Apple in the Middle Wins National Recognition

Our first publication in the NDSU Press Contemporary Voices of Indigenous Peoples series, Apple in the Middle, by author Dawn Quigley, has won national recognition from the American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA).

The inaugural AILA award, which will be announced in even years, identifies and honors the best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. This new award joins other long-standing awards–such as the John Newberry Medal and the Randolph Caldecott Medal–under the umbrella of the ALA.

Apple_Dawn Quigley

Dawn Quigley, author of award-winning Apple in the Middle (NDSU Press 2018) / Photo by Brook Wood,

Dawn Quigley, with her debut novel, is in fine company with three other authors–all four recognized as the first-ever American Indian Youth Literature Young Adult Book Honor winners:

  • Surviving the City, written by Tasha Spillett (Nehiyaw-Trinidadian), illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Métis Nation of British Columbia) (Highwater Press);
  • Reawakening Our Ancestors’ Lines: Revitalizing Inuit Traditional Tattooing, gathered and compiled by Angela Hovak Johnston (Inuk), with photography by Cora De Vos (Inuk) (Inhabit);
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People, written by Debbie Reese (Nambé Owingeh) and Jean Mendoza, adapted from the adult book by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press);
  • and Apple in the Middle, written by Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe, Turtle Mountain Band) (North Dakota State University Press)

The first place winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award in the Young Adult category is Hearts Unbroken, written by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee) (Candlewick Press).

Dawn Quigley writes, “So honored that NDSU Press and Suzzanne Kelley said ‘Yes’ to my book, Apple in the Middle!! Miigwech to everyone at the press who worked on this…And the amazing cover art by Jamie Hohnadel Trosen!”

Within minutes of the announcement, our NDSU Press office began receiving phone calls with congratulations and book orders. We are SO PLEASED for Dawn and for this incredible attention to the North Dakota State University Press.


Apple in the Middle, by Dawn Quigley / Cover illustration and design by Jamie Hohnadel Trosen / Interior design by Deb Tanner

Regional and national articles featuring an announcement about our newest NDSU Press award:

Publishers Weekly

Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Now Accepting Submissions for the NDSU Press 2020 POPP Award

We’re looking for poetry! NDSU Press has opened its 2020 submissions portal for our Poetry of the Plains and Prairies (POPP) Award!

North Dakota State University Press seeks poetry submissions of any style for our annual POPP Award chapbook publication. While the author(s) may call any place home, their submissions must deftly capture the feeling of, as well as the reality of, living on the plains and prairies. Authors may submit any number of poems equaling thirty to thirty-five pages in length, with no more than one poem per page. (Single poems may extend more than one page.) The selected poetry collection will be published as a limited edition chapbook, hand-printed with antique letterpress equipment.

Our POPP Award submissions date ends March 17, 2020. Please follow our NDSU Press Submittable link for details.

NDSU Press publishing interns print the 2019 POPP Award chapbook, Harvest Widows, by Nick Bertelson (Missouri Valley, IA) at The Braddock News Letterpress Museum.

“Bestsellers Born in Social Media”

from Suzzanne Kelley, PhD; Publisher at NDSU Press

While peeling apples and baking pie Saturday, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Beyond the Book, hosted by Copyright Clearance Center. Their hot topic, “Bestsellers Born in Social Media” (September 1), focuses on an interview with an agent, talking about how publishers must encourage their authors to have some sort of social media platform. Better yet, authors should have a solid social media platform before even submitting their manuscripts. Yes!

Some authors are daunted by the prospect. After all, much of their authorial life requires working solo, and now we’re asking them to go public. My takeaway from the podcast, however, is that being an author IS being public. Editors make editorial and business evaluations. (Ahhh, but that we could only stick to the editorial!) Paraphrasing commentary from the podcast, publishing is at heart “a business of the gut,” but in order to be successful, it must also be a business. As such, publishers must consider the marketing prospects for any manuscript.

If you are a writer, and you have hopes of adding “published author” to your resume, start working on your social media platform now. Common practice invites authors to begin with a website. As you add content to your web presence, that content can easily be transported to your other social media domains. Starting with a website is not the easiest platform, although free website hosts like WordPress do make the process a good starting place. My preference, my comfort zone, is with  easy-to-use social media like Facebook, but I also highly recommend creating an author page on Goodreads.

It doesn’t matter where you begin, only that you start. Here is a list of the platforms I’ve found most productive and easiest to use, with hopes in the near future to add podcasting in the mix.

  1. Facebook
  2. WordPress
  3. Twitter
  4. Goodreads
  5. Instagram
  6. Pinterest

The best way to start, of course, is to start! Here are some examples of easy social media posting commentary:

  • Testing out a few lines of poetry? Say so. Maybe even include a phrase or a line.
  • Writing from your favorite nook? Say so. Maybe include a picture of your space, possibly with you in it!
  • Visiting the archives and finding some fabulous document supporting your argument? Say so. And include a cell phone pic (if allowed . . . mind the archival site rules).
  • Out for an evening stroll and spying a beautiful sunset? Say so. And include a cell phone pic.
  • Enjoying a dinner out with friends? Say so. And include a cell phone pic.
  • Working on obtaining blurbs for your new book? Say so.
  • Corresponding with your publisher? Say so. You can include a pic of our logo or a link to our website 🙂
  • Feeling angst about posting on Twitter? Say so. Blame it on your publisher.
  • Having an author photo made? Say so. And include the pic.
  • For more ideas & to build up your following, follow other social media users . . . like us, at NDSU Press.

Bitter Harvest

from Suzzanne Kelley, PhD; Publisher at NDSU Press

Imagine my surprise to open The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and find its announcement that it has “been here for 127 years,” showcasing their longevity with a shootout in Medina. It’s been a while since this ad appeared, and even longer since NDSU Press published the hard story of Bitter Harvest: Gordon Kahl and the Posse Comitatus, Murder in the Heartland, by James Corcoran, in 2005. Bitter Harvest is based on Corcoran’s Pulitzer Prize nominated coverage of the murders of three U.S. Marshals by a militant tax protest group.


At the time of Bitter Harvest‘s publication, I was working on my PhD in history and holding an editorial fellowship with the publishing arm of the Institute for Regional Studies (now NDSU Press). I was planning a drive out to Kulm, ND, to conduct an interview for my dissertation, and Dean Tom Riley (now retired), who was director of the press at that time, asked me to shoot some pictures near Medina, where two decades earlier a deadly shootout occurred between the law and anti-taxer Gordon Kahl and other members of the Posse Comitatus. Federal marshals died, Kahl’s son was mortally wounded, and Kahl made his escape. (I won’t tell you how this story ends except to say it’s not pretty.)

There was not much to photograph that told a story, to my way of thinking. But Riley assured me that the cover designer would make something of my pictures. And so she did, capturing the stark stretch of highway where the shooting took place.

Bitter Harvest_Cover

From the book’s publicity copy, we learn: “James Corcoran tells the story of Gordon Kahl and the Posse Comitatus, using captivating narrative and vivid imagery. Sunday, February 13, 1983, was a sunny day in Medina, North Dakota–a seemingly peaceful church-going winter day. But hate politics were broiling in secret locations and the Heartland provided cover for those who wanted to take the law into their own hands. ‘Something terrible, and terribly important, was taking place,’ writes Corcoran. Ever a page-turner, reflect again on this story of violence and how a group of people can construct an alternative version of the law and the truth.”

1983. Not that long ago. A story still relevant today, even as it makes an appearance in a newspaper ad.

Movies, documentaries, and songs followed in the months and years–some showing Kahl a villain, some making him out as a martyr.

Bitter Harvest was first published by Penguin Press published in the 1990s and then by NDSU Press in 2005 with a new foreword by North Dakota journalist Mike Jacobs, former publisher of Grand Forks Herald.

Bitter Harvest: Gordon Kahl and the Posse Comitatus Murder in the Heartland is available at our online store.

More resources:
Altered Lives: Stories from the Medina Tragedy, documentary by Prairie Public, 2016
Death & Taxes, documentary, 1993



It’s All in the Numbers

from Suzzanne Kelley, PhD; Publisher at NDSU Press

Did you ever wonder where ISBNs come from and what they are all about?

Publishers must purchase a unique ISBN–International Standard Book Number–for every book they publish. If a single title, such as our Boy Wanted, by Ryan Christianson, for example, is also published as a digital version, then both the print and the digital versions have their own unique ISBN. Interestingly, the LCCN–Library of Congress Number–is unique to the title, no matter how many forms the title takes on: print hardcopy, print paperback, digital, or audio. So, Boy Wanted has two ISBNs and one LCCN. Likewise for Pacing Dakota, by Thomas D. Isern, which is published as a print version and soon to be released as an audio version.

9781946163066_29-95_ean BARCODE ISERN

ISBN barcode for hardcover print version of Pacing Dakota, by Thomas D. Isern

Bowker Identifier Services is the only US agency where ISBNs may be purchased. Bowker notes that the ISBN serves multiple purposes:

  • identifies a book’s specific format, edition, and publisher
  • links to essential information about your book
  • enables more efficient marketing and distribution of your title
  • is required by most retailers
  • is the global standard for book identification
  • improves the likelihood your book will be found and purchased

A single ISBN number costs $125 today. If you buy enough for multiple books, your per unit cost goes down significantly. At NDSU Press, we have twice purchased in blocks of one hundred ISBNs. Prior to 2007, ISBNs contained ten digits. Since 2007, a standard ISBN has thirteen digits.

The ISBN is a digital code, and once you learn how to read it, you’ll know more about your book purchase. So, what do the numbers in an ISBN stand for?

Let’s take the thirteen-digit Pacing Dakota ISBN once more: 978-1-946163-06-6. Notice that the ISBN is divided into five parts, each separated by a hyphen.

  • 978 : Prefix element; indicates that the book is published in the United States
  • 1 : Registration group identifier; A “0″ or “1” indicates the book is published for speakers of English.
  • 946163 : Registrant element; identifies the publisher; This particular number is unique to North Dakota State University Press.
  • 06 : Title identifier; In combination with registrant element, the title identifier indicates the singular unit of publication. This number is unique to a specific title in a specific format.
  • 6 : Check digit; The check digit ranges from 0 to 10 [X is used for 10] and is a way to check for any errors within the code. To explain the check digit further–which I won’t do here–requires converting the thirteen-digit code to a ten-digit code (there are online conversion services that do this for free) and then computing a series of multiplication actions. Let it suffice to say, the system works.

Here is a link to a fun Bowker video with more information about the purpose and benefits of ISBNs.

And in wrapping up this article on ISBNs, I’ll close with an image of our old-fashioned ISBN print-out page, where we’ve entered title names, matching them with their ISBN identities. We do this officially online nowadays, but for the sake of continuity in our history of record keeping, we continue to hand-write each entry.

2018-11-20 17.16.46


IPPY Book Awards 2019

From Zachary Vietz, Publicist at NDSU Press

NDSU Press is happy to announce FOUR of our authors’ works have been selected as winning medalists in the 2019 IPPY Book Awards! We are extremely happy and proud of our authors, and we hope these medals will shine proudly among their accolades.

Below are our award winners and their respective titles:

  • Apple in the Middle, by Dawn Quigley
    • Gold Medal – Multicultural Fiction – Juvenile/Young Adult
  • Pacing Dakota, by Tom Isern
    • Gold Medal – Midwest – Best Regional Non-Fiction
  • Songs of Horses and Lovers, by Madelyne Camrud
    • Gold Medal – Poetry – Specialty (Illustrated/Anthology)
  • Operation Snowbound: Life behind the Blizzards of 1949, by David W. Mills
    • Silver Medal – Midwest – Best Regional Non-Fiction

Independent publishers from around the world participated in the 23rd annual, 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (the IPPYs). There are winners from five Australian provinces, seven Canadian provinces, forty-two states and the District of Columbia and Guam, plus France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, and more. We notice too that in addition to NDSU Press, there are fifteen US university presses with winning publications (but we are the ONLY one to claim four medals). We were up against some stiff competition!

You can find a full list of winners here.

Thank you to everyone who supports NDSU Press and its authors.


Making Audible Noise

from Suzzanne Kelley, Publisher at NDSU Press
Our tagline (courtesy of an article in North Dakota Living) is “NDSU Press gives region a voice.” WELL, we are taking that “voice” to a whole new level. In the works right now is our first Audible book!
Graduate student Amanda Watts, who in addition to working on a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, has been taking on credits for the Certificate in Publishing. Her project this semester is to learn all the ins and outs of publishing an audio book through the Audible platform.

As producer for the project, Amanda collaborates with author Thomas D. Isern to deliver his recent NDSU Press publication, Pacing Dakota, in the audio format. In the publishing business, audio books have been outpacing (so to speak) the rise in sales of any other book format, whether as e-books (whose sales numbers have peaked and are now in decline, waiting perhaps for the next newest technical design for e-readers) or traditional print form (which is on the rise but not at the rate of audio book sales).

Because of Amanda’s interest in this project, and Tom’s willingness to read, we are really excited to be adding a new format to our publication process. If all goes according to plan, the Audible version of Pacing Dakota will be available this summer.

In the meantime, Pacing Dakota (and all of our books) can be purchased directly from NDSU Press at our online store, at your favorite independent bookstore, and through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (Booksellers and librarians, contact us for wholesale/library discounts.)

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4th Annual NDSU Press Party

From NDSU Publicist Zachary Vietz

PressParty4 Front

It’s that time of the year again where NDSU Press gets to show off its great books!

Join us on Thursday, March 7, from 7 to 9 P.M. at the Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center and hear from our wonderful authors and their new books.

The works being featured are Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley, Hunter’s Log: Volumes II & III by Timothy Murphy, Pacing Dakota by Thomas D. Isern, Operation Snowbound: Life behind the Blizzards of 1949 by David W. Mills, Still by Rebecca E. Bender and Kenneth M. Bender, and Destiny Manifested by Bonnie Larson Staiger.

It is sure to be a wonderful, literature filled night with music from Cat Sank Trio, refreshments, a cash bar, and best of all: free and open to the public!

Check-in at our Facebook event here.

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Reading at the Rourke, Hunter’s Log: Volumes II & III

Join us at the Rourke Art GallHunter's Log II & III coverery on February 2, 2019, for a reading from one of the last works of the late prairie poet Timothy Murphy The event is also a showcase of Murphy’s collection of Charles Beck’s woodcuts. Murphy and Beck were long-time friends and collaborators, with several of Beck’s woodcut images appearing on Murphy’s book covers. These literary and visual artists found inspiration in the same landscape. We will be launching Hunter’s Log: Volumes II & III, with poems read by Murphy’s brother, Jim Murphy, and friends.

This publication celebration is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The event will be from 3-5:30 P.M. at The Rourke Art Gallery & Museum located at 521 Main Ave, Moorhead, Minnesota 56560

RSVP to our Facebook event here and keep up to date on the event!

Upcoming Book Tour for Pacing Dakota!

We are happy to announce an upcoming book tour with Dr. Isern’s Pacing Dakota. Below you will find the NDSU Press write up with event details:

NDSU University Distinguished Professor Tom Isern, author of the acclaimed new book, Pacing Dakota, is coming to your locality! His Holiday Book Tour, December 6 through 9, includes appearances in Watford City, Minot, Williston, Bowman, and Bismarck. Each stop offers the opportunity to purchase books for holiday gifts or just good winter reading, with profits going to local businesses and organizations.

Watford City | Thur., Dec. 6 | 3 to 7:00 p.m.
Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County, in the Long X Visitor Center, 100 Second Av SW, Watford City
Booktalk (at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.), reading, performance, and autograph party
Contact: Jan Dodge,

Minot | Fri., Dec. 7 | 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Main Street Books, 8 Main St. S., Minot
Conversation with readers, signing for purchasers
Contact: Val Stadick,

Williston | Fri., Dec. 7 | 5 to 8:00 p.m.
Books on Broadway, 12 W Broadway, Williston
Holiday open house, conversations with readers, signing for purchasers
Contact: Chuck Wilder,

Bowman | Sat., Dec. 8 | 3 to 5:00 p.m.
Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, 12 1st Av N, Bowman
Booktalk, song, reading, signing for purchasers
Contact: Jean Nudell,

Bismarck | Sun., Dec. 9 | 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Ferguson Books Bismarck, 413 E Broadway, Bismarck
Booktalk, song, reading, signing for purchasers
Contact: Dane Ferguson,

Visit the NDSU Press Facebook | View the video trailer for Pacing Dakota

Pacing Dakota, published by North Dakota State University Press, is a collection of stories from across North Dakota–stories that are packed with human interest, but also have much to say about community and life on the northern plains in our times. People of the region know Prof. Isern’s voice from Plains Folk, his weekly feature on Prairie Public Radio. He brings the same evocative narrative voice to the printed page in Pacing Dakota. The hardback work was published in July and is now in its second printing.

The author is keen to meet friends and grads of NDSU–and to sign books for them to read or to gift to friends, family, and fellow fans.

With Prof. Isern on the Holiday Book Tour will be Dr. Suzzanne Kelley, Editor-in-Chief, North Dakota State University Press. Dr. Kelley is happy to visit with prospective authors and others interested in the work of the press.