A love of words, of books and the stories they hold, of the paper and ink with which they are made—these are the things that inspire Simon Dulac. A printer by trade, Simon founded Bouquinbec just over a year ago, which has since become the most popular self-publishing house in Quebec. He has recently decided to expand his house with the creation of CanamBooks, a service that offers English Canadians the same top-notch personalized service that Quebecers have come to appreciate.
This company owes its swelling success to the experience, vision and tenacity of its founder Simon Dulac. With the help of his wife Sylvie and son Henri, this Norman expatriate built a company that today hosts a staff of nearly ten employees, and a clientele that boasts over two hundred publishers as well as hundreds of aspiring and accomplished authors.
An interview with a visionary who has made it his priority to place the reins of the publishing process back into the hands of authors.
How did you come to create Quebec’s leader in self-publishing?
As a printer I’ve always sought to provide the most innovative and expedient printing solutions.
Eight years ago, I participated in the creation of the first self-publishing solution for graphic novels in France (Manolosanctis). After seeing how positive this experience was, I decided to launch a similar service in Quebec.
What elements brought you to believe in your project?
I started by researching the evolution of self-publishing abroad, notably in the United States and France. What I saw was that self-publishing solutions are occupying a more and more important role in the book market. In the past, self-publishing was primarily aimed at amateur authors and those who could not find a publishing house to take on their work. Today, we’re seeing more and more professional authors turning towards self-publishing in search of an alternative to traditional publishing that is simpler, more expedient, transparent and advantageous.
What makes you different from other self-publishing houses?
Unlike your typical self-publishing house, we offer professional services comparable to those you’d find in a traditional publishing house, as well as a very high-quality printed product. We also offer both direct and online sales solutions, which we have developed ourselves and which have proven very effective. I’d say that what distinguishes us most from other self-publishing houses is our way of working with our authors. We see our engagements with authors as mutually enriching collaborations and opportunities to share our knowledge and know-how with our clients. Recently, this has taken the form of a series of training workshops that we offer to our writers, as well as monthly get-togethers where authors get to meet each other, network, and get to know our staff and team. We want to give the power back to the author, to give the author the necessary tools to control every aspect of the editorial process and revenues.
Now that you have launched Canam Books, Bouquinbec’s English counterpart, you offer your services to the whole of Canada?
We decided to create Canam Books in order to answer an increasing demand from English Canadian authors who are getting their books made in the US and are reaching out to us because they want to bring their projects back home. We also see Canam Books as a way to reach francophone communities outside of Quebec. The launch of Canam Books will take place over the course of two upcoming events in Ottawa: Prose in the Park / La prose des vents and the Editors Canada congress.
You’ve become associated with an event that highlights the 150 th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Tell us a little about this.
Jimmy Ung, Bouquinbec author, recently announced to us that he is going to undertake a transcanadian motorcycle tour. His goal: to meet 150 people who together illustrate the ethnic diversity and cultural richness of this country, to highlight the occasion of Canada’s 150 th anniversary as a Confederacy. Jimmy’s journey holds a particular meaning for us. Our process is in a sense similar to his, since we too reach out to people and help them tell their stories. We will be participating in Jimmy’s adventure as sponsors, and Jimmy in turn will act as ambassador of Canam Books during his travels. We will follow his progress daily and post videos he sends to us in order to experience alongside him the diversity and beauty that our country’s provinces have to offer.