Ig Publishing, citing titles like Chelsea Green's Crashing the Gate and its own Confessions of a Former Dittohead, believes it has found a niche in turning blog posts into books—it will publish three more blog-based activist titles next spring.
Cofounded in 2000 by Elizabeth Clementson, who serves as Ig publisher, and her husband, editor-in-chief Robert Lasner, the small Brooklyn indie press releases eight books a year. Its titles on progressive politics include Dittohead, which recounts the political transformation of author Jim Derych from a right-wing Rush Limbaugh "dittohead" to a liberal Democrat blogger (now on Huffingtonpost.com). The book, based on Derych's blog, has sold 10,000 copies since its publication in April and "is still selling," Lasner said.
The house has more blog-based titles in the works, beginning with Framing the Debate, a book on controlling the context and meaning of popular political discourse by Jeffrey Feldman (Frameshopisopen.com), coming in April 2007. Feldman is a disciple of George Lakoff, author of the bestselling Don't Think of an Elephant. In May 2007, Ig will release Moving a Nation to Care by Ilona Meagher (Ptsdcombat.blogspot), which deals with the problems faced by troops returning from Iraq who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. And in June, Ig will publish Steeple Jacking, by two United Church of Christ ministers, John Dorhauer and Sheldon Culver (Talk2Action.com). Their book surveys longtime organized efforts by right-wing religious groups to infiltrate, destabilize and take over liberal church congregations. All the books will have 10,000-copy first printings, Lasner said.
"We look for blogs focused on a single issue or theme," Lasner said, "rather than just general commentary." Basing each title on an ongoing single-issue blog serves to build an audience online. "Our marketing doesn't start from scratch," explained Lasner. "These bloggers are committed and are going to write about these issues anyway—so promotion doesn't begin with the book and it won't end after the book is out."
Equally important, said Lasner, is that with elections looming, activist bloggers want their books out fast to engage the public—often much easier for a small press to do. "These books are ideal for small presses," he explained. "It will be less than a year between the signings and publication of these books. We could have published them in three months if we didn't need to prepare for Consortium, our distributor."
"Ten years ago these people wouldn't have been authors," Lasner added, "but blogs are helping to turn regular people into activists and authors and giving them the power to fight back."