1. Becoming a Book Author in Canada

Becoming a book author means getting published to begin with. Your manuscript must be accepted for publication by a publishing house tasked with the production, marketing, and editing of your book.

Education, Creative Writing Programs, and Books on Writing

While formal education is not a requirement, you can enroll in a writing class or workshop at an accredited university, college, or board of education. This is a good way to improve your writing skills and get feedback from fellow students and teachers. If there is a writer in residence, this is yet another way to get feedback. Creative writing programs are offered by different universities in Canada, including University of Windsor, University of Manitoba, University of British Columbia, Concordia University, and others. It is also a good idea to read books in the genre you like. Reading books on the craft of writing also helps. There are great books such as Revising Fiction: A Handbook For Writers (David Madden), Aspects of the Novel (E.M. Forster), and others.

The next step is to contact a publishing house and send them your manuscript. One option is to contact an agent with a query to see whether they are willing to represent you and offer your book to a publishing house. You can also contact the publisher's editor with a query. A third option is to have your work published first to build credentials.

Support Organizations, Forums, and Popular Websites

Writers' organizations offer support, advice, and encouragement to members. Professional and support organizations focus on performance arts and literature and welcome authors in different genres. There are also forums and popular websites such as the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs' website which is designed to serve as a resource, lobby group, forum, and national network for writers in Canada. The website of the Writers' Union of Canada also features programs, resources, and online forums to encourage information sharing and discussion. You are free to visit issue-based forums such as Membership Criteria and Copyright Infringement. The Writers' Union of Canada also features a wide range of programs such as the National Public Readings Northern Program, Manuscript Evaluations, Ghost Writing, and others. You may also join contests such as the Bi-annual Poetry and Short Fiction Contests to win a prize in short fiction or poetry.



2. Financial Literacy in Canada

The lack of financial literacy is a real problem in Canada, and this is due to the fact that this important knowledge is missing in the school programs in the country. People who do not know how to handle money, will make more financial mistakes like borrowing too much and going into unrepayable debt. Financially literate Canadians have better chance at succeeding with their financial goals.

Financial literacy is of key importance nowadays, with so many creditors competing for customers and offering a vast selection of financial services and products. Financial literacy helps Canadians avoid excessive debt, manage household finances, stick to a budget, and choose the right solution for their budget, savings, and long-term and short-term financial goals. In times of fiscal challenges, recession, and hard financial conditions, it is even more important to make adequate choices, live within your means, and plan for the future.

Why Financial Literacy Matters

Lack of financial literacy is the major reason why many Canadians make poor financial decisions, live paycheck by paycheck, owe a lot on credit cards, and are mired in debt. Poor financial decisions often result in bad credit and a history of maxed out cards, insolvencies, foreclosure, and even bankruptcy. At the same time, reports show that many young people know little or nothing at all when it comes to finance, economics, and money matters. They are borrowing and living on credit without reading the fine print or knowing that interest accumulates over time. Credit cards and consumer loans are not free money. Not only this, but many young people use multiple, high-interest credit cards and pay the minimum only. Some are heavily indebted and make late payments, which makes their credit scores plummet. Bad credit limits the range of options available to financial solutions with high charges and interest rates, and borrowers pay a lot of money in fees and other charges. Poor financial literacy also results in splurging and reckless spending. Today, there are greater temptations than ever, and many young people are tempted to overspend just to buy that new CD player or tablet. More and more retailers offer their products online which makes it even easier to buy from the comfort of your home. Shopping is made so easy, you just enter your card details and your order is just a mouse click away. It is important to teach children financial literacy to learn the value of money and saving. Delayed gratification is about saving and planning ahead to avoid future financial problems.

Young people know little of what makes a credit score healthy and how to build credit with little effort. Many sign for specialty credit cards with hefty fees and rewards that have expiry dates. Things get worse because agreements between universities and financial institutions make it easier for young people to borrow and pay student-related expenses with credit cards. Recent graduates have more debt than older generations and leave school with an average balance of $2,000 - $3,000, plus student and other debts. Many students have two or more cards and over half of them use three or four. The cost of education has skyrocketed over the last decades while financial assistance and income are not keeping up. More and more people declare bankruptcy early on in their lives.

What Can Be Done

The good news is that financial literacy can help manage finances and shapes new behaviors and attitudes about money and debt. And financial literacy is not a problem for young people only – there are vulnerable groups such as immigrants and the elderly that often become victims of predatory lenders. There are workshops, classes, and programs that educate visitors, introduce basic terms, and teach people about different debt solutions, investment products, and a lot more. Psycho-social, multi-disciplinary, and other approaches help to this end.