Friday, May 05, 2006

This just in...

No, I haven't completely abandoned this blog and the writing project it chronicles. Grades for my online class were due on Tuesday, and Keene State College grades are due on Monday, so I've been focused on collecting papers, reading exams, and grading, grading, grading.

After I've submitted grades on Monday, I'll take an afternoon or so to find my feet again: coming out of an end-term crunch and into other work is always a delicate transition. It takes a while to get the rhythms of student prose out of one's head and to turn off one's Inner Grader. But once I've found my proverbial feet, I'll be ready to jump back into the book project with renewed vigor now that I've held in my hands a similar work.

Those of you that read my other blog know that I recently received Fred First's new blog-book, Slow Road Home: A Blue Ridge Book of Days. Being able to touch Fred's book has given me a whole new reason to get on with revising my own: this IS a do-able project, and here's a friend who's done it! When I was working on my PhD dissertation, I'd sometimes visit my school's online catalogue to look-up the finished dissertations of colleagues: if they could finish, so could I. Holding Fred First's book gives me a similar sort of motivation: it is possible to revise blog-bits into a book, and it is possible to self-publish and sell the result.

In truly girly fashion, I've long obsessed about how my eventual book will look: I don't want to spend long months revising my work only to send it off to a small press or print-on-demand outlet that produces crappy work. Just recently, I ordered a self-published book on how to self-publish, and the shoddy look of the thing was enough to make me hang up my pen in dismay. Just because a book is self-published doesn't mean it should like like someone cobbled it together in their basement.

But Fred's book is gorgeous...and that's only the cover. Fred's a great photographer living in an incredibly photogenic locale, so I knew he'd design a drop-dead cover...but I was worried about the production value of any printer he might choose: would the finished product look like a real book? I'm happy to say, though, that Fred's book looks like any other soft-cover book you'd buy, and that's another important bit of motivation to keep in mind as I persevere with this project. It's worth putting the time into revising something I'll be proud of because it's possible to publish something I'll be proud of. Even without the backing of a big-name publisher, it's possible these days to produce a product that looks (as well as reads) like the Real Thing.

So while I return to the last of my papers in preparation for Monday's grading deadline, I'd strongly encourage you to click on over to buy a copy of Slow Road Home. Eventually, I'll try to sell you a book of my own, but in the meantime, there's plenty of time to curl up in a comfy chair with my present inspiration.


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