Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
With a lengthy track record of unfulfilled New Years
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 Years 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 doesnt
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 havent 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 GliddenOderkirk House. The author comments, Maybe
you cant 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
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
I need to make a plea here: If you have one of the first
editions and dont 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
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 wont
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 Boys Life.)