Archive for the ‘Mark Leslie Lefebvre’ Category

Q & A with The Mark

Monday, July 4th, 2011

I’ve been scanning The Mark ever since discovering that my friend Mark Lefebvre is a regular contributor. Last week, they called and we did a Q&A that went live this morning. We covered a fair bit of turf in the interview and I hope you find something of interest in it. My thanks to The Mark.

Coincidently, the photo they’ve used is from the 2007 launch of the original self-published edition of The Best Laid Plans in the McMaster University Books Store, graciously organized by none other than Mark Lefebvre (who writes and blogs under the name Mark Leslie).

TBLP makes another “Decade’s Best” list

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

This is quite unexpected. Okay, I’m shocked and thrilled at one and the same time. The Mark is a respected daily online forum for news, commentary and debate. One of their regular arts/books contributors is Mark Leslie Lefevbre, a writer and bookseller in Hamilton, and he has compiled a list of his favourite books of the decade. Somehow, TBLP has made the cut. How wonderful is it to be among a list of ten books of the decade alongside J.K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, Linwood Barclay, Stephen King, and Robert Sawyer? Wow. I’m bowled over. You can see the entire list here. Thank you Mark!

Here’s a shot from Mark’s blog where he’s reading the original self-published edition of TBLP:

Bookseller has enlightened digital view

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Mark (Leslie) Lefebvre is a writer, blogger, booklover, and a bigwig at the McMaster University Bookstore. I met him first more than two years ago when he kindly organized a book launch event at the store for TBLP. We’ve stayed in touch ever since. He’s a smart guy with a very enlightened view of the digital revolution in publishing. In his view, and mine, e-books and electronic readers don’t  mean the sky is falling. In fact, he argues that opportunities abound. Check out his thoughtful piece in The Mark. There’s also an nicely put-together audio segment where you can hear some of Mark’s views in his own words and voice (including a generous plug for TBLP!).

Mark Lefebvre piece in Mark

Reflections on self-publishing

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008


Self-publishing TBLP was not my first choice.  After I finished writing it, I spent the better part of a year peddling my manuscript around to agents and publishers with nary a flicker of interest.  To many experienced writers, a year doesn’t seem a very long time, but I confess it did to me.  In December 2006 I could see no evidence that I’d ever interest anyone in my novel.  So it was not with excitement or anticipation that I signed up online with iUniverse to self-publish TBLP.  No, I laid down my money with disappointment and a clear sense of unfulfilled dreams.  But those feelings dissipated in time.  My calculation was a simple one.  I convinced myself (and I’m glad I did) that it would be easier to build an audience for my work, and interest agents and publishers if I could actually put a published book in their hands (okay, a self-published book that didn’t look like many self-published books).  I was, and still am, fully aware of the often well-earned stigma of self-published books.  For many readers, self-published works cry out that this writing, this story, this book, is just not worthy of mainstream publishing houses.  The common refrain from critics is that if the quality is there, it will eventually find a home with a publisher.  Intellectually I know this is not necessarily true.  But it’s been true often enough to entrench this belief.  I knew all of this, but went down the self-publishing road anyway, feeling that it at least gave me a chance to get my novel “out there.”

So what’s my view of self-publishing now?  Well despite the success of my rather unorthodox journey to the published land, self-publisihing still wouldn’t be my first choice.  Being published by a mainstream house brings so many benefits that it remains the goal to shoot for if you’re an aspiring writer (as I still consider myself to be).  But, if that route doesn’t pay off, self-publishing is an avenue worth considering if the circumstances are right.  As for my charmed year in 2008?  None of this would have happened had I not first self-published TBLP.  Were it not for the TBLP podcast and iUniverse, there would never have been the Leacock shock, Beverley Slopen, Doug Gibson and McClelland & Stewart, and all that has come since.  So self-publishing worked for me.  But because it has worked and I’ve somehow found a home with M&S, at least for TBLP, I’m hoping I won’t need to resort to self-publishing in the future.  And that was the point of trying it in the first place.  So, not necessarily self-publishing but self-publishing if necessary…

Back to McMaster for Mac Reads

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

McMaster will always be a special place for me.  I spent six years there earning a mechanical engineering degree and immersing myself in student politics.  My McMaster experience led directly to my pursuit of politics after graduation and stints on Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park.  Jumping ahead, the first official book event I did was a launch and signing at the Mac bookstore Titles last October, thanks to the support and efforts of Mark Leslie Lefebvre a writer and blogger who works there.  So it’s fitting in a way that on October 29th, just over a year later, and what a year it’s been, I’ll be back at Mac presenting TBLP to the Mac Reads Book Club.  Who says you can’t go home?

At last I have it in my hands…

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

My friend and editor/publisher Doug Gibson dropped by unexpectedly tonight bearing the first copy of the M&S edition of TBLP.  What a thrill it is to hold it.  It’s much thicker than the original iUniverse version.  A much better “package” in every respect.  I’m over the moon.  If the forces that be at M&S are happy with it, they’ll start shipping to bookstores in the coming days.

I posted when my author copies of the original version of TBLP arrived almost exactly one year ago.  Here’s the post from September 6th, 2007.  My how my writerly life has changed in twelve short months.  What a ride.

Here’s a shot of Douglas Gibson and me, neither of us really looking our best, minutes after he arrived to deliver the first copy.

I’m back online after two weeks up north…

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

I’ve just returned from the family cottage on Georgian Bay where I’ve just spend two weeks offline with my family. It was wonderful despite an unusually high mosquito count. I read several books, swam, slept, ate, and watched movies at night with my two sons. It was strange being completely discounted for two weeks (although my BlackBerry worked sporadically if I stood at the highest point on our property and stuck my BB in the air like the Statue of Liberty’s torch) but I managed. My in-laws arrived from Nova Scotia and we had a great visit. We saw some wildlife when we dropped off our recycling one day and my mother-in-law took this great shot.

We also took them on a day trip to Orillia to visit the Stephen Leacock Museum. Here are a couple of shots showing me sitting in Leacock’s library and the display in the Leacock Medal Room showcasing books and artifacts from the 61 year history of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

I’ll be back to Orillia on July 25th to do a public reading at the Summer Leacock Festival. I have to read for 30 minutes so I’ll need to decide which sections to present. My heart rate is slightly elevated already.

By the way, here’s the great Hamilton Spectator article by Mark Leslie Lefebvre that I mentioned in an earlier post. Thanks Mark!

Stay tuned for more information about all the events I’ll be doing in the fall to coincide with the release of the McClelland & Stewart edition of TBLP.

It’s nice to be back…

Out of town and offline for two weeks…

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

After a very eventful yet wonderful spring, I’m off to the cottage for two weeks with my wife and two sons for our summer vacation. I’m looking forward to reading and continuing my fledgling efforts to map out the sequel to TBLP. In the meantime, the M&S edition of TBLP is well into the production process now. The cover design is complete, cover copy is approved, and the book layout, all 314 pages or so of it, is done. I met earlier this week with the publicity team that will be doing all they can to make sure copies of TBLP fly off bookstore shelves in October. I’ll be doing a number of speaking/reading gigs to support the novel including the Ottawa International Writers Festival and the Headwaters Arts Festival in Orangeville. There’s apparently an article about, and/or review of TBLP podcast coming out this weekend in the Hamilton Spectator written by Mark Leslie Lefebvre. I hope to be able to read it just before packing up the minivan and heading up the 400 to Twelve Mile Bay.

(Update: In fact, two Mark Leslie Lefebvre articles ran.  You’ll find the TBLP podcast review article here and a second interesting piece here on how independent authors are using podcasts to build an audience adn break through into traditional publishing.  Nice job Mark and thanks!)

By the way, a segment on Global Television’s CEO TV about yours truly and TBLP will air Saturday, July 5th at 11:30 a.m. You should also be able to catch it on the CEO TV website by Monday, July 7th.

I’ll check in as soon as we’re back. (I’m not sure how I’ll survive offline for two weeks but I’m looking forward to trying…)

TBLP in Canadian Bookseller Magazine

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

My friend and fellow writer Mark Leslie Lefebvre just wrote an article for Canadian Bookseller magazine about the rise of free podcasting as a way of building a pre-publication audience for a book. This is the approach I tried out with TBLP. The TBLP podcast was up and available in its entirety many months before the novel was ever published in print. I’m convinced the interest and community engendered through the podcast really helped when TBLP finally became an actual book. The article is interesting and foreshadows possible changes in the world of traditional publishing as more and more authors employ social media tools like blogging and podcasting to drive interest and build audiences. Thanks for the profile Mark!