Former Sarnian turns humour into publishing career

Traveller and Northern Collegiate grad Matt Jackson, seen here with his wife Stacey in Copenhagen, Denmark, has released two new humour anthologies. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

A Northern Collegiate grad is making a career out of showcasing the humorous stories of ordinary Canadians and making readers laugh.

“Some humour is more slapstick, some is wittier,” says Matt Jackson, editor of eight books in a series that’s sold more than 40,000 copies in Canada.

His first anthology called “Mugged By A Moose” is a collection of funny outdoor stories that continues to be Jackson’s top seller.

It was published in 2006 after Jackson wrote his own book called “Canadian Chronicles: A Four Year Hitchhiking Odyssey” in which he wrote about his adventures and misadventures travelling across the country.

Canadian Chronicles did very well, garnering an IPPY (Independent Publishers) Award for best North American travel memoir and becoming a Canadian bestseller.

“While I was on tour with it someone from the CBC encouraged me to run a contest to get other people’s great outdoor and travelling stories,” Jackson explained.

The contest attracted 60 or 70 submissions and some became the basis for Mugged By A Moose, along with work of freelancers Jackson knew.

“So the anthologies happened by accident really,” he said.  “With the success of Mugged By A Moose, I thought this is a niche market that people want to read.”

Jackson’s publishing company, Summit Studios, regularly runs writing contests and accepts submissions for its anthologies. Cash prizes are offered, some as high as $1,000. But most contestants whose stories are chosen for publication earn about $100.

Summit Studios released two more anthologies Oct. 15.  “Mob Hit on My Grandmother’s Dog” is a collection of funny animal stories, and “Never Light a Match in the Outhouse” is about cottage life.

The latter is going over particularly well, said Jackson.

He has a sense he’s hit on a publishing formula that works and will continue to produce more anthologies, expanding into categories beyond travel, animals, the outdoors and cottage life.

Every week, at least one new funny submission arrives at the Summit Studios website. Sarnians have made some of those submissions and a few have been picked for publication.

Jackson, 42, lived in Sarnia during his high school years and now resides with his wife and daughter in Victoria, BC. He is returning to Sarnia on Dec. 18 to sign copies of the two latest anthologies.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Anthology book signing by editor Matt Jackson WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 18; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: The Book Keeper at Northgate Plaza