Given a choice of journalism students to speak to, University of Nevada, Reno, has got to be right up there. Las Vegas courts information officer Michael Sommermeyer and I held forth about “Simpson Then and Now” at the university’s Journalism Week. Michael summed it up pretty well when said, the 1995 trial in Los Angeles was the trial of the century, the 2008 trial in Las Vegas was the hangover. Thanks to the UNR IT folks and Reynolds National Center for Courts and Media Director Gary Hengstler, the session was a pretty high-tech affair. It was streamed live onto the Web, it was professionally videotaped for uploading onto the University’s website, Michael Twittered about it and posted an email on the Conference of Court Public Information Officers listserv. And the journalists in training asked great questions. After high-fiving each other, Michael and I decided to take our act on the road. Now to find a sugar daddy to underwrite the show.
And therein lies the misconception of what happens when a book is published. It’s pretty frigging expensive — for the author. And I’m not talking about the self-published author. Permissions fees in the hundreds of dollars, for photographs and other copyrighted material, website development and maintenance, gift copies for people who agreed to be interviewed, book tour expenses, ads and other promotional costs? All funded by the author. In fact, given the costs, there’s little likelihood of ever even breaking even, much less ending up on the black side of the ledger. So why do it? Perhaps my fellow Missouri Press author Roy Harris whose seminal work on the Pulitzer Prize for puhlic service, Pulitizer’s Gold, was published last year, has the right attitude. The goal is to get the word out about the book.