Bryan told me the other day that one of our contributors to the Cambridge Companion, the freelance writer and independent scholar Caleb Crain, had self-published a collection of entries from his blog, Steamboats Are Ruining Everything
Actually, Caleb would prefer that the book, which is titled The Wreck of the Henry Clay, not be described as “self-published.” In a blog entry about the book, he writes: “Let’s not call this “self-published,” by the way. That has a kind of disreputable sound. It’s a chapbook, all right? Why am I doing this? I saw not long ago that someone had published a book of his Twitters, and I felt I was in danger of being behindhand. I am hereby restored to the bleeding edge. Also, now, when the electromagnetic-pulse device is detonated, I will be the only blogger in America with backup. And of course I’m looking forward to kicking back while the cold, hard internet cash at last streams in.”
Caleb published the book using Lulu.com. In an interview with The New Yorker‘s “Book Bench” blog, Caleb says (half jokingly): “I think I turned my blog into a book for the same reasons I started a blog in the first place: It was free, I was curious, and, though I knew it to be morally wrong, liberation from the shackles of agents and editors seemed mine, if I was willing to seize it.” You can order it from Lulu here, either as a perfect-bound paperback for $14.95 plus shipping or as a PDF for $5.00.
I chose the paperback, because I wanted to check out Lulu’s production values. I’ll let you know how it looks when it arrives.