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Adventures in Self-Publishing: A Personal, Do-It-Yourself History of Cartography

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NACIS 2016 Presentation
Mark Monmonier, Syracuse University
While finishing up Volume Six of the History of Cartography, I wrote and self-published a personal history titled Adventures in Academic Cartography: A Memoir. This presentation describes the project with the aim of encouraging others to share their own experiences in book form. Topics covered include organizing the book's content into ten largely thematic chapters; using the family financial diary instead of budgeting, we slavishly record every expense to verify activities and dates; hiring an experienced copy editor to provide the much-needed second set of eyes; adding a picture gallery; coping with Microsoft Word's limitations for page layout, including its propensity to down-sample images; designing and creating my own cover; publishing with Amazon using my own imprint, Bar Scale Press; preparing files for uploading to CreateSpace, Amazon's print-on-demand subsidiary; pricing affordable print and Kindle editions; orchestrating a low-energy promotion that actually got some decent book reviews; and making minor revisions.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing: A Personal, Do-It-Yourself History of Cartography

  1. 1. Adventures in Self-Publishing: A Personal, Do-It-Yourself History of Cartography Mark Monmonier Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs Syracuse University
  2. 2. Memoir (Dictionary.com): 1. A record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation; 2. Usually, memoirs. An account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography.
  3. 3. Cover of Book 1 Cover of Book 2
  4. 4. In standard usage among historians, internal history is the sort that focuses primarily or exclusively on the professional activities of the members of a particular scientific community: What theories do they hold? What experiments do they perform? How do the two interact to produce novelty. External history, on the other hand, considers the relations between such scientific communities and the larger culture. —Thomas Kuhn, “Notes on Lakatos” (1970)
  5. 5. Organization and contents Research and writing Abortive attempts at finding a “real” publisher Publishing with Amazon Creating a cover The obligatory photo gallery Marketing, promotion, reviews Revised edition Brief outline of what follows
  6. 6. Chapter titles and other content 7. History 8. “Theory” 9. Map Collecting 10. Writing 11. Epilog Bibliographic Essay Index Photo Gallery Preface 1. Background 2. Cart Labs 3. Research Streams 4. Books 5. Service 6. Consulting
  7. 7. Annotated pages for current project: a book on patented cartographic inventions
  8. 8. Record book entry for 8 – 11 May 1988, visualization symposium at Princeton; met John Tukey
  9. 9. No luck in finding a “real” publisher • Turned down by a literary agent: would be a hard sell because successful marketing would be too difficult • Too small a market for a commercial publisher • Syracuse University Press is no longer publishing memoirs—looked at the manuscript but was insufficiently impressed by the likely market • Two other university presses not publishing memoirs • Open-source publisher De Guyter Open had a favorable review of the proposal but would require a troublesome conversion to its own standard format.
  10. 10. Edward Tufte, self-publisher extraordinaire
  11. 11. Logo for the title page and back cover For the spine
  12. 12. Alexis Sadoti, Geo 381, Fall 2011
  13. 13. Size: 5.5" × 8.5" Birch Std, 44-pt., regular Chalkduster, 26-pt regular Gills Sans, 13-pt. regular + italic Background: 12C, 0M, 8Y, 0K Gills Sans, 12-pt. regular Corner mounts: 88C, 30M, 72Y, 16K
  14. 14. A matter of style
  15. 15. Thwarting default downsampling in Word by Adobe PDF Conversion
  16. 16. Now on Kindle too, minus the index
  17. 17. Out-of-pocket costs $1,560.00 140.42 79.00 55.00 31.15 27.93 10.00 $1,903.50 copy editing 22 promotional copies of print book Kindle conversion copyright registration 3 proof copies + tax + shipping 7 Kindle licenses, proofing and promotion ISBN registration for Bar Scale Press TOTAL
  18. 18. Libraries with copies, according to WorldCat.org 10 in the United States: Syracuse University University of Chicago Cornell University The Newberry New York Public Library University of Illinois University of Pennsylvania University of Denver Library of Congress UW—Milwaukee 1 in Canada: University of Alberta 6 in Europe: Universiteit van Amsterdam Zentralbibliothek, Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe Zürich Sächsische Landesbibliothek, Dresden Trinity College, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig Dublin
  19. 19. The no-go review copies list
  20. 20. “The cheeky take-off of the iconic 2008 Obama poster on Adventures’ front cover places his own image above the word MAP. What a fortunate juxtaposition for cartography, and we are equally fortunate that he has shared the story behind that juxtaposition.” —Roger Downs, in Imago Mundi “A remarkable clarity, punctilious copyediting and proofing distinguish his books, including this one, reflecting a flair for language that readers enjoy sampling.” —Paul Starrs, in Geographical Review
  21. 21. Bad break: Alt | though, rather than Al | though Overly gappy line Befor e After
  22. 22. Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History Forthcoming in 2017 from Palgrave Macmillan Herman E. Schulse, “Chronological Instrument,” US Patent 1,959,601, awarded 22 May 1934

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