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Jessica Westhead on Ottawa's Octopus Books

Jessica Westhead's latest book is the story collection And Also Sharks, and she is also author of the novel Pulpy & Midge. In her Canadian Bookshelf guest post, she celebrates Ottawa's Octopus Books and Lisa Greaves, the woman at its helm.

I first met Lisa Greaves in fall 2007, on a Coach House book tour stop at the Plan 99 Reading series at the Manx in Ottawa. After I read from my then-new first novel, Pulpy & Midge, a grinning blonde woman made my night by telling me how much she’d enjoyed the excerpt. She introduced herself and said she owned a bookstore in town, and would I like to read there some time? I said I’d love to.

Photo of Lisa Greaves, Octopus Books

Lisa Greaves, Octopus Books owner-of-amazingness

We hatched a plan for me to visit Octopus Books that spring, along with local author and Octo-pal Jennifer Whiteford. On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, embraced by crammed, colourful bookshelves and a small but very friendly crowd, Jennifer read from her awesome young adult novel grrrl, and I read from Pulpy. Then we launched into an impromptu Q&A session and animated literary gabfest, fuelled by Lisa’s wine and her giddy enthusiasm for both of our books.

I saw Lisa and Jennifer again at Octopus Books’ 40th birthday celebration the following year. That’s right—this independent book …

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"I’ll take the long road and a ballpoint any day": Guest Post by Anne Perdue

Perdue2

This week's guest post is by Anne Perdue who writes about the promotional book tour as a voyage of self-discovery. Anne Perdue is author of I'm a Registered Nurse Not a Whore, and you can read more about her book tour on the Let's See How Far This Car Can Go Blog.

When Insomniac Press offered to publish I’m a Registered Nurse Not a Whore, I was ecstatic. But it was also a time of profound sorrow and loss, as my mom had passed away in Vancouver four days prior. Amidst the bitter sweetness an idea came to me. I would celebrate my book and share it with my mom by driving her ’89 Mustang across the country. On an old-fashioned road trip book tour. And if the old car broke down on the Coquihalla, well that’d be as far as the tour would go. It seemed like a great idea until I realized I had no concept of how to venture forth on a book tour.

I decided to begin with something concrete, or rather asphaltic, namely roads. Using CAA triptiks I determined routes and travel times. Using the Canadian Booksellers Association website I researched bookstores. I placed calls, sent emails, wrote press releases, made more phone calls and plotted my trip, all the while imagining the stunning drive and the interesting conversations I’d have with readers, writers, strangers … A …

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