• Cori Howard
  • Between Interruptions is now an e-book and other tales from the world of self-publishing
Between Interruptions is now an e-book and other tales from the world of self-publishing
Written by
Cori Howard
November 2011
Written by
Cori Howard
November 2011

Last spring, I got a phone call from my agent. It wasn't the kind of phone call writers get every day. In fact, what had happened to my book was so unusual, so unprecedented, no one knew what to do. My publisher, H.B. Fenn and Company (formerly Key Porter) had gone bankrupt, leaving 125 employees out of work, the publishing world slack jawed and many, many writers wondering what that meant for them and their books. The bankruptcy was so unusual, it even made news in the US, a county that doesn't normally pay attention to Canada – despite the rise in numbers of Canadian authours winning the world's top awards. South of the border, publishers, agents and writers wondered if that was the H.B. Fenn bankruptcy was the first death-knell for an industry is massive transition. Turns out, it wasn't. Yet.

What it meant for a large number of writers though was stress. Some writers had their books taken over by other publishers. Some writers – who had yet to complete their manuscripts – lost the rights to publication entirely. My book, Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood – an anthology that was published in 2007 – became mine again. That's why my agent was calling. The rights to my book, she said, were reverting to me. What that really meant was that I was on my own. I had to buy back as many printed, paperback books as I could afford, pay for them to be shipped from a Toronto warehouse to Vancouver and figure out how to sell them on my own. 

At some point, i was so exasperated and confused, I thought I would just let the book die and mourn its passing. But there was this part of me that believed books should last forever. That they go on to live in libraries and bookstores and now, online as e-books and I wanted for my baby the same future that others books would have. A bankruptcy shouldn't kill that dream, right?

So, I went online and researched and read and got more and more confused. How would I go from traditional publishing to self-publishing? I read the rules for posting a book as an E-book and decided it was all way too much. I hired iuniverse to do it for me. It was a compromise. It was expensive, and they are not book people. In fact, when I told their sales people the story, they were more confused than I was. They had never, once, turned a traditionally-published book into one that was self-published. I can't tell you how many times I had to tell them the whole story. "But ma'am," they would say, "you already have printed copies of the book?" 

"Yes, I do," I would respond, patiently and slightly irritated. "I have 700 copies in my basement. Would you like one?"

But – the silver lining: Between Interruptions is now finally available as an E-book. It's cheap. It's accessible. And I hope you will help me spread the word to your mom friends who haven't yet read it. I am my own publicity department, whether I like it or not. And I am not out to make a million in royalties. I am out to ensure my baby survives, that the heartfelt, poignant stories of transformation, of becoming mothers, aren't lost. The essays in that book have meant a lot to many readers over the years. I have read your emails and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to create this book and to share these stories with readers around the world. 

And I'm eager to see how this self-publishing experiment turns out. So here's the link to Between Interruptions: the E-Book. Please share it with as many people as you can.


In gratitude,



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