Frequently Asked Questions
Like the music industry, publishing has undergone drastic evolution worldwide in the past fifteen years. Here in Canada, the entrance of 40-year publisher Douglas & McIntyre into bankruptcy protection in October of 2012 was the latest in a series of publishers to fold— following the demise of McClelland and Stewart, Stoddart Publishing and Key Porter Books.
In the past, the economic realities of traditional book publishing— salaries, printing, binding, packaging, shipping and distribution/display costs— have in many cases meant that writers were locked into books of a physical shelf-size that publishers felt could justify the necessary cover price of $20-$30 dollars. Even if the idea itself would be covered in a more compelling way in half the pages, authors and their ideas were often stretched to fit the 50,000-word, 250-page model.
We love magazines and we love traditional books (hefty ones included) but the rise of e-readers and on-demand printing has opened up some new possibilities, including the ability to publish stories (as the motto Amazon's “Kindle Singles” has it) at their “natural length.” No added weight, just the good stuff. In partnership with some of North America's best writers, this is what Nonvella sets out to do.Last updated:
The most obvious answer is our focus on nonvellas. This form of nonfiction is still fairly rare, but is undergoing an exciting revival in North America thanks to publishers like The Atavist, Byliner, Kindle Singles and the website Longreads.com.
Second, as mentioned on our page above, we’re a boutique, writer-owned operation. Our interest is in delivering great books to readers while offering authors a fair share of sales profits.
Third, while we’re big fans of ebooks—they offer affordability, accessibility, and portability, among other advantages — we have an abiding love of well-made print books. So we want to take the ongoing revival of nonvellas a step further: offering both ebooks and collectible hard-copy volumes to readers who, like us, love the feel and experience of reading in print.Last updated:
Ebooks will be affordably priced ($2.99-$3.99) as will print books (around $9.99). But we hope to offer readers an even better deal by instituting some form of subscription model in the coming year.Last updated:
Yep, we're Canadian. We’re based in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Besides annual rainfall that makes cafe-bound readers of many of us for several months of the year, BC has a tradition of great nonfiction publishing: from Douglas and McIntyre’s venerable Greystone imprint to New Society Publishers and Transmontanus Books (occasional publishers of nonvellas in attractive print volumes for many years now).
We do plan to publish Canadian writers, and many of them, but not exclusively. We’re seeking writers from Alaska to Newfoundland to Mexico City. If you’re a great writer with a nonvella in you, get in touch with us via the Submissions link on our website.Last updated:
Not exactly. In North America, the nonvella tradition of long-form nonfiction reaches back to Thoreau, E.B. White, and James Baldwin— and includes narrative journalism as well as essays by the likes of Jon Krakauer, Scott Russell Sanders, and Annie Dillard. (Sanders’ classic "Settling Down" appears in our first Nonvella Anthology, 'Far From Home,' which we’re offering as a reward).
Here are some of our favourite classic nonvellas:
• Jon Krakauer’s "Into Thin Air" (originally published at about 15,000 words)
• Susan Orlean’s "Orchid Fever" (which was later made into a book— and then a film) and "Life's Swell"
• James Baldwin's "Down at the Cross" from 'The Fire Next Time'
• David Quammen’s “Megatransect”trilogy for National Geographic
• Diane Ackerman’s lyrical and science-rich pieces on crocodiles, bats, whales and others for The New Yorker (several of which were collected in the classic anthology 'The Moon By Whale Light')
• Cris Beam's memoir "Mother, Stranger," published by The Atavist (check it out here: https://atavist.com/stories/mother-stranger/)
This kind of writing has been around for a long time. You could call it long-form, or short-form, or "nonfiction of a certain length"... but we like the word nonvella.Last updated:
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