Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Little Bit of History

The Novel Neighbor
Yesterday a group from the Missouri History Museum took a bus tour in St. Louis, learning about the history of printing and publishing in this area. The tour ended at a local bookstore, The Novel Neighbor, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary. The tour organizer thought it would be interesting to add a segment on self-publishing, so she asked me to come and speak to the group at the bookstore. It was quite convenient for me as the store is located about a mile from my house.

There were 28 tour-goers crammed into a craft/meeting room in the back of the bookstore. Because my presentation was only 30 minutes, I did not need to use any audio-visual equipment fortunately. There would have been no room to set up a projector. I began my talk by asking if anyone knew what the following books had in common:

 A. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
B. What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles
C. In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
D. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard & Spencer Morrow
E. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.
F. The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
G. The Plant by Stephen King
H. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
J. The Martian by Andy Weir

Following suggestions that the authors were all from Missouri, or the books were all best sellers, someone correctly guessed that all of these books were originally self-published. And these authors were in good company, as Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Martin Luther and Walt Whitman also self-published their books. This sort of information certainly makes people think of self-publishing in a different light.

My talk covered the evolution of self-publishing, why authors self-publish, pros and cons of self-publishing, how to self-publish a book, and how I got my three books into print/ebook format. I wrapped things up by discussing the recent trends in publishing before taking questions, of which there were few. I think this topic is far removed from what the group usually encounters on their tours, but I hope some of them found it to be interesting.

It was good preparation for me as I get ready for the next community college class on November 7th. The St. Louis Publishers Association is again offering a four hour workshop on book publishing. This time instead of just being the organizer of the class and moderator for the day, I will be covering the section on getting your book into print and into the marketplace. The workshop is always very well-received, and I look forward to working with the students twice a year.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you will again be sharing your expertise and advice with local writers. They will certainly be inspired by your knowledge and enthusiasm for this option of getting their words into the hands of readers.

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