Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Six People Sit Down in Brandon...

Six people sit down for supper. Four are from Saskatchewan, one is from Manitoba and one lives in Ontario. They had not met each other before that night but were soon laughing and teasing as if they'd known each other for years.

Two are book publishers - that would be us. Two show off their race car that has a jet engine propelled by canola-based biodiesel fuel. The Manitoba man sells massage chairs. The Ontario women sells padded mattresses for horses.

What a unique combination of individuals - all of whom met at the 'Welcome Supper' provided for exhibitors and vendors at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon.

Not only can you meet great people at this six-day ag show and trade fair, but you can see so many fascinating things. Here are some of the sights I saw by the end of Day One:

We've arrived at our destination - Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. Signs announce the six-day fair.

This building caught our attention early.
It's Display Building No. 11 and part of a major restoration program.

We're all ready to go - in a roomy corner booth #3 in the UCT Pavillion. We have 15 Saskatchewan and Prairie books for sale (11 are true stories, 2 are Prairie humour and 2 are children's stories). We've also fielded questions already from a couple authors who are thinking of self-publishing their books. Come see us if you're planning on attending the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair this week. We'll be at our booth from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day this week. The show ends on Saturday, March 30.

Allow us to introduce you to our supper companions and newfound friends. Above is Kevin and Gwen Therres of Prairieland Motorsports of Humboldt, Saskatchewan - just a bit northwest of our home in Regina. Kevin is a mechanic. He and Gwen travel a lot to display their race car with a jet engine that sits RIGHT BESIDE THE DRIVER! Kevin tells us he has to wear five layers of clothing to ward off the heat from the engine that can go from 0 to 250 miles per hour in a quarter of a mile. Impressive.

This is Clayton Cracklen, CEO (Chief Euphoria Officer) of The Electrik Chair Ultimate Massage, from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Clay has quite a sense of humour (as you can tell from his job title) and he is spending his time at the fair inviting unsuspecting - and some even willing - customers to take a load off and check out the relief provided by the Ultimate Massage Chair. And no, you won't get an electric shock if you sit in the chair. It's a clever play on words - kind of like DriverWorks Ink. 

And this young woman (doing her best impression of Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune) is Lisa Huber, the Kitchener, Ontario, resident who spends her days selling an exceptionally comfy mattress for horses. That's right - a mattress for horses! The Promat company has a mattress for cows, too, but that is for another show apparently. If you stop by Lisa's booth, you will be invited to not just step on the mattress, but to stand on it with both feet. That's the best way to feel the effect of the padding, which can lead to a happier and more productive horse, we're told. You learn something new every day.
And here are some other sights from Day One:

Manitoba dairy cattle.

 The University of Saskatchewan's Veterinary College offered the chance to learn about some animal parts. Visitors to the Fair can also see...


..a seven-year-old Clydesdale horse named Cooper...

...a Percheron attracting TV media attention (see part of the camera & cameraman on the right edge)... chicks...

...a horse and buggy making its way into a show ring...
...animal pelts at the Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship booth...
...trucks and other pieces of machinery...


...and, of course, cowboy hats.

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair officially kicked off in the Westman Centre (above and below). 


So come say, 'Hi!' We'll see you there!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pobody's Nerfect #3

Here's the third instalment of Pobody's Nerfect, my ongoing list of common typos and errors that we see in manuscripts and published works. Some of these errors are ones that I have made and continue to make - thus the Pobody's Nerfect title. The human brain is a stubborn creature of habit at times and we are all flawed, so we need to get over it and do our best to keep our errors at a minimum, and our consistency in writing at a maximum.

Pay attention to the errors you routinely make. They are easier to spot and correct that way.

Since the stories I write and the books we publish are primarily for Canadian audiences, we use the Oxford Canadian Dictionary and Canadian Press Caps and Spelling as our resources. In general, we use the first version of a word shown in the dictionary. Thus, we use 'instalment' instead of the 'two-l' version 'installment' that is 'also' acceptable in the Oxford Canadian Dictionary.

So here we go with more common typos and errors:
- storey versus story. A house has two storeys. A book is a story.
- your versus you're. Your is the possessive, describing something that belongs to you. You're is the contraction of 'you are', with the apostrophe taking the place of the letter 'a' in you are. You're the writer of this sentence about your life.
- site versus sight. Site is a location - a place you visit physically or on the Internet. (With today's text messaging, Twitter and other methods aimed at shortening language, it is easy to make this mistake.) A sight has several meanings including the act of seeing or something you saw with your eyes. The site of the plane crash was a sight for my eyes.
- to versus too. Both words have several meanings, which does make their correct usage even more confusing. These are two examples: The preposition 'to' is used to express what is reached, as in, 'We are going from here to the school.' The adverb 'too' is often used to state 'to a greater extent than is desirable' or to state 'in addition, also' - as in, 'There are too many people going with you but I want to go, too.'

This brings up another common error which may be disputed by other editors and writers. I prefer that a comma be inserted before the word 'too'. Some editors think a comma is unnecessary. So why don't you choose your method, be consistent in your use of it, then see what your editor prefers?

And finally, my Pobody's Nerfect Correction of the Day.

One particular job title that seems to be popular in our region of the country - but is inaccurate - is that of 'Volunteer Coordinator'. This job title refers to the individual who coordinates the folks who volunteer for that organization. Since this is a full-time paid position (I have to look 'full-time' up in the dictionary every time I use it) and not a volunteer position, it would be more accurate - and I suggest more appealing to potential staff - to rename that job title as 'Coordinator of Volunteers'. What do you think?

So there you have it for now.

Happy writing and editing!

See Pobody's Nerfect #4 post.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Q & A About Self-Publishing

At a recent workshop on self-publishing, I spoke about the steps involved in publishing a book and our services in helping authors to self-publish their manuscripts. The audience was attentive and anxious to learn more about the process. They asked numerous questions related to their own particular projects and to self-publishing in general. Here's a selection of their questions and my answers:

Q - What does it cost?
A - In general, it costs from $5,000 to $10,000 to self-publish a book. (Updated in 2022: That cost has increased to almost double, ranging from $7,000 to $16,000.) The cost varies depending on details such as the length of the book, the amount of editing and layout required, the number of images included, whether the book is printed in full colour or only black and white, and the number of copies printed.

Q - Do I need an ISBN?
A - Yes. Each individual book needs its own International Standard Book Number. An e-book should have its own ISBN - a different ISBN from the ISBN on the printed version of that book. In Canada, you can obtain an ISBN for free from Library and Archives Canada.

Q - How do I create a bar code?
A - The printing company you choose to print your book can create a bar code for your book at the printing stage, based on your ISBN.

Q - How much should I charge for my book?
A - We advise authors to visit a bookstore and look at local books similar to theirs for ideas on size and pricing.

Q - What about copyright? Do I need a copyright certificate?
A - Anyone who writes a book in Canada is automatically protected by copyright, but copyright certificates can be purchased from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

We provide advice and assistance to our authors on these and other topics at all stages of the publishing process. We also do considerable marketing for our authors' books before, during, and after publication. We are passionate about the books we help our authors create and we love telling others about those great books.

Please contact us if you'd like to work with us on your book!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trade Shows, Here We Come!

One of the most rewarding venues we have found to introduce our Prairie books to potential readers is through trade shows. Since 2009, we have set up our booth at numerous shows in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and met hundreds of avid readers, many of whom have become loyal, repeat customers. We have also met would-be authors at these shows and worked with them to improve their manuscripts and get them ready for publication.

Here are some snapshots of recent trade shows as well as a list of where we'll be in the next few weeks.

North Battleford Agri-Mex - 2012

Nipawin Lions show 2012

Outdoors on the main street of Mortlach, Saskatchewan, for their annual Saskatoon Berry Festival 2012

The overall view of Fall Into Christmas 2012 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

We laugh - routinely and often - with the folks who stop at our booth.

Enough said.
(This funny sign was at one of the Swift Current booths across from us.)

We're ready to go at the 2012 Scattered Seeds show, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

We love telling people about our books.

Here is where you can find us over the next few months:
Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 17:  What Women Want Regina trade show, Conexus Arts Centre, Regina SK. DriverWorks Ink booth is one level up from the open-area Show Stage. Friday, March 15, 4 pm-10 pm; Saturday, March 16, 11 am - 10 pm; Sunday, March 17, 11 am - 5 pm. Author Deana Driver will sign her Never Leave Your WingmanThe Sailor and the Christmas Trees and Just A Bunch of Farmers books throughout the show. Author Alan Buick will sign The Little Coat books from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.  Come to our DriverWorks Ink booth and check out our wonderful books! For every 2 books you purchase, we will give you a third book of our choice for free!

Thursday, March 21:   2 p.m., Selo Gardens, Regina SK, Author/editor/publisher Deana Driver will talk about her writing and publishing and read from her books Never Leave Your Wingman and The Sailor and the Christmas Trees.

Monday, March 25 to Saturday, March 30: Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Brandon MB. Author/publisher Deana Driver and publisher Al Driver will sign and sell our Prairie books at the DriverWorks Ink booth in the UCT Pavilion. We will especially focus on The Sailor and the Christmas Trees, the inspiring story from Brandon's own John Hanlon.

Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 6: Agri-Mex Farm, Trade & Home Show, North Battleford Exhibition Park, Agriplex & Agrivilla Buildings, North Battleford, SK. Thursday & Friday, April 4 & 5, Noon - 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Look for our DriverWorks Ink booth and help us donate to worthy charities through your purchases!

Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21: Nipawin Lions Trade Fair, Evergreen Centre, Nipawin SK. Friday, April 19, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, April 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Look for our DriverWorks Ink booth #3 in the Auditorium and check out our great Prairie stories!

We hope to see you there!