Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Nebraska Way Attracts National Media Attention
What is the Nebraska Way? Some would argue that the Nebraska Way would include hard work, integrity and a concern for one’s fellow human beings. The results of the Nebraska Way are put on display most fall Saturdays in the form of the University of Nebraska football team. But after 30 years of unparalleled dominance on the football field, a change in the athletic department has led to an erosion of the Nebraska Way.
That is the premise of Jonathan Crowl's new book, The Nebraska Way. When Crowl, a University of Nebraska student and Daily Nebraskan reporter, decided to research and write about the Husker football team’s decline, he did not have to search far for a publisher. He selected iUniverse, a Print-On-Demand company with ties to Lincoln, NE.
Crowl’s book has received press attention from major media outlets including USA Today, and Sports Illustrated.
Crowl recently shared his experiences writing, researching and publishing the book.
What led you to publish the book through iUniverse? How did you learn about the company?
I heard about iUniverse from a friend who is also working on a book, and I checked their website out online. I realized early on in the process of writing the book that self-publishing was about my only option for the book, because I wanted the book out during the 2007 college football season, and I began working on it the spring prior. It would have been very tough working anything out with a traditional publisher given the timeframe.
Was the fact that iUniverse has an office in Lincoln a factor in your decision? Did you visit the office at all?
I never have visited the office, but their location in Lincoln was an advantage. I hoped they would be a bit more understanding of my book's subject and its target audience, being that they were located at the epicenter of Nebraska football and were likely to have a lot of football fans working for them.
Did you seek out a traditional publisher prior to settling on iUniverse?
No. Time was a major factor, and I was pretty confident that marketing would be taken care of by the media, given the book's relevance to the current football program and season.
What was your impression of the iUniverse process?
Self-publishing can be a little frustrating at times, because there isn't much devotion from the company to your book. Any written work is essentially being pushed through on an assembly line, and it can be difficult getting any "special treatment", even for a book that you feel is going to have reasonable success. But, once the book was mentioned in Sports Illustrated and the New York Times, along with most other sports news outlets, I think they saw the potential for the book and have been very accommodating. I've been really happy with the response I've gotten from them in helping me with the book.
How was the cover designed?
Doak Ostergard, who was a heavily-contributing source for the book and wrote the forward for it, took the picture on the front cover. The rest was the work of the iUniverse design team, and I'm happy with the way it turned out.
When you began writing the book did you have iUniverse in mind?
I had self-publishing in mind; I didn't stumble upon iUniverse until later, but once I was aware of them and researched them as a publisher, I didn't look anywhere else.
How long did it take to research and write the book?
Somewhere between 2-3 months. Two of those months were very intensive, though; seven days a week, and the researching was much more time-consuming than I expected it to be.
What was the most difficult part of that process?
Making revisions and editing on my own. It's really tough to assess your own work sometimes, and I was concerned at the time about missing some obvious things, having weak transitions, presenting information poorly, and so on. I didn't have the luxury of getting advice and feedback from other people, so the book is essentially the best work I on my own could do. I will say, I would have really loved to have an editor read through it. There's only so much a writer can do on his own.
What type of legal advice did you seek out with regard to the book's content?
I talked to some people who have been published and worked in publishing, and iUniverse had a lawyer look over the book. Additionally, before the book was sent to the publishing press, another attorney looked at some of the chapters in the book where semantics and accuracy of information were vitally important.
What are your career goals and how will the book impact them? When are you scheduled to graduate?
My goal is to graduate in December 2009, but internships and other projects could delay that another semester. I would like to keep writing. I'm not sure in what manner, if it's books or articles. But I would also eventually like to go on to graduate school and become a professor. There are a lot of avenues open to me right now, and I'm trying to keep it that way.
How have you been marketing the book? What has been most successful for you? What has been least successful?
My book was unique in that news outlets gobbled it up. I haven't done hardly anything to market it. I have appeared on a few radio shows to discuss the book and its content, but most of the hub-bub about the book is media-generated.
What kind of national publicity has the book received? Have you been doing radio, TV, newspaper interviews?
I've done a few radio and newspaper interviews. As I said before, the book has been in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and on, along with most other local news outlets in Nebraska.
What kind of reaction have you gotten from fellow reporters (Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal-Star, etc.)?
Not much of one, really. There are several people working up in the press box with books of their own, so I don't think having a book would generate big waves, even if I am much younger than them. But I'm sure there's a wide range of reactions. Some might not care, and some may be aggravated by it - because, you know, young people aren't supposed to write books. I know a few of them have used their space in newspaper columns to take a couple shots at me, but that doesn't really phase me. One thing to realize is that when news of the book broke, most people jumped right into commentary and criticism without knowing much at all about the book.
Initially there were a lot of people blasting me for writing a book, or trying to cash in on it and get my tuition paid for, but when people are that judgmental without knowing the full story, or the entirety of the book's content - I think it says more about them than it does me.
What has the reaction been to the book from players, coaches, other athletic department personnel?
For the most part, there has been no reaction. Most people just want the news of the book to die down as quickly as possible. I have heard a little positive feedback from within the world of Nebraska athletics, but I'm not going to point in any directions.
What has the reaction to the book been from your peers and your professors?
Very positive. Professors have been very supportive, although surprised, and many of my peers were shocked as well. I didn't tell many people about the book before it came out in the newspapers, so I'm sure a lot of my friends were caught off guard as well.
How has the publication of the book impacted your ability to cover the team for the Daily Nebraskan?
I don't think so. It could have depending on how the athletic department handled it, or how I handled it, but I've tried to separate the book and writing for the DN. I wrote the book at a time when I wasn't writing for the newspaper, so that has helped to keep them separate. No one has denied talking to me or treated me differently, and if anything, it gives me a much better knowledge of football team, which is a benefit to my reporting.
Will the book be available in local bookstores?
It's already in most bookstores in Omaha and Lincoln, as far as I know.


Post a Comment

<< Home