By Dave Lieber
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
You’re Kelly Kazek, managing editor of the Athens (Alabama) News Courier, and you just enjoyed one of the biggest days of your life. Your first book was published, and you shared the party with everyone at the town square.
As a 5-year member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, you didn’t sit around and wonder what your future would hold. No, you came up with the idea for your book in July and published it by September. Two months time! Surely, an NSNC record.
If you could do it in two months with your schedule, what’s everybody else’s excuse?
This is no game, no ego puff for you. You’re a single mom raising a 16-year-old daughter, Shannon. Her father died when she was 2. Now you worry about how you’re going to send her to college.
“You know what journalists are paid,” you say. “I have to figure out something – and fast. It’s time to start making money on this gig.”
You manage a staff of seven at the paper. Work 50 hours a week or more. Then you come home to Shannon. Yet you still found time to collect 60 of your favorite stories and ask the local non-profit, Art on the Square, to put up the money to publish your book. In return, you’ll split profits with the group, which supports local visual, literary, musical and film artists.
Your book, “Fairly Odd Mother: Musings of a Slightly Off Southern Mom”, was launched during the late summer Art on the Square festival. There were cake and balloons, plus a free make-a-wand craft for children who visited your booth.
“We sold out of books,” you said later. “That was a bummer. We could have sold more.” How many? “About 100, if you add the waiting list.”
“It has been so exciting,” you say. “The response has been great from the community. I have a Facebook fan page, and I hear a lot of feedback.”
Your book is 170 pages, print-on-demand. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Hardcover/$25.95, softcover/$16.95 and e-book/around $6.
This is a lifetime thrill for you, a reason to celebrate. For years people told you that your column was funny. Like that lady who once said, “My husband was sitting at the breakfast table, giggling some, and I knew he was reading your column.” Now for all eternity, your best stuff is tucked between two hard covers of a book.
You’re Kelly Kazek, a hard-working small town newspaper editor suddenly living the author’s dream. Now that you’ve started, you can’t stop. Now that you’ve started, you don’t ever want to.
For 14 years, Dave Lieber, leader of WatchdogNation.com, has written regularly for columnists.com and The Columnist, the official newsletter for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists