When I began freelance writing almost 30 years ago, I travelled to all corners of Saskatchewan to conduct interviews for my writing in various Canadian magazines and newspapers. I spoke with funeral directors, farmers, ambulance drivers, doctors, lawyers, housewives, miners, church ministers, business owners, ranchers, politicians, children and more.
It was a wonderful way to find out who lived in this province, what their interests were and what they were doing that I could share with others who might want to know.
Today, as a book author and publisher, I still believe in the need to know your audience. We can't effectively serve our readers unless we find out who they are, what they care about and what they think of our efforts to serve them.
Often, I am pleasantly surprised by the people we meet in our work as publishers. I am also pleased but not necessarily surprised by the personal connections we have that we did not know existed. In November, for example, I answered a telephone call from a woman in Alberta. We began chatting.
She lives in Olds - the town where the child's Canadian Army-style coat in our best-selling book The Little Coat by Alan J. Buick resided for many years (at the Olds Legion. In fact, we held our Alberta launch for The Little Coat at the Olds Legion on Remembrance Day 2009). She and I have another interesting connection regarding Olds, Alberta. My brother attended Olds College some years ago and she once worked at Olds College. Wild, isn't it?
So after chatting for a couple of minutes about our interconnections, she said she was calling to order our Prairie Pilot book. It's 100 true short stories written by a man in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan who was an unofficial air ambulance pilot and flying taxi service in the 1950s. She told me that her husband was a pilot and she was sure he would enjoy the stories of Walter Williams and his adventures. We chatted a bit longer, then I hung up and we sent her the book.
It was great to talk with her that day and be assured once again that the books we publish are being appreciated by readers on the Prairies and beyond.
So to our readers, again I say thank you for your support and making an effort to tell us of our connections and shared stories. Please keep those calls and comments coming, and we look forward to reconnecting and meeting more of you in 2013.
Happy holidays, everyone!