Storytelling Links

I’m deep into the interviews for the author collection I’m putting together, and thinking a lot about storytelling, so here are a few links.

Lauren Kessler, whose interview will be in the book, wrote this hilarious and oh-so-true essay about how we self-sabotage ourselves as writers. While you’re there, check out her other craft essays, written for Etude, the narrative nonfiction magazine at the University of Oregon.

When I learned about the multimedia journalism program Lauren directs, I thought about my friend Piya Kochhar and all the conversations we used to have about the nature of story, and how many ways stories can be told. When Piya was in radio, working for Sound Portraits, she met a man named Howard Dully, who had been given a lobotomy as a child. She interviewed him and other lobotomy patients, and co-produced an amazing documentary that ran on NPR in 2005. You can hear My Lobotomy online if you missed it. The immediate response by listeners was so huge that it crashed the NPR servers.

Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Knievel Days, has been blogging about his book tour, including this inspiring post about the Mazama Festival of Books, where he shares quotes and observations from other speakers, including Kathleen Flenniken, the Washington State Poet Laureate; Jim Lynch, one of my favorite Northwest authors; Colleen Mondor, author of The Map of My Dead Pilots, Lidia Yuknavitch, whose novel Dora: A Headcase just came out (and whose memoir, A Chronology of Water, had everybody talking when it was released in 2011); and Ryan Boudinot, author of Blueprints of the Afterlife.

I first heard about Pauls in the Oregonian, where Jeff Baker runs the “Where I Write” series, so go check that out to learn about the unusual method Pauls uses to put words on the page. I kept my copy of that article on my coffee table for weeks just because I enjoyed it so much.

And one interesting bit of news. Since I’m publishing my Oregon writers collection using the Espresso Book Machine, I was interested to learn that the Espresso company, On Demand Books, signed a deal with Kodak, which means book printing kiosks will soon be added to CVS stores. That’s an unbelievable distribution network. Unbelievable. I wasn’t clear from the article if a book published here at Powell’s and sent through the Espresso sales channel would be available at all those Kodak kiosks, too. I imagine so, if the Kodak kiosks have access to all the other titles.

If you’re a small press publisher, or interested in self-publishing a print copy of your book, keep an eye on this technology and what happens when this Kodak deal gets going. I created my collection of interviews and essays to try the Espresso Book Machine, because I wanted to print locally and I was impressed by the 80 machines around the world–and the opportunity for readers to walk into a bookstore and print a copy of my book. As I’ve worked through the process with the very helpful Espresso staff members (thanks, Forrest, Polly and Alex!), I’m even more convinced by the potential of the Espresso Book Machine to print books and, more importantly, make them accessible across the country (and the world).

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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6 Responses to Storytelling Links

  1. Laura, thanks for the amazing links … you are a wealth of information. The news about Kodak is exciting and the possibilities for you and your collective off the charts 🙂 This sounds like the beginning of a great venture !!

    • Thanks, Florence! I am so fascinated by how the Kodak deal will change publishing, and I am feeling so lucky to be launching my press using this technology when such an expansion is on its way. I’m already brainstorming about my next books!

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    Thanks for the links and the info about Espresso/Kodak. I don’t think I can imagine what the publishing world will look like even five years from now!

    • My pleasure, jm! I agree. This feels like a monumental shift in the ability to publish and have books available at brick-and-mortar stores, even if they are stores that sell hairspray. The big key to harnessing this technology will be getting the word out about your particular titles so that casual customer knows to plug in your title and get it printed. My first attempt at this–the collection I’m launching in October–will teach me a lot about what works and what doesn’t, I think.

  3. robincoyle says:

    We have an Espresso Machine at our Central Library. It may be the only way I get published!

    • I think it’s a great option in terms of being local–and being local in a number of communities, like yours–and I’m excited to see how the technology evolves as these new Kodak machines come online. My ultimate goal, which I’m sure I’ll write more about, is to use my new small press to publish other people’s novels using the Espresso Machine and its distribution capabilities. The issue will be how to make that work financially.

      And meanwhile, Robin, I’m going to offer a fun promotion/giveaway for anyone who goes to buy my collection of 42 author interviews and flash craft essays at their local Espresso machine. So stay tuned!

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