When I wrote about the Espresso Book Machine a month ago, I hinted that I was working on a project. Today I’ll tell you about it.
I’ve been thinking about doing something more permanent with the Seven Questions interviews I run on this blog, since the authors and I put a lot of time into creating that original content.
About two months ago, I read about the Espresso Book Machine arriving at Powell’s Books in downtown Portland and decided to check it out. Self-publishing a book that can be purchased locally–and then printed right there in the store, while the buyer watches, and without shipping costs (environmental and financial)–totally appeals to me.
These machines are installed in 80 bookstores, libraries and other intellectual centers around the country.
Once the Powell’s machine has its sales channel running, a book published there, in downtown Portland, can be purchased, and printed, at any of those 80 locations. As I understand, distribution is key to selling self-published books. (I’m talking about print books here, not ebooks, because after all, my content is already available online.) Putting together an author interview book seems like a wonderful way to try this technology and its built-in distribution channel.
Once I had the idea, I started thinking about my interviews. There are a lot of them–too many to include. But I had no idea how to organize them. So I thought. And I thought. And one day, it was obvious.
I’m a big believer in local products and building community. (Have you noticed?) As I asked the amazing Espresso staff more questions, my idea grew more focused. What about a local book? I quickly counted. Fifteen Oregon author interviews (13 done, and two in the works). That would work!
The next piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to add fresh content, so I’m not just reprinting the interviews. In a post-critique group conversation with Gigi Little and Kathleen Lane, I blurted out something about asking local authors to put together mini craft essays about writing. Flash essays, really. I came up with a focused set of prompts and began requesting work. And the wonderful community of writers began responding. With essays! For my book!
I’m pleased to announce that the first Seven Questions collection will feature 40 Oregon authors and their thoughts on the creative process.
Forty. Can you believe that? I am so giddy and totally humbled by the outpouring of support for this project.
As with the Seven Questions series, the book will feature a mix of traditionally published writers, small-press authors, self-publishers and those hard-working unpublished writers. Although I’m focusing on Oregon, the interviews and essays are relevant to all writers, as they focus on what it means to create, how we sneak our work into our everyday lives, and where we find inspiration. I’m hoping it’ll serve as a useful reference to writers, no matter where they live, while celebrating some of the people who make the Oregon literary scene so incredible.
I’m creating a small press right now to release the book, using the Espresso Book Machine as the printer. I have full control of every step of the process–and there are a lot of steps! (I had no idea.) My goal is to work like crazy to have this book launch at Wordstock, Portland’s literary festival, in mid-October. So if I’m unusually quiet, that’s why.
Have you self-published? Or have you created your own press? Am I crazy trying to get this multifaceted project out by mid-October? I would love your advice.