Brian’s book:
Amazon Kindle
Kobo
iBooks
Also available for libraries to purchase on Overdrive

For information on all of Brian’s books, please check out his website.

Brian Brennan – an update

Brian Brennan has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013, and with two updates in Dec. 2014 and on my other blog in Feb. 2015.

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Rogues and Rebels: Unforgettable Characters from Canada’s West
by Brian Brennan
Genre: Non-fiction, biography, history

Published by The University of Regina Press

Brian Brennan will be launching the republication of Rogues and Rebels in Calgary at Owl’s Nest Bookstore on Thurs. Oct. 8, 7-8:30 p.m.!

Biographical profiles of 32 larger-than-life Western Canadians – some from recent history, some from the distant past – who dared to be different. These were mavericks, iconoclasts, risk-takers and adventurers who threw away the rulebook, thumbed their noses at convention, and let their detractors howl.

It’s a sequel to Scoundrels and Scallywags, a book I published in 2002 that became a Canadian best-seller. In Canada, a book is commonly acknowledged to be a best-seller if it sells 5,000 copies. Scoundrels has sold more than 12,000 and is hailed by my wine-drinking buddies as one of the most successful books of regional history published in Canada during the first decade of the 21st century.

The characters in Rogues and Rebels include political leaders such as Ralph Klein and Tommy Douglas, social justice advocates such as Nellie McClung and Ruth Gorman, crusading journalists such as Heather Robertson and Gladys Arnold, entertainers such as Billy Cowsill and Shay Duffin, and the woman who co-invented the Bloody Caesar, which is now officially designated Canada’s national cocktail.

Updated brief biography:
I’ve been writing professionally for most of my adult life. I spent more than 30 years as a staff writer with daily newspapers in British Columbia and Alberta, and have been freelancing for the past 15. I have published 11 books of non-fiction and seen my byline in such publications as The New York Times, the Irish Times, The Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star.

Links to buy Brian’s new book:
University of Regina Press
Amazon
Chapters-Indigo

Brian’s promo links for the new book:
Rogues and Rebels Trailer
CBC Radio’s Daybreak Alberta
Brian’s Website

What Brian is working on now:
A book of celebrity profiles based on interviews I did during the 1970s and 1980s with such stars of stage, screen, literature and music as Tennessee Williams, Sophia Loren, Chuck Berry and Richard Harris.

Brian’s current reading recommendation:
Fred Stenson’s Who by Fire, the latest novel to deal with how Alberta’s oil and gas industry affects the people of the province. Great storytelling from an accomplished scribe who knows the industry and knows his fellow Albertans. (Fred Stenson has also been featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Brian Brennan – update on a republication

Brian Brennan was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013 and is back now to tell us about the re-publication, in eBook only, of a book that was previously published in 2002 by Fifth House.

Scoundrels cover-1

Scoundrels and Scallywags (E-book edition)
Smashwords, 2014

Alberta has a reputation for attracting and producing characters with little respect for the law and less for public opinion. In this collection of biographies, Brian Brennan profiles some of the flamboyant, eccentric and downright bizarre people who established this tradition.

Adventurers, criminals, eccentrics, rogue politicians and other scandalous types all come to life in the pages of Scoundrels and Scallywags.

Meet Bill Peyto (pictured on the cover), the legendary mountain man who once let a lynx loose in a saloon to see how quickly the drunks could escape. Or Calgary’s notorious prostitute Pearl Miller, who left such an impression with Canadian soldiers in the Second World War that they responded to the American sign “Remember Pearl Harbor” with “To hell with Pearl Harbour, remember Pearl Miller.” Or Elizabeth “Sweaty Betty” Abbott, an Edmonton slum landlord known for punching out abusive husbands and taking care of their battered wives. Or the reluctant Lord, Fred Perceval, who inherited the title Earl of Egmont but decided after living in his English castle for a few years that he really wanted to be a rancher after all.

They come from all corners of the province and they’re a wild and unruly bunch, but Alberta couldn’t be prouder of them. Scoundrels and Scallywags is a salute to those who have lived within Alberta’s borders – but outside the boundaries of convention.

“A collection of riveting tales about the adventurers, eccentrics and outlaws who dared to be different, and who definitely would not tolerate being ignored.” – Western Living Magazine

“Here is Alberta history in bite-sized, easily digested portions, a lively and entertaining romp through the years.” – Calgary Herald

Here’s where to purchase Scoundrels and Scallywags:

Kindle
Indigo – Kobo
Kobo
Nook
Also available from the iTunes Store

Brian Brennan

BrianB-03E square web Brian Brennan

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Leaving Dublin: Writing My Way from Ireland to Canada (RMB, 2011) My autobiography. Creative nonfiction, which means I made some of it up. Think David Sedaris without the sardonic wit.

Quick description: The story of my coming to Canada from Ireland in the 1960s, first touring the country as a singing pianist, then working for a Prince George radio station as a newsie, and finally embarking on a 30-year career as a print journalist and author.

Leaving_Dublin

Brief biography:
I worked as a staff writer at the Calgary Herald for 25 years before turning my hand to writing narrative nonfiction books about the social history and colourful characters of Western Canada’s past. I’ve now published 10 titles with no end in sight.

Links to buy Brian’s book:
All the relevant bookseller links for Leaving Dublin are on the RMB publisher’s author page here: rmbooks.com
Overdrive – for libraries

Brian’s promo links:
Brian’s Blog
Facebook
Brian Brennan’s Life Stories – Facebook Page
Twitter

What are you working on now? A sequel to Scoundrels and Scallywags: Characters from Alberta’s Past (Fifth House, 2002), which has sold more than 10,000 copies to date. I’m also contributing feature pieces to factsandopinions.com

Brian’s reading recommendation: Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day (Doubleday, 2013) Grady was all set to write this book as a nonfiction history of his own family after a surprising discovery about his racial origins. But after working on it for more than 20 years, he decided it would work better as a novel. It does.