Terry Fallis: a social media / publishing Cinderella story

Yesterday, Terry Fallis‘ first novel, The Best Laid Plans was selected as the essential Canadian novel of the decade in the Canada Reads competition.

This is just one more step in what already has been a remarkable journey:

  • Canadian PR exec feels he has a novel in him,
  • writes the novel in his spare time,
  • searches with no success for an agent or a publisher,
  • self publishes his novel,
  • sets up a blog,
  • reads the novel chapter by chapter in a podcast,
  • builds a fan base of people who read and love the novel,
  • gets noticed by the Leacock Medal Committee,
  • is shortlisted for the Leacock Medal,
  • wins the Leacock Medal as Canada’s top humorous novel,
  • gets a big time literary agent,
  • gets a publishing deal with prestigious McLelland and Stewart,
  • writes a second novel,
  • has both novels on the bestseller list,
  • is nominated to the 10th Anniversary Canada Reads search for the essential Canadian novel of the past decade,
  • is shortlisted for the Canada Reads award,
  • is selected as THE essential Canadian novel by the Canada Reads panel of celebrity judges…

Talk about a Cinderella story!

And what did Terry do immediately after learning that he’d won the Canada Reads competition? Well, he came to work. Talent, celebrity and still has his feet on the ground.

Happily for me, Terry’s workplace is Thornley Fallis. And our Mike Edgell grabbed him long enough to record this video interview. Watch it to see how one of the nicest guys around reacts when he discovers all of his dreams are coming true.

Other posts about Terry Fallis’ journey into Canadian publishing fame

Terry Fallis won the Leacock Medal!

Terry Fallis talks about what it meant to be shortlisted for the Leacock Medal

The Best Laid Plans joins some impressive company

Promoting a Book with Social Media

Taking The High Road with Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis talks about The Best Laid Plans and the Leacock Medal shortlist

Terry Fallis, the Fallis in Thornley Fallis, isn’t content just to be a successful public relations executive. No, he feels the need to scratch his creative itch in others ways. Most notably, by writing, publishing and promoting The Best Laid Plans, a political novel set in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

And clearly he not only writes, but he writes well. The Best Laid Plans has been nominated for the Leacock Medal for humour.

Terry took some time to talk to me about the experience of writing The Best Laid Plans and using social media to promote it and what the Leacock nomination means to him. Some of the things we talked about:

  • How did he manage to write a novel and keep up his very demanding work commitments? Writing at night, Saturday mornings and on airplanes. (Boy, I wish I had his discipline.)
  • For those of us who know Terry, we shouldn’t be surprised to see elements of Terry in the two principal characters of the novel. He drew on his own experience and character traits to construct these two very believable, fully realized characters.
  • How does a first time novelist get his novel published and discovered by an audience? By self publishing and using social media to promote it. Terry podcast the novel – reading it one chapter at a time in 20 episodes. He hosted the podcast on terryfallis.com and discovered that readers talked to him about the novel. And in fact, some created promotional content, including pictures of themselves in front of state capitals in Melbourne, Boston, Austin, Ottawa and elsewhere.
  • What has the shortlist for the Leacock Medal done for him? Well, no movie offers yet. But, one of Canada’s more prominent literary agents, Beverley Slopen, has agreed to represent him. And it looks hopeful that the novel will be picked up by a mainline publishing house.

You can watch the interview with Terry below. It lasts about 10 minutes.