The Longevity Thesis Book Video

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tim Reynolds: Renaissance Man of Calgary

The very first time I attended ConVersion, Calgary’s annual science fiction and fantasy convention, I was fortunate to meet my publisher Gwen Gades (Dragon Moon Press), who subsequently introduced me to a soft-spoken man named Tim. He was wearing a brown vest over a dress shirt, and carried a leather portfolio with him, looking very much a school teacher. Not coincidentally, one of Tim’s degrees is in Education. The other degree is in History. So . . . naturally he must be a history teacher, right?

Tim Reynolds is – are you ready for this? - a Calgary Transit bus driver, an Independent (self) publisher (Cometcatcher Press), under which imprint he has released (or will release) unto the world Stand Up and Succeed (2nd edition 2008), The Cynglish Beat (April 2010), How the Beluga Lost Its Colour (Illustrated children's book coming 2011, Winner of The First Annual Great Canadian Fable Contest,), When Anastasia Laughs (currently being novelized from original screenplay), Made in Heaven: semi-autobiographical fiction (TBA. Tim’s note: Needing a serious edit before submission), and A Stable Full of Loons (written on a manual typewriter over a Labour Day long weekend as part of International 3-Day Novel Contest). He has also recently completed edits on the novel The Psilent One, which he has submitted to a publisher for consideration. When not writing and editing his own manuscripts, Tim is a freelance editor and/or slush pile reader for Dragon Moon Press, for whom he has selected and edited Nina Munteanu’s Darwin's Paradox, and has just finished coordinating the assembly of Podthology - Dark, Light & Twisted Tales from the Podosphere, an anthology in which all stories have been podcast previously or are about podcasting, and to which he has contributed the short stories Uncle Julius and From Anna to Yousef.

His current projects include finishing layout and submission of The Cynglish Beat, planning a comedy-based fundraiser called "Beat Cancer With a Shtick", novelizing one of his original screenplays (a ghost story), planning a unique space-travel anthology, and plotting the sequel to The Psilent One.

In addition to all that, Tim is also an active stand up comic, having performed at Yuk Yuk’s in Calgary & Toronto, as well as The Laugh Shop and The Comedy Cave in Calgary, an international travel photographer with contributions to the Conde Nast Traveler (calendar), the National Geographic Traveler (Room With a View page), and has published 20 postcards, 2 posters, 2 covers on Alive Magazine, as well as photos in 7 books. He also paints and received an honourable mention in L. Ron Hubbard's Illustrators of the Future Contest. Tim can also claim ascendancy to the monikers of Editorial Cartoonist - St. Marys Journal Argus, 1985-1987, Graphic Designer, Canoe Wrangler, and Grandfather.

Barbara Budd, on CBC Radio's As It Happens has called Tim “Canada's modern-day Aesop."

I call Tim the man who changed my life. He also picked my baby out of the slush pile, The Longevity Thesis.

Is there anything left to know about Calgary’s Renaissance Man? He agreed to answer a few questions for me so that I could find out.

JR: Why do you write?

TR: For me, to not write, would be to die. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but I`m brimming with stories to tell and if I don`t tell them I might just bust wide open.

JR: What would be the best thing that could happen to you?

TR: To win the lottery. For the obvious reasons, but also:

i. So I can concentrate on writing and editing where I want (around the world)

ii. To further my education and foster links in the publishing and Hollywood for my works.

iii. So I can set up a science education/experience foundation where sci-fi writers

of all ages and levels can be exposed to CERN, NASA, JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), radio telescopes, observatories.

JR: Your opinion: agent or no agent?

TR: I would love one. I lucked into my meagre publishing contacts. I'm lousy at sales, so an agent would really help, though. A writer's job is to write. Let the agent do the dealing. Once the book is published, then the writer becomes a sales person. Having an agent would simplify this process, I would think, especially with the various electronic rights to be negotiated these days. I think every writer should familiarize themselves with the standard contract and clauses, but if I could get a good agent/manager (and needed one) I'd do it.

JR: Which do you prefer: publishing under your own imprint, or that of a separate publishing house?

TR: Any idiot with cash or credit can publish under their own imprint, but to write something that a reputable publisher likes and is willing to publish is an achievement to be proud of. Now, if you self-publish and get a distributor AND make sales, then that's terrific, but it takes a lot of energy that could be used for writing.

JR: How do you go about setting up your own in-store signings?

TR: i. Scope out the store. Does it seem like the kind of store your readers would frequent?

Would your steam-punk-biker mystery readers shop for books at Everyone-is-Beautiful Book Shop?

ii. Introduce yourself to the person in charge of consignments. Make sure you have a

fresh copy of your book you can let him or her have for consideration. Don't worry, it'll probably end up part of the shelf on the stock, not being a free hand-out.

iii.Once my book is on the shelves in the store I will either email or drop by to set up a

signing. Carry your date-book, calendar, PDA with you so you can book your signing right there on the spot. Being prepared makes you look more professional. Also make sure to give yourself enough time before the signing to have any materials you'll need done. Materials? Banners, signs, bookmarks, postcards, giveaways...

JR: How is Stand Up and Succeed doing? How do you keep up interest in the book and promote sales?

TR: It's not doing well, but sales reflect my efforts. Realizing that it has a very specific (small) readership, I'm now using it more as a calling-card and appreciation gift. Because it espouses my philosophy on just about everything, I once used it as a resume and it actually got me the job. I will still do a signing every few months, just to keep my face in front of the public and the booksellers.

JR: What advice would you give to someone wanting to sell their books through their own website?

TR: Don't print a lot of stock, unless you're going to go all out with marketing/advertising. And don't spend more on advertising etc. than the book will bring in sales. Have another outlet for your books, like Amazon. Now, if your book is tied directly to your business (Investment Broker/"The Ten Best Investments of the 21st Century"), then have excerpts from the book on your website, any testimonials you've received and, of course, a secure way for readers to either purchase the book directly on the website or to at least order them by email. For a start, study the websites of publishers who are selling on the web and model your site after the best parts of theirs.

JR: What inspires you to write?

TR: The world around me. Really. Dreams, books/articles I've read, shows watched, life experienced. It all comes into play along the way.

JR: How do you get around writers' block?

TR: I have many (many many) projects on the go and all in different stages of development, so if I'm not in a writing place, maybe I'm able to work on a cover design, or a book layout, or the interior artwork for a children's book. And if that doesn't work, get out, take a walk, go to a movie, have dinner away from your in-home office. But remember to take a notebook or voice recorder just in case inspiration hits suddenly. Writer's block for me really only comes when I try to remember something I thought of earlier but can't, and get hung up on it because I didn't write it down.

JR: What are five things on your bucket list?

TR: (in no particular order)

i. Ride in a hot air balloon.

ii. Have a publisher like one of my stories enough to buy it and first look at the sequel.

iii. To spend a few weeks/months writing and sketching in and around Paris & Venice.

iv. Swim with dolphins & pet a tiger (and live to tell about it!)

v. Take flying lessons.

vi. A book signing in San Francisco.

JR: In one sentence, what impact has your life had on the world?

TR: I like to think I've made a few more people smile, laugh and think.

Thanks, Tim, for a wonderful interview and for being THE BEST SLUSH PILE READER EVAR!!

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