Like many first-time authors, Heather Pattullo didn’t realize the journey she was getting herself into when she decided to self-publish. On a steep learning curve, she encountered many hurdles along the way, including a 4-month waiting period to gain permission to use the images in her book.
But, her ‘cross-Canada guidebook’ Positively Canadian: A fun guide to Canadian language, culture and history, couldn’t have been released at a better time.
On the cusp of Canada’s 150th birthday, Pattullo has been taking advantage of any opportunity to feature her book, and it’s certainly paying off.
“The end was worth the means to get there. My fingernails are growing again” she said.
Not only has it been extremely rewarding to finally hold the book in hand, but also Pattullo said she’s been overwhelmed with the response from those she’s connected with so far.
Taking advantage of the waiting period to develop some good working relationships with those in her local community, Pattullo has already had book signings at Albany Books in Tsawwassen and Black Bond Books in Delta. Both bookstores are now carrying her book on consignment.
She was featured in her local paper, the Delta Optimist (read the article here,) and was also invited to sell her book at the national and provincial conventions for the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in Vancouver at the end of May.
Her calendar is already filled up with events throughout July, including book readings and signings at three Fraser Valley Regional libraries in the Delta area, and a signing at the Granville Chapters in Vancouver on July 9.
Pattullo has approached private schools and the Vancouver Community College, to add copies of her book to their libraries for students to read and learn about Canada. She’s already sold the first 150 copies of the book, and a second order has arrived for her upcoming events.
“I haven’t even tapped into the all the ESL schools in Vancouver,” said Pattullo. “I still have lots of places to go, I’ll probably be busy until Christmas!” she laughed.
Beyond her local networks, Pattullo will be contributing a 700-word feature about the book for Our Canada Magazine’s “Showcase” section, which highlights the talents and projects of Canadians from coast to coast. The book will also be featured in the Vancouver Sun as part of a book roundup for Canada 150.
While Pattullo has definitely been taking advantage of the relevance and timeliness of her book’s theme, she’s also mastered the art of book networking. She’s always got a copy of her book on hand, ready to integrate it into any situation.
Recently, while sitting in a car wash, two ladies saw she was from Tsawwassen and asked if she knew their Tsawwassen friend who is a poet. She replied, “I certainly do! I just met her last evening as we were introduced as fellow authors. She showed me her poem and I showed her my book – this one!” Both ladies purchased a book on the spot.
Networking is also how she managed to get her book onto the Canada 150 display table at Home Hardware in Tsawwassen. She and her husband were running an errand one day and noticed a Canada 150 window display.
“I went to the back of the store and asked someone who worked there, ‘Who would I have to ask if I could put a book on the table?’ The guy said ‘You can ask me.’ So, I hauled a book out of my bag and said ‘Well this is what it would look like, and I think it would look great on your table,’” explained Pattullo. “So, there they are on the little glass table in the Home Hardware store,” she said of the two copies she left behind.
Passionately persistent, she’s on a mission, and prepared to devote as much time as it takes to reach her marketing goal.
“Sure, I’d like to cover some of the publishing costs, but it was never about the money. Mainly, I just want everybody I can possibly get to enjoy this “trip” across our wonderful Canada, she said.
Pattullo plans to keep engaging with schools in the area as well as welcoming organizations for newcomers, in the hopes that it will become an educational resource. “It’s so great to think that there will be kids in elementary and high school reading this book about Canada,” she enthused.
For more about Positively Canadian, visit www.positivelycanadian.net.