Posted tagged ‘BackStroke Books’

8 Mississippi!

October 24, 2012

“Eight Mississippi” From 1 MISSISSIPPI by Karin Gustafson

A day dealing with decisions has left me with little oomph for a new poem or political post, so I turn to…. MARKETING!

Above is a picture from my counting book 1 Mississippi.  If you like counting, elephants and rather watery watercolors, it may just be up your alley (or it might work for a small child you know.)

Or, if you feel like you already know how to count will enough, you may prefer Nose Dive, a very fun young adult book that features NYC, high school, Broadway musicals, phone sex (don’t worry!), and a generational discomfiture with Barbara Streisand.  (By Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Jonathan Segal.)

From NOSE DIVE – by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Jonathan Segal

Or GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco.)  Poetry, primarily formal poetry (sonnets, villanelles, pantoums.) 

All the books are published by BackStroke Books (my own imprint.) 

Thanks for your indulgence and support. 

Debt Ceiling/Noveling

July 31, 2011


The above is not a political elephant but the logo for my little publishing company called BackStroke Books.

In the midst of the debt ceiling debate, I am finally finally getting my new novel done (the next project of BackStroke Books!) I say new novel–it, like the “resolution” of the debt ceiling debate, is something that has taken far too long to finish.

On the subject of the debt ceiling (how’s that for a segue?): the Left is mad at Obama–for not asserting “leadership,” for not somehow mandating higher taxes on the rich, for agreeing to cuts in social services and entitlements, for agreeing to cuts in government spending during a time of economic crisis. But what I wonder, listening to it all, has the Left expected Obama to do?

The guy (i) doesn’t have the votes to get the deal he might want; and (ii) is already viewed as Trotsky by an alarmingly large part of the population. He’s talked about fairness, obstructionism, the economy, on and on and on. He simply cannot do what a Bill Clinton might have done–mainly, I think, because Clinton was viewed as someone, no matter what he said, with a soft spot for the rich, while Obama, no matter what HE says, is forever suspected of forcing the sharing “Joe the Plumber’s” wealth.

In the meantime, many on the Right have become completely intractable. For some, the attack on the debt seems truly an attack on government in general, the perceived interference of minimum wage laws, food and drug regulation, the separation of church and state, (God forbid) environmental protection….

Writing a young adult comic novel seems kind of trivial in these circumstances. Although there seem to be plenty of non-adults around in politics, the comic part seems to sometimes veer towards tragedy.

And now for the denouement.

Finishing Manuscript/Formatting/Pains of Self-Publishing/Pearl Gets Bored

June 5, 2011

Pearl Doesn't Really Like Formatting Either

I trying today to finish a novel.  Unfortunately, I am not working on the fun part of finishing a novel–i.e. coming up with the last sentence and going “ah” at the end.

No, I’m in the ‘trying to fix all the formatting’ stage of finishing a novel.  This stage has a lot more ‘dammits” than ‘ahs.’

I like to think that my curses are directed at glitches in computer software, but the fact is that most of the glitches are being made by me personally; that is me pressing the wrong key and suddenly undoing everything I’ve done in the previous five minutes.

These glitches bring me to the wonders and head-aches of self-publishing.

I am planning to self-publish this novel.  I will use my own little publishing company, BackStroke Books.  (Yes, it even has a fledgling website–

The novel will be called Nose Dive.  It may not be a great novel, but it’s pretty good–funny, cute, readable.  And it will  have some really great illustrations, done by a fledgling but wonderful illustrator, named Jonathan Segal.

Now, I could (and should) send the novel around and around to independent agents and publishers instead of publishing it through BackStroke Books.

The problem is that route just feels impossible these days.  Especially for a funny, cute, readable–but possibly not absolutely great  or super-commercial–novel that is written by someone (i.e. me,) who is not a film star, fashion model, or reality show denizen, who does not have a billionaire politician father, and who has not been able to fabricate a history of drug addiction.

The up-side of self-publishing is that there is something very satisfying about ‘taking the bull by the horns,’ ‘not waiting for the machine,’ ‘plowing ahead.’

The bad side is, well… true publishers have distribution networks, publicity people, etc. etc.  And, of course, staff that know about formatting.

I have, thankfully, managed to commandeer some extremely good help in the copy-editing area.  But, still, I have to be somewhat involved, especially at this hopefully near-final stage.   (Dammit.)

“Waiter, What’s this… ‘not a fly’… doing in my soup?”

March 5, 2011

"I think, ma'am, it's the backstroke."

Have a nice weekend with good soup and better elephants!

If you have time, check out Going on Somewhere and 1 Mississippi by Karin Gustafson (and BackStroke Books) on Amazon.    (And buy a copy!!!)

1 Mississippi (See the movie, at least trailer!)

December 17, 2010

I am a truly terrible self-promoter.

Every once in a while, I feel I should try.

A while ago, I published a (I think) very cute little children’s book called 1 Mississippi. It is a counting book–its most notable feature are watercolor illustrations, mainly of elephants, that tend to be, well, more watery than the illustrations in many children’s books–more variegated, less blocky.  I think this is because I paint in a somewhat brushy way, with of different tints.  (Sort of like this blog.)

It is a sweet book for a young child, new parent, or, perhaps, a pet pachyderm.

The book is on sale on Amazon (with my other books Going on Somewhere, and Nose Dive),  and there is related gear on the publishing site BackStroke Books.   (if you want to buy or receive a book at a discount, contact me and I’ll see what I can do.)

Thanks much!


PS – I am linking this post to the wonderful Jingle and gooseberry garden.

(PS  – yes, the above video is not good!  Alas, my favorite movie actor, Pearl, is away this morning.  I will try to re-do later with her assistance.)