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Steve Almond's self-publishing adventure

January 25, 2010 |  4:32 pm


Steve Almond can write memoir ("Candyfreak") and he can write short stories ("My Life in Heavy Metal"). He can teach, he can essay, he can read with a performer's flair. But until December, he'd never thought he'd publish a book all by himself.

In our Off the Shelf column, Almond writes about his experience bringing a tiny run of "This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey" to life: Read one way, it's a collection of short-short stories. Flip it over and it's a collection of short-short essays about writing.

I stood mesmerized before the Harvard Bookstore's Espresso Book Machine, watching the pages of my book being scanned with a red laser, sprayed with ink and cut. It only took minutes for the inaugural copy of "This Won't Take but a Minute, Honey" to slide down a small chute. Not only was my copy warm, the cover was still sticky. I nearly wept.

For my debut reading at the Harvard Bookstore, I convinced Brian to design two new covers and offered readers their choice. The books were printed while I read. I sold 84 copies that night, about 75 more than I tend to sell at a reading....

I also love the idea that books will be evolving, rather than static, entities. This is why I add new material to every edition of "This Won't Take but a Minute, Honey."

The book is available, for now, from the Harvard Book Store. His next book -- "Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life" -- will be published by Random House in April.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images courtesy Steve Almond