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New B.C. book fair will support indie authors, Frontier College

In the wake of the recent report on the feasibility of mounting an annual book fair in Toronto, Vancouver’s Black Bond Books has announced an inaugural fair in Richmond, B.C., dedicated to supporting independent writers.

Touted as “Sundance for Books,” Raindance: A Festival for Indie Authors is being mounted by the bookstore mini-chain, which operates 10 locations in the greater Vancouver area. The fair is in partnership with Vancouver’s Vivalogue Publishing, an author services company that provides publishing and editorial assistance to self-published authors. Donations, a book drive, and a post-fair fundraiser will support the literacy work of Frontier College.

Vivalogue director Lynn Duncan says in an e-mail that Raindance is “our first attempt to start the migration from ‘vanity’ to ‘indie’ publishing.” Vivalogue, which also maintains an office in London, U.K., was launched in 2010 “to provide quality, cost-efficient services to self-published authors as an alternative to the POD model,” Duncan says. “It was clear that publishing needed to make the same transition as music and film, where ‘indie’ is an accepted (and often celebrated) term.”

In a press release about the Raindance book fair, Black Bond owner Cathy Jesson explains why the partnership with Vivalogue is a “natural fit”: We welcome this opportunity to promote local independent authors, Jesson says. We also know how important it is to help Canadians improve their literacy and increase their opportunities. Supporting Frontier College is an effective way of doing that.

“As the major independent bookstore chain in the Metro Vancouver area, Black Bond is continually approached by self-published authors,” Duncan writes. “I had increasingly come to believe that something like a co-op model might allow self-published authors to help each other.”

Helping self-published authors gain a foothold in an increasingly crowded marketplace seems to be one of the primary goals of Raindance, which will be free to the public, and feature author readings and one-on-one mentoring sessions with publishing professionals. For $20, participants can learn how to produce and market a self-published work, and $50 will secure a half-hour session with a professional editor.

The inaugural Raindance book fair will be held on Nov. 9 at Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre.