Review by: Moira Richards

12/15/02

Love Letters to Vermont - a New England Journal
ISBN: 0963482769
By Elayne Clift

Love Letters to Vermont-- a New England Journal records Elayne Clift's impressions of the first two years that she lived in her newly adopted state of Vermont. Her collection of essays and poems introduces us to many of the neighborly people and unique delights of the North American state, and it acknowledges too, some (few :-) of the drawbacks to living there. With Elayne, we visit the inhabitants of an old cemetery, we explore Vermont's Magic Kingdom, we learn about some of the redoubtable women who helped to change Vermont's history and to establish equal rights and status for its women.

The journal serves as an armchair tour of the New England state for those of us who have never visited it, as well as a diary of the excitements that anyone might experience when making that "de-celerated" move from life in a big city, to that in a small town anywhere in the world. Although not all quiet little towns might boast road signs that caution, "Beware the Moose!"

Ms Clift writes with enthusiasm and an eye for the smaller delights of her new life, and I was curious to learn more about her. Her website ( http://www.sover.net/~eclift/ ) lists a full and varied biography, and I was particularly interested to learn that she has self-published a number of her own books in the last ten years. So, I asked her a few questions:


MR Elayne, your first book was published in 1991 by KIT Inc. Why did you subsequently publish your next seven books under your own imprint - OGN Publications?

EC I started publishing under my own imprint in 1994, when the publisher of my first book declined to publish my second collection of commentary. I now give workshops on self-publishing called Hustle and Chutzpah: How to Publish Your Book Without Asking Permission, because I see self-publishing as a viable and self-respecting way to get one’s work in print - provided writers know who their audience is, how to promote and distribute their work, and what the financial implications are.

MR Those financial implications, are they the onerous -- sell your house and kids -- kind of outlay, or are they within the reach of anyone who can manage costs carefully?

EC Self-publishing can be done quite reasonably. Of course, print run, page count, cover quality, and so on can make a big difference in cost, but a small print run (say 1000 copies) of an average size book (200 pages) can be done for under $5,000. Once initial costs are met, it is not that expensive to do another print run, although unit cost drops with a larger first run.

MR Do you now publish exclusively through OGN Publications?

EC No, my second anthology, Women's Encounters with the Mental Health Establishment: Escaping the Yellow Wallpaper, was not self-published. I sold it to Haworth Press, an academic publisher in Binghamton, NY, and it was published in September 2002. My third collection of newspaper columns and commentary, Sanity for All in the 21ST Century: Reflections of a Fin de'Siecle Feminist, has just appeared (November 2002) and was published by Xlibris, an online, print on demand publisher.

MR Well you certainly keep abreast of all the newest publishing opportunities! How effective did you find the online, POD route to be?

EC While it was convenient and hassle-free, I may revert to my own label. I wanted to compare that experience to my own self-publishing, but ironically, some bookstores seem to think less of online publishers than struggling self-publishers. They view them as vanity presses.

MR So its back to OGN Publications as your preferred way to publish?

EC No and yes. I am now at work editing an invited collection of writings on women, philanthropy and social change, which I expect to sell to a university press. And I have also just completed my second short story collection, The Limits of Love, which I will publish next year under the OGN Publications imprint.

MR Well, I look forward to reading more of your work and good luck with the sales!

 

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