By: Katrice Sutherland

Ross Davies, 29, already has two books of his trilogy on sale at First Class Press. Davies is planning to attend Algonquin next fall in the public relations program.

Algonquin applicant Ross Davies is one of the first self-proclaimed authors to publish his literature through Algonquin.

Davies, 29, who is applying for entry attend Algonquin for public relations next fall, was offered the opportunity by Larry Cavanagh, manager of Campus Connections. Cavanagh invited Davies to be a part of an entrepreneurial endeavour he founded through the book store called First Class Press.

Davies already has two book of his trilogy on sale there.

Like many book stores, Connections had been ordering textbooks from publishing companies outside of Canada which was costing the college money.

Algonquin printing facilities initially only produced custom textbooks until Cavanagh implemented a deal with TotalRecall, a publisher from Texas, in June of 2011, so both parties could avoid consignment fees by transferring printable versions of the texts online, consequently creating First Class Press.

First Class Press in partnership with the Print Shop now offer this same print and distribution service -with copyright consent- to major post-secondary schools throughout Canada including Niagara, University of Toronto, and McMaster among others.

Selling textbooks to other schools has brought in thousands of dollars in extra revenue to Algonquin.

“We are seen as an innovator for this type of thing,” said Cavanagh. “It’s found money.”

Since then, First Class Press has grown into an unofficial, self-sufficient publishing company, fostering the works of authors found within the college and Ottawa locale.

Cavanagh makes it his personal pleasure to help clients find an International Standard Book Number code (ISBN), market, endorse and distribute their new publications.

“The doors that once remained closed to authors are opened by First Class Press,” said Davies, who is anticipating the completion of his third book, “Front Toward Enemy.”

Much like other aspiring writers, Davies tried to establish himself. He started with Lulu Publishing and shortly thereafter found contracts with Indigo. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of his success, he lost money when the industry claimed 45 per cent of final sales revenue. He then turned to First Class Press.

This process offers an alternate option to overwhelming vanity press. Authors buy 12 copies of their final product to cover the cost of ink, sell them to whomever they please. Any further purchases, online or at Connections, are done through a print-on-demand service at the college. And to boot, authors also receive instant financial return per each unit sold with a 50 per cent royalty agreement.

Davies said what he enjoyed most is that he had complete control over the contents of his books and without intimidating deadlines to worry about, he was able to focus on the quality of his writing. “I don’t care about the money. I just want to be read,” he said.

In contrast to publishing companies that come with frustrating contracts, deadlines, editors and expensive requirements, authors who use First Class Press have the chance to call the shots on their contents, formatting and whether or not it is presented to the public.

Don Laflamme, a musical theater professor who is presently on sabbatical, wrote and released a compilation of script work through First Class Press last year.

“All you need to do is be very familiar with Word,” said Laflamme as he described his ease in formatting “Mechanicsville Monologues.”

First Class Press is opening a chapter full of new opportunities for local authors.