Sunday, June 26, 2011

See Me in Orion Magazine / Self Publishing a Memoir

I have a photo and a caption in the current July / August issue of Orion. I love that on the page after me is a piece by Bill McKibben, and also in the issue work by Scott Russell Sanders. These guys have been major influences on my early environmental thinking. But to see my wife and sandhill cranes go to page 9.

I also won a $100 gift certificate from Prairie Nursery, 1st place in their photo contest for an image of a pasque flower (it's in the Flickr rotation on the top right of the blog).

I have decided to self publish my second memoir this summer--Sleep, Creep, Leap: The First Three Years of a Nebraska Garden. I went through so much wasted time and torture trying to find agents and presses for the other unpublished memoir--Morning Glory: A Story of Family and Culture in the Garden--that I just want to short circuit what seems to be a broken system and have more time to work on my Oklahoma memoir, Turkey Red (one more trip to Kansas and Oklahoma in the works). I have a PhD and MFA, tons of publications and awards, and I hear plenty of good things about my writing--in fact, SCL came close at one press. So, might as well try this.

I know that self publishing can be career suicide in my profession, a professor (an unemployed one), so I won't put it on my cv. My hope is to drum up enough sales to attract an agent or press, which seems to be the new paradigm in publishing. Of course, I could fall hard on my bum, too. But so what? I've been working on a cover image for Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Mac, and PC. Then I will work on the difficult specs for a print-on-demand paperback. I figure the ebook will be $3-4 and the paperback $7-10 (100 pages). Sound ok? How much would you pay for either?

Here's a table of contents for Sleep, Creep, Leap.

And here's the cover image I've been playing with (trying to make it look like both a how-to horticultural book and a literary memoir):

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will enthusiastically buy an ebook copy of sleep/creep/leap!!!

Benjamin Vogt said...

One down, a few thousand to go Anonymous! Thanks! :) Stay tuned in August-ish.

Jim Lewis said...

Just found this blog a week or two ago. Love your work. You have a real talent, to be sure. As a reformed poet, midwesterner, and long-suffering English major, I applaud your work.

Keep it up!

Elephant's Eye said...

I also see more and more bloggers publishing e-books. Is that an option for you?

I imagine your CV could carry a self-published literary book - as soon your sales figures fly! How will you advertise the new book, apart from here on your blog? Pity you didn't have flyers for your garden visitors. I am sure they would have bought, if it had been available to them.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Jim--Now, what exactly is a reformed poet? Thank you for your kind words and for saying hello!
D--Are those bloggers publishing their blogs, or real books? I've thought about offering my blog via Kindle, I know a few folks do that. My CV would be destroyed if I put "self published book" on there. You don't do that! It's not respected or even considered real, to say the least. And there are good reasons for that. Once sales fly (hahahaha choke) then I take it to an agent or press, then I get a real book--and maybe books.

Elephant's Eye said...

I hear you Benjamin, but I think the times they are a changing beyond the ivory towers.
When I worked in the University library in Zurich one of the physics professors was mentioned, for an article on colour, in a women's magazine Annabelle. He was much amused to suddenly have so many readers!
Print on demand is another option (which you will be doing?)

No these bloggers are offering 'books' on a theme, not just their blog. Hang on ...



See top right on her sidebar?

Elephant's Eye said...

Another one.

Garden related this time

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ah, I forgot Nan was doing one, too. Nice links. I had a popular website link to my blog a week or two ago, and I went from 80 visits a day to over 200 for a week. It was nice.

Yes, I'lll do POD (takes much longer to tweak!), but for an ebook, I'm going to pay Bookbaby $100 to properly format it for the main 4 e-readers--Nook, Sony, Apple, Kindle. I could do it myself, but as Nan points out, each one looks different so you'd have to tweak each one yourself, and I can't. Plus, I do have other books to work on!

Kathy2h said...

I would buy it, and I'm usually a library-only person.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Kathy--Lovely! And with an e-version it'll be dirt cheap. Of course, I do plan on a paper copy, too, but it'll be cheap as well. Promise.

Victoria said...

Go for it, Benjamin. Self-publishing is the new black in the book world. It seems none of the publishers has the guts to go with their instinct - they just wait until there's a consensus that the work is good.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/24/self-publishing

Benjamin Vogt said...

Victoria--Nice piece, though it makes it sound so excitedly simple. I worry a lot about my cover design, but I can't afford to spend hundreds on it. And then marketing. I think the writing will strike a note with many, but who knows? How do you get it out there when it's an e-book? And there's so very much e-noise these days!

Marion Roach Smith said...

Self publishing in no longer career suicide. I did it in 2010, and this year that same book is out by a major NY publisher. Go for it. Attract the attention your fine work deserves.