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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column every other Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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A sure-fire New Year's resolution

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................January 6, 2015

Note to readers: Barry Schrader’s “DeKalb County Life” column will appear every other Tuesday.

With a lengthy track record of unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions over the years, I finally found a way to make one that is guaranteed – I am hoping, anyway.

The reason I say “am hoping” is that the shipment of books is not due to arrive on my doorstep until today.

To digress, way back in October I decided another batch of my favorite columns were ready for publication in a second volume of “Hybrid Corn & Purebred People,” and my friend and printer John Gordon agreed to produce another book for me. So I then made that my New Year’s resolution to have it published and ready for distribution by now.

The presses started rolling last week and the copies are on their way here.

Being the eternal optimist, I have scheduled book signings at Sycamore (9:30 to 11:30 a.m.) and DeKalb (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) libraries for Saturday, plus one at my domicile – Oak Crest on Sunday afternoon.

The handsome ads with my mug shot and book cover will start appearing Wednesday in area media, and if a blizzard doesn’t strike this weekend, the book should be sold out in no time. In the ads it states I hope 500 readers will buy a book, since I ordered an initial press run of 500. An e-book may be forthcoming, if it appears desirable.

For those who haven’t self-published before, it can be a daunting task. It is easier for me since my columns already are in print and just have to be tweaked by an editor/designer, and scrutinized by a live proofreader, not spellchecker. But even with three proofs, I just found two typos in the Dedication to Annie Glidden page.

If you are lucky enough to snag a book, see if you can spot them: a missing letter “r” and a missing quote mark high up on the page.

The front cover allegedly shows the demolition of the Annie Glidden—Oderkirk House. The author comments, “Maybe you can’t tell a book by its cover, but this cover does tell a story.”

Display ads that will appear this week in area media. The number 500 is significant because that is the number of books printed in the initial press run.

Most challenging for me was narrowing my choice of columns in this book to 100. I could only print a book of 208 pages or the price would discourage casual purchasers. So I kept within the limits set for my first book in 2010, which sold out in two months, sadly.

I use the word “sadly” since not only did it go out of print quickly, but Borders Books that took charge of my sales went bankrupt shortly thereafter and never paid me a dime. Just ask my tolerant wife how much that put a dent in our retirement savings.

I need to make a plea here: If you have one of the first editions and don’t want it collecting dust on the shelf, bring it to a book signing this weekend and I will trade you for a new 2015 edition plus hand you a five dollar bill, just for your willingness to share it with others. I actually have a waiting list from 2010 of people who wanted the first one.

The front cover caused some consternation among my advisory group (luncheon friends), and was changed late in the process. I had originally planned a colorful graphic of the Kishwaukee River that tells the story of our most valuable natural resource around DeKalb County, except of course for our rich, fertile soil, the finest in the Midwest.

But after I had taken a beating from Northern Illinois University and its foundation in the attempt to preserve and restore the Annie Glidden heritage farmstead, it became clear to me this news should be broadcast in a vivid, graphic way. So a new cover and an added epilogue at the end of the book were created.

In any event, I am pleased with the final product and hope readers enjoy some of the columns they may have missed in the Daily Chronicle these past four years. I even enlarged the type to 14-point-size in several columns so those my age won’t need additional magnification for bedtime reading.

(Only a few of us older than 65 will recall using a flashlight under the covers to peruse the fine prose in “Playboy” way back when. Or maybe it was just “Boy’s Life.”)

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115