Hosting from Home

Guest contribution by Sydney Larson

On September 8, 2020, the Midwest Independent Publishers Association presented an educational session called, “Hosting from Home.” Program Coordinator Jenna Kahly and Marketing Coordinator Hillary Stevens, both of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library (a seven-county library system in Minnesota) shared their experiences in hosting on-line readings. Our guest contributor, Sydney Larson, attended the virtual meeting and reflected upon what she gleaned from the session. 

Since Covid-19 began, authors, publishers, libraries, and booksellers alike have been needing to adapt quickly and efficiently to the new technologically-driven society we’ve been forced to become.

When it comes to online book readings, most libraries–or at least libraries in the Lake Agassiz Regional Library network–prefer to use Facebook Live as their medium of choice. This is because a lot of the people who visit normal book readings and those who are patrons of the library already have a Facebook account. It is the platform that is most convenient for a large amount of the audience.

In addition to Facebook Live, they use a site called be.live, which allows the author to broadcast and talk to the Facebook Live audience. The benefit of having the book reading online is that it helps invite people from all over the country to visit, and the format makes it more convenient for people who wouldn’t normally come to their local library for said book reading.

To market a book reading, libraries and other interested forum hosts use multiple social media platforms. Some of the platforms include Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Publishers can help with the marketing of the book as well.

Reading from their books is important to authors, publishers, and booksellers because it is an active and informative way to promote and sell the author’s book. Publishers can get their names out there too, as well as help with the advertising, promotion, and sales of the book.

For the author, the benefits of book readings are straightforward and clear, and while most of those benefits have not changed through this new medium, online readings do have some drawbacks. In the past during book readings, libraries could help sell the author’s discussed book, but with the program now being online, authors have to take a little more agency in their book sales. If the author wanted a more hands-on approach, they could start to sell their book through a personal forum or website and send a link through the Live chat to the audience. There is potentially a chance for the author to get in contact with the library and work out an agreement for sales, but that is not a given for all libraries. Another option is for the author to get in contact with a local bookseller and work out an agreement where the author sends anyone who’s interested in buying their book to the local bookseller. The bookseller could take charge of the distribution and sales of the book in that town. In this way, the bookseller is directly impacted by the online reading work of that author. It must be noted, however, that any option the author, publisher, and/or bookseller takes, they still won’t be selling as many books as they would if the book reading was in person.

Book readings are useful to authors in another way, too. Book readings are chances for readers to probe the author’s mind and have them answer anything readers need clarification on. It can help the author and publisher to know what area of the novel needs elaboration, or other suggestions the readers might offer (if the author feels it would improve the book). Book readings also help make the author more relatable and allow readers to get to know the author and book better.

Sydney Larson

This article is contributed by Sydney Larson, a Junior at NDSU, double majoring in English and Anthropology, with minors in Honors and Zoology. She is pictured here at the fortress of Bourtzi in Napflio, Greece, during a two-week study abroad experience in 2019. Sydney is a student in the Introduction to Publishing course, a required course for the Certificate in Publishing at NDSU.

A Splendid Enterprise & a Search for a Letterpress Printer

Publisher note from Suzzanne Kelley
*If you are a letterpress printer, please see my purple note at the end of this message.

Since 2016, the NDSU Intro to Publishing students, working with NDSU Press, have had the chance to learn how to operate turn-of-the-20th-century letterpresses. We begin with a Saturday at Hunter Times, a museum located in West Fargo at Bonanzaville. Having learned about Chandler & Price letterpresses and safety measures, students take a turn at  letterpress printing. Allan Burke–an expert in all matters about letterpress history and operations–provides a tour, and then in small-group format, students begin the process of letterpress printing the chapbook covers for the current winner of our Poetry of Plains and Prairies Award.

 

 

Hunter Times location_Students at work with a Chandler & Price letterpress

Students at Hunter Times, learning to operate the Chandler & Price letterpress, one page at a time. Left to right: Raechel Heuer, Sydney Olstad, Ken Smith.

Later in the semester, on a Friday afternoon, we load up a caravan of cars and head for The Braddock News Letterpress Museum, located on the vast grounds of the South Central Threshing Association. The drive is about two-and-a-half hours from campus, and for some of my students, it is the farthest west they’ve ever been.

On Friday night, our host, Allan Burke, gives the students yet another tour. The Braddock News Letterpress Museum is home to multiple pieces of equipment dating from the late 1800s to the 1950s. Here, the students have hands-on access to Chandler & Price letterpresses, a 1940s stitcher, and a trimmer, dating also from the turn of the 20th century.

 

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Fall 2019 Intro to Publishing students at the Braddock News Letterpress Museum, working on the chapbook publication, Harvest Widows, by Nick Bertelson. Students pictured from left to right are Laura Ellen Brandjord, Kalley Miller, Ryan Nix, Nataly Routledge, Zachary Vietz, and Alexis Melby.

Following our museum tour, we dine sumptuously courtesy of the Threshers Association Iron Men and board officers, some of whom do the welcoming, cooking, serving, and cleaning. Initial printing begins after supper.

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Publishing student Samantha Soukup dishes up some homemade stew at Miss Kitty’s, the food hub (and pitstop) for our publishing team while on site at The Braddock News Letterpress Museum.

The students learn about moveable type, and we generally put that knowledge to work when we print our covers. For printing the interior, however, we do resort to some modernization. It would take too long to set type for the forty interior pages, so we order up raised-magnesium printing plates instead. Each plate prints two pages on one side of a sheet of paper. When the papers dry, we can flip them over to print two more pages.

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Sample plates for printing pages from Harvest Widows, by Nick Bertelson. (Photo by Tim Jensen Studios.)

 

Land of Sunlit Ice_ink drying at Braddock

Maggie Krull, setting sheets out to dry. In the background, Angela Beaton and volunteer Jerome Schwartzenberger, retired publisher of the Napoleon [ND] Homestead, make sure everything is right.

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Our team finishes up the final copies of Land of Sunlit Ice, by North Dakota Poet Laureate Larry Woiwode, the first chapbook project of our series. From left to right: Sydney Olstad, Amanda Biles, Jerome Schwartzenberger, Raechel Heuer, Clarence Hertz, Suzzanne Kelley, Angela Beaton, Allan Burke, Maggie Krull, and Ken Smith.

We start this enterprise as amateurs, and we finish as proficient Devils Printers…the official name for our interns with experience under their belts and ink under their fingernails.

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In this, the year of the pandemic, our options for continuation of this splendid enterprise have become limited for the production of our newest addition to the chapbook series, A Muddy Kind of Love, by Carolyn Dahl. We must cut out our trip to Braddock. We’ll still meet face-to-face in small groups (optional, not required) at Hunter Times to print our covers for the newest addition to our chapbook series. Our current plan (subject to revision) is to hire a professional letterpress printer to print and assemble the interior. If you or someone you know fits the bill, please contact Suzzanne Kelley post haste for details. Contact information is available at our website.

 

 

 

 

Creating a Book Cover

Publicist note from Zachary Vietz

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when designing a book cover? There is a lot of planning, design, and deliberation going on before a cover makes its debut appearance.

Let’s take a sneak peek.

The Creative Brief

Before anything concrete takes form, the book team first reads the title a few times, taking notes of emotions, imagery, symbols, colors, and other touchstone and descriptive aspects from the story. These notes are used to make a creative brief that is then sent along to our designer. The book team might be just Dr. Kelley and me, but as a teaching press, we have our fair share of book teams comprised of students in our publishing courses at NDSU.

Here you can see parts of a creative brief, the book team being NDSU Publishing students, made for our upcoming title Half the Terrible Things by Paul Legler:

Colors that came to mind are:

    • pale yellow gold
    • dark green, but not a healthy green
    • red/violence/blood
    • red of sandhill crane/red crest on face

Sensory imagery:

    • cypress trees
    • use of manure for insulation
    • oppressive swamp bugs
    • boils and wounds
    • man’s eyeball the size of a softball (from being beaten)
    • sand hill cranes
    • trains, train tracks, roads

From the Designer to the Team

Once we send the creative brief to the designers, we let them do their artistic thing. Depending on how many projects a designer has, we expect to see draft designs within a few weeks. The book team will first receive from the designer around three potential cover images to look over. The job of the book team at this point is to choose what they do and do not like about the cover images, how they may be improved, and other design aspects as appropriate. Keep in mind, these initial images are not the finished product, and the team’s feedback helps to shape the final cover image.

Here you can see some of the initial cover images sent to us by our very own award-winning designer Jamie Hohnadel Trosen:

The Final Product

After receiving our feedback, the designer goes to work and eventually comes to us with a finished product. This is the culmination of the book team reading over and distilling the main concepts and emotion from the title, and a skilled designer who can put our words and concepts into imagery.

It is quite the pairing of skills, and you can see the results below. We hope you like it.

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Half the Terrible Things by Paul Legler will be available in October 2020.

 

Zach
This article is contributed by Zachary Vietz, Graduate Assistant in Publishing. Zach specializes in publicity and marketing. He is now in the third semester of his Master’s in English program at North Dakota State University.  

When an Author Hits Gold

Publisher note from Suzzanne Kelley

Sometimes a first-time author strikes gold. Such is the way with Rebecca Bender, whose book, Still (NDSU Press, 2019), has been raking in the awards and whose essays and poems are now seeing publication in national newsletters and magazines. Much to her (and our) delight, her work is even cited in other works of scholarship, such as historian David Moon’s The American Steppes: The Unexpected Russian Roots of Great Plains Agriculture, 1870s-1930s (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Rebecca Bender in ND Sunflower Field in November by Lincoln Bernhard

Rebecca recently won the Gold Medal in the category of Religion & Philosophy from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association’s Midwest Book Awards. Prizewinners compete in a twelve-state region, so her recognition is phenomenal. Still also won First Place in the internationally-competitive Independent Press Award for Judaism.

Rebecca will be the first to tell you that she did not win these awards on her own. She shares authorship with her late father, Kenneth M. Bender (1916-2006). During the last two years of his life, he hand-wrote page after page of his vivid memories. Rebecca typed up his notes with the agreed-upon compensation at the end of each of their working sessions: a shared chocolate milkshake. His and her memories, her exhaustive research and attention to detail reveal a splendid little-known history of Jewish families on the northern plains.

FINAL Penultimate Cover

I will be the first to tell you that Rebecca’s recognition is the result of hard work. I first met her as she and a community of celebrants from across the United States met in the town of Ashley, ND. Rebecca’s efforts had resulted in the successful nomination of the Ashley Jewish Cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places. Rebecca shared the fruits of her research that day in a wonderful story (that included a skit, a song, and a sit-down dinner). I expressed my hope that she would work on a larger project; I am grateful that she was already thinking along those lines.

A former securities litigator in Minnesota, Rebecca has always enjoyed history and hearing uplifting stories, taking pride in family and Jewish traditions, feeling gratefulness and appreciation for life in America, where she and her son are free to practice their religion and to work hard to achieve their goals.

You can read Rebecca’s most recent essay, published July 23, 2020, by the Jewish Book Council, here: Gold from the Prairie, by Rebecca E. Bender.

About Still

More than four hundred Russian and Romanian Jewish homesteaders settled on about eighty-five farms in McIntosh County, North Dakota, beginning in 1905. After clearing rocks and boulders, growing wheat and flax, raising cattle and chickens, and selling cream from their sod houses, most were successful enough to own their own land.

Still is a history of five generations, a family we meet first as they flee Odessa and last as they make their ways as American Jews…and as Dakota farmers, as students and storekeepers, as soldiers and lawyers, and even as a teen in an international competition who stands face-to-face with Netanyahu. Rebecca Bender and Kenneth Bender answer the question recently posed to Rebecca by a newspaper reporter: Are you still Jewish?

Still is available through online sites and at your favorite independent bookstore, as well as direct from North Dakota State University Press.

 

The Folk School on Willow Creek

Publisher note from Suzzanne Kelley

Welcome to the Folk School on Willow Creek, featuring University Distinguished Professor Tom Isern, singing and telling stories from the Salon on Willow Creek. Every Friday evening, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, Isern belts out ballads and tells the backstories of the lyrics, the authors, and the people of the plains who sang the songs. This Friday, July 25, he’ll feature “The Letter Edged in Black.” Do you know the significance of the edging? Tune in . . . you’ll find out. The Folk School lasts about 30 minutes, but you’ll wish it lasted longer. This week’s program is the 14th in the series.

Here is a link to Prairie Public’s Main Street, where host Doug Hamilton interviewed Isern just this week about the Folk School.

And here is a link to the Folk School page on Facebook.

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Literary Aspirations on the Northern Plains

Publisher note from Suzzanne Kelley

In late September, NDSU Press will be visible in multiple sessions and responsibilities at the 55th Northern Great Plains History Conference for 2020. Too bad for all of us, our sessions will be virtual, but I still look forward to witnessing the splendid work from scholars across the United States and Canada. While the conference is by necessity going virtual, its home base will still be Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the sacred and ancestral lands of the Ojibwe and Dakota Nations.

Two of our NDSU Press authors and I will present papers in the session called Literary Aspirations on the Northern Plains, wherein…

Prairie scholars describe and reflect upon their literary aspirations and their place in the history of the northern plains. The first author examines the seventy-year history of publishing by the Institute for Regional Studies; the emergence of its publishing imprint, North Dakota State University Press; and its vision as the voice of the prairies and the plains. The second author reflects on his ambitions and audacity in roasting that great chestnut of regional history, the Nonpartisan League. The third author considers how best to invigorate the familiar genre of collected essays in the realm of regional literary nonfiction.

Here are the session participants:

Jeanne Ode

Jeanne K. Ode

 

 

 

Moderator: Jeanne K. Ode, Acting Press Director and Managing Editor of South Dakota History, South Dakota State Historical Society Press

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Suzzanne Kelley

Paper 1: “Serving, not only the scholarly world, but the world in which the scholar lives”: North Dakota State University Press Celebrates 70 Years. Suzzanne Kelley, Publisher and Assistant Professor of Practice

 

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Terry L. Shoptaugh

Paper 2: Roasting a Chestnut: Historians Return to the Nonpartisan League. Terry L. Shoptaugh, Archivist and Professor of History (Ret’d.), Minnesota State University–Moorhead

 

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Thomas D. Isern

Paper 3: Doing History in Grassy Places. Thomas D. Isern, University Distinguished Professor and Professor of History, North Dakota State University

 

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David Grettler

 

 

Commentator: David Grettler, Professor of History, Northern Sate University, South Dakota

 

 

 

 

We invite YOU to attend the session and/or the whole conference, September 16-19, 2020. Follow along for updates here: 2020 Northern Great Plains History Conference.

NGPHC

5th Annual NDSU Press Party & 70th Anniversary

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Hear ye! Hear ye!

NDSU Press is pleased to announce our 5th Annual NDSU Press Party is about to commence! Free and open to the public, hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, music and readings, prose and poetry, cake—who could ask for more? Well, what the heck, since it’s our 70th anniversary, let’s throw in a 25 percent discount on book purchases and some door prizes, too!

When: Thursday, March 5, 2020, from 7 PM – 9 PM
Where: Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center, 1241 University Dr N, Fargo, ND

This year’s featured titles and authors:

  • Stringing Rosaries: The History, the Unforgivable, and the Healing of Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors, by Denise K. Lajimodiere
  • Sons of the Wild Jackass: The Nonpartisan League in North Dakota, by Terry L. Shoptaugh
  • Girl on a Float, by Brian Bedard
  • Harvest Widows, by Nick Bertelson
  • The Mammals of North Dakota, Second Edition, by Robert Seabloom
  • Pacing Dakota, Audio Version, by Thomas Isern and produced by Amanda Watts

NDSU Press aims to stimulate and coordinate interdisciplinary scholarship throughout the Red River Valley, state of North Dakota and the plains of North America. The press publishes peer-reviewed scholarship shaped by national or international events and comparative studies. NDSU Press operates under the umbrella of the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

This project is supported in part by generous donors to the NDSU Press Fund; the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Yellow Wolf: A National Park Service Superintendent’s Story

We’re proud to be among the hosts for this presentation by Dr. Gerard Baker, Yellow Wolf (Hidatsa-Mandan). Baker, former National Park Service head of American Indian Relations, will give his talk, titled “Yellow Wolf: A National Park Service Superintendent’s Story,” starting at 7 p.m. in Room 230 of NDSU’s Minard Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

Hosted by NDSU departments, organizations, and college:

  • Faculty Senate Native American Ad Hoc Committee’

  • Office of Multicultural Programs
  • NDSU Press
  • Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies
  • Department of Anthropology and Sociology
  • College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Gerard Baker poster

5th Annual NDSU Press Party & 70th Birthday

70 Logo for Website

Hear ye! Hear ye!

NDSU Press is pleased to announce our 5th Annual NDSU Press Party is about to commence! Free and open to the public, hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, music and readings, prose and poetry, cake—who could ask for more? Well, what the heck, since it’s our 70th birthday, let’s throw in a 25 percent discount on book purchases and some door prizes, too!

When: Thursday, March 5, 2020, from 7 PM – 9 PM
Where: Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center, 1241 University Dr N, Fargo, ND

This year’s featured titles and authors:

  • Stringing Rosaries: The History, the Unforgivable, and the Healing of Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors, by Denise K. Lajimodiere
  • Sons of the Wild Jackass: The Nonpartisan League in North Dakota, by Terry L. Shoptaugh
  • Girl on a Float, by Brian Bedard
  • Harvest Widows, by Nick Bertelson
  • The Mammals of North Dakota, Second Edition, by Robert Seabloom
  • Pacing Dakota, Audio Version, by Thomas Isern and produced by Amanda Watts

NDSU Press aims to stimulate and coordinate interdisciplinary scholarship throughout the Red River Valley, state of North Dakota and the plains of North America. The press publishes peer-reviewed scholarship shaped by national or international events and comparative studies. NDSU Press operates under the umbrella of the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

This project is supported in part by generous donors to the NDSU Press Fund; the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

NDCA Be Legendary logo PNG           NDSU.Press_1

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.

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Dawn Quigley, author of award-winning Apple in the Middle (NDSU Press 2018) / Photo by Brook Wood, http://www.tadpolephoto.com

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.

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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