“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 www.ndsupress.org. 🙂
  • 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.

TheForum.jpg

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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National, Regional, and State Awards

note from Suzzanne Kelley, Publisher, NDSU Press
Our publishing year has been phenomenal, with record-breaking sales and national, regional, and even state book awards that have us all marveling at our good fortune. Check out this list just for 2018:
  • Gold Medal for Young Adult Fiction–General, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award: Apple in the Middle, by Dawn Quigley
  • First Place, North Dakota Library Association Notable Document Award: The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota, by K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, with history by Kevin Carvell and photographs by Wayne Gudmundson.
  • Third Place, North Dakota Library Association Notable Document Award: The Bakken: An Archaeology of an Industrial Landscape, by William Caraher and Bret Weber
  • Gold Medalist, IPPY Awards, Cover Design: Derby Girl: A Memoir, by Sammi Jones; cover design by Jamie Hohnadel Trosen
  • Bronze Medalist for Midwest–Best Regional Nonfiction, IPPY Awards: The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota, by K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, with history by Kevin Carvell and photographs by Wayne Gudmundson.
  • Bronze Medalist for Science, IPPY Awards: North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy, by John P. Bluemle
  • Finalist, Autobiography/Memoir, Foreword INDIES Award: Derby Girl: A Memoir, by Sammi Jones
  • Finalist (of three), LGBT Nonfiction, Foreword INDIES Award: Derby Girl: A Memoir, by Sammi Jones
  • Finalist (of three), Arts/Photography/Coffee Table Books, Midwest Book Awards: Music at NDSU, by Robert Groves
  • Finalist (of three), Fiction–Literary/Contemporary/Historical, Midwest Book Awards: This Could Have Been a Simple Story, by Ajla Terzic, Translated from the Bosnian by John K. Cox
  • Finalist (of three), Social Science/Political/Culture, Midwest Book Awards: Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota, 2nd Edition, by William C. Sherman, new Introduction by Thomas D. Isern
  • Finalist (of three), Social Science/Political/Culture, Midwest Book Awards:The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota, by K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, with history by Kevin Carvell and photographs by Wayne Gudmundson.
  • Total Book Design (of three), Midwest Book Awards: The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota, by K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, with history by Kevin Carvell and photographs by Wayne Gudmundson; cover and interior design by Deb Tanner
Sydney Olstad and Suzzanne at IPPYS

Sydney Olstad (at left)–a graduate of NDSU and one of the publishing students (now working as a copywriter in New York!) who worked on the book team for Derby Girl: A Memoir and NDSU Press Editor in Chief Dr. Suzzanne Kelley, bringing home the Gold and Bronze from the Independent Publisher  Book Awards Gala (IPPY), May 28, 2018, at The Copacabana, NYC.  Joining in the fun were cover designer Jamie Hohnadel Trosen, author Sammi Jones, and Hayley Burdett, contract manager and former publishing student now working in New Jersey with literary agents and “the Big Five” publishing houses. Photo by Jamie Hohnadel Trosen.

 

 

Paper Camera

note from Suzzanne Kelley, Publisher, NDSU Press
Today my students will be talking about various aspects of publishing gleaned from their reading of Paper Camera: A Half Century with New Rivers Press. This anthology is a project of (I hate to say former, because I am grateful that most of them are still in my life today) colleagues, authors, and students from my days at New Rivers. Here is the poem–written by Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen–that inspired the title of our book:
 
The Paper Camera
 
Someone should invent
a paper camera,
and we could all live
happily ever after
on a page where
the ink is pressed deep
into the words you
are reading now–
words that tell us
how sweet
it was to be alive
in the days of print
and how easy it was
to say sparrow
even in the middle
of winter.
————————-
21535431

Paper Camera is a history of New Rivers Press, told through the memories of its founder and the people who have worked with the press over the decades from 1968 to 2015.  The editors are Suzzanne Kelley and Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft, and the anthology authors include Alan Davis, Thom Tammaro, Deborah Keenan, David Haynes, Clint McCown, Charles Baxter, and many more, with a contribution of ten previously unpublished poems by Joyce Sutphen.