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.

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.

2020-07-17 20.14.19

5th Annual NDSU Press Party & 70th Anniversary

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 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.

NDCA Be Legendary logo PNG           NDSU.Press_1

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