Work: This Is That Travel Guide to Canada

The Journey

Sometimes, media properties need to act like brands. Looking to extend their brand in an authentic way, the team behind CBC Radio’s This is That came to The Tite Group looking for help to do just that. Creating a book was always top of mind, but the challenge was how to make it happen.

The Well-Travelled Road

Heading into Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, a book by This is That would be the ultimate satirical love letter to the True North Strong and Free.

The thing is, traditional publishing takes a lot of time and gives the artist very little back. Alternatively, self-publishing allows a much freer creation process, it lacks the sort of access that the big names have after having spent so many years in the industry.

The Tite Group’s proposal? A contemporary publishing model that combined the best of both worlds between traditional and self-publishing. One that brings together the connectivity and clout of the traditional model, with the nimbleness of self-publishing. Collaboration was the fuel along the way.

The Itinerary

May: Write first manuscript.
June-July: Collect images and draft design.
Edit manuscript and layout with 1st markups.
August: First proof reviews. Second round of editing.
Record audiobook. Set up ebook accounts.
September: Approvals from authors. Printing of books.
Establishing connections with distributor.
October: This Is That Travel Guide To Canada hit shelves from coast to coast to coast.

The Route

The unique hybrid publishing model worked as follows: The Tite Group would act as the publisher and bring in experts where needed.

We trusted the authors with the creative process and Page Two with managing work-back schedules and ebook/audiobook accounts.

We trusted Raincoast with setting up retailer accounts and book distribution.

This kind of open collaboration meant that we could create and manage our own timelines, while keeping the agencies team small (a total of 2) and nimble.

Once November hit, the project dove head first into the Lake Superior of book launches. The next step of the journey involved getting the book the reach it deserved.

Our first move was to tease the book via a trailer filmed that could live on a variety of platforms.

Our second step was to build a web-site, complete with e-comm, tour dates and all the funnies found in the book.

Then, as the This is That team embarked on its coast-to-cast tour, media pitching followed to make sure coverage was equally comprehensive, while The Tite Group created and distributed targeted social posts, based on the tours location, that drew readers in. This was supported by an extra dose of promotion through This is That’s inaugural monthly newsletter.

The Destination

In order to help This is That win the Battle for Time, we opted to be different by acting on our belief that people should get more of what they want to see instead of what they have to see. In this case, it meant more This is That for This is That fans.

Everything was approached in the same way an auto manufacturer would approach a concept car: there was no expectation of profit and it doesn’t get in the way of the manufacturing process. IE: other client work.

There were no rules to follow, we simply pushed forward, come what may. Focusing on the purpose of the project meant that at each step we could cut out any possible distractions, try things we wanted to try and prioritize the creation and promotion of quality content.

After a short five-month journey, we’re proud to say This Is That Travel Guide To Canada is an award-winning, national bestseller. (pssst, if you want to buy one, click here).

Check out the mileage:

  • After just over a month, the book needed a second print run to keep up with demand.
  • Between traditional media and This is That’s social media channels, we reached over 22 million people and counting.
  • Awarded Gold for Humour at the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards.
  • 12 weeks as a #1 national bestseller.
  • Over 8,200 books (print, audio and e-books) have been sold and counting.
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