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« Things that keep us up at night | Main | In praise of guides »

New book coming!

I think it is a little ironic when (mostly) younger teachers and librarians come up to me at conferences and say, "Hey, aren't you that Blue Skunk guy?" For many educators, the fact that I have published four books, written dozens of articles, and hacked out  columns ad nauseum over the years is not salient when it comes to my "claim to fame." It's moments like these that make me feel that the world is moving past me - and I will never catch up.

Still I am excited since I have a new book coming out soon, hopefully in time for it to be available at AASL in Charlotte in early November.

School Libraries Head for the Edge: Rants, Raves and Reflections. Linworth, 2009 is an edited, somewhat updated, collection of my Head for the Edge columns I've been writing since about 1995. My son Brady did the wonderful illustrations for it.

Books are a surprising amount of work, even when they consist of things mostly already written. I took a full week last February of doing nothing but writing and editing to get this one into draft form. I spent another couple full days just going over the first draft. I have a real publisher who is anal about things like footnotes and permissions and such. This is hard for me since when it comes to writing, I am a much better sprinter than marathoner.

Now and then I get asked how one gets started as a conference speaker or consultant. My only advice (which should be considered suspect since I never deliberately planned to be such a low-life) is to write a book or two. Books still cast an aura of credibility on a person that blogs or tweets or other forms of self-publishing do not - at least for many. Often others assume that people who can write can also speak. There is no correlation as far as I can tell.

This may well be changing and I am sure there are other paths to being infamy in educational circles.

Anywho, I am always excited about a new book coming out, even if I have already read it - too many times. I know my mom will be proud and I will send the hometown library a copy so she can look me up in the catalog.

Write a book. I'll bet your mom would be proud too.

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Reader Comments (9)

Can't wait. I love reading that Blue Skunk stuff!

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Baumbach

I sure hope your speaking is as good as your writing. You're coming up to Canada in a few days to speak to our teacher-librarians in Winnipeg. We're all looking forward to it.

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJo-Anne Gibson

Congratulations on your new book and successful Grand Canyon hike. Your pictures are fabulous; what type of camera do you own?

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Sweny

Great job, Doug! (see? I haven't even read the book yet and I love it! Wow, you're good!) I look forward to the day that I too will be a published (book) author like Doug Johnson but I despair of that moment. . .you're just too solid, dude!

Laughing and wondering why we don't have long rambling exchanges like we used to in our blogs (have we outgrown them),

Miguel Guhlin

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel Guhlin

Hope to catch up with you in Charlotte! Hope your book is out by then. Whether others outside the field know you or not, your are a Library Rock Star!!!!

September 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFran Bullington

It will be really nice to have so much of your work at my fingertips! Thanks for getting this done, Sara

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara Kelly Johns

As a person who has heard you speak and read your columns, books, and blog, I would say that you speak as well as you write. Hope your new book is a best seller!

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Hey, just catching up on my feeds - CONGRATULATIONS! And you are so right - we do it all for the mom, may they live forever.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrances Jacobson Harris

Thanks, Donna!


Hi Jo-Anne,

I had fun with the Winnipeg folks! I hope you did as well. As so many are, too short a trip.


Hi Carol,

I just have an inexpensive Canon 1000 - about 3-4 years old. It is very small and light and does a pretty good job. But then consider the subject with which I had to work!


HI Miguel,

You are such a good (and prolific) writer, I am surprised you haven't put out a book yet. But I can't chide anyone since I didn't write my first book until I was in my mid 40s!

I am not sure we outgrew the blog exchanges as much as our lives just keep getting busier! You are probably spending all your time tweeting now!


Thanks, Fran, you are very kind. As to rock star, I always remind myself that my "big frog" status is within a very small pond.

Hope to see you in Charlotte as well!


Thanks, Sara. And yes, I am going to try to get to the Indispensable Librarian this winter!


HI Janice,

Thanks for the kind words. A "best seller" in professional publishing has a different meaning than in the commercial worlds, I'm afraid. The royalties won't let me retire!


HI Francey,

So when is YOUR next book coming out?


October 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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