Finding the write way in Burnaby

The Write Room celebrates a decade of growth and change in the city

Making textbooks and reports readable and accessible is no easy task, but Burnaby resident Gerda Wever has been doing just that for 10 years.

But writing and editing manuals, business reports and academic texts wasn't all Wever wanted from The Write Room. In 2008 she decided to add a publishing component.

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"It just got to the point where I thought it would be really fun to see a press connected to the company so that I could really see a product through with a client from beginning to end," she said from her home office in Burquitlam.

"That was my motivation to start a publishing press."

Wever has lived in her Burnaby neighbourhood since moving to Canada from Holland 15 years ago, and she started The Writing Room in September 2001.

Wever has connections in the world of academia, teaching courses and seminars on academic and professional writing and editing at the City University of Seattle.

She also publishes books for faculty at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and Royal Roads University.

"Most of my authors are scholars, so they write for their own students and their own colleagues and their own academic and professional networks," she said.

Her latest publication is Social Architecture: Notes and Essays, by Dr. Arden Henley.

The Write Room Press publishes about 10 to 15 authors, according to Wever, averaging three to four titles per year. The press publishes runs of between 500 and 1,000 copies, and will do a second edition if there is enough interest, Wever said.

"As a small company, I can't take a huge financial risk," Wever explained.

Transitioning into publishing wasn't an easy move, she said.

"That was actually really difficult. I didn't expect that," Wever said. "I thought it would just be fun and natural and intuitive. It wasn't natural, and at first, not as fun as I thought it would be."

Finding authors hasn't been an issue, but learning design and marketing have been challenges, she said.

The biggest challenge is recouping the publishing costs, Wever added.

While the learning curve was steep, particularly when learning design, Wever said, it is still a rewarding venture.

"The more I do it, the more I enjoy it," she said. "The satisfying part is when you have a book launch."

It is especially satisfying when a book gets a good reception and the author is happy, she added.

"Plus I enjoy establishing relationships with the authors, who are all local, and their networks," Wever said.

She is happy with where the company is at but is open to seeing it grow to the point where she could have two full-time people working, she said.

"I'm very fortunate to have done so well for the past 10 years," Wever said. "Hopefully I'll continue to do well, and with a little bit of luck see a little bit of growth."

For more information on The Write Room Press, go to www.thewriteroom. net.

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