The Governor of Goat Hill
The Governor of Goat Hill - Don Siegelman, The Reporter who Exposed his Crimes, And the Hoax that Suckered Some of the Top Names in Journalism
First, the book by the numbers, then some explaining, such as why it's so long, why it was self-published, and other matters.
Pages with text: About 620.
Total pages: 688, including photos, footnotes, and index.
Photos: Two sections, 10 pages each, with total of about 50 photos, political cartoons, and other images.
Cover Art: Designed by Press-Register cartoonist J.D. Crowe.
Publisher: The book is self-published, through the company, iUniverse, and will be printed and distributed by Ingram, of Nashville.
The book is of course long. Unlikely as it may seem, it was almost longer. I cut several chapters and trimmed much else. For me, a 900 page book would have been easier and taken less time.
One contributor to the length is the number and complexity of the Siegelman scandals, most of which had their own set of characters, often completely separate from other scandals.
Also, the story kept growing. About 170 pages are devoted to events that followed the verdict, which was to be the end of the book. For example, I felt it necessary to write a preface, after already doing the introduction, to let readers know that I would be addressing the ludicrous claims, given credence by the likes of the New York Times, "60 Minutes," and Time magazine, that Karl Rove in some fashion engineered the prosecution of Don Siegelman.
The book's final section is as much about the reporting on the case by those and other news outlets as it is about Siegelman and, for that matter, Richard Scrushy.
Though lengthy, "The Governor of Goat Hill" is written in what I hope readers find to be a conversational, entertaining and easy-to-absorb manner, as opposed to being technical or academic. (For a taste of the book, see, "Book Excerpts,")
When I decided to write the book, I had no contacts in the agenting/publishing world, and that remains the case. I was lucky to have an excellent and respected if small Montgomery publisher agree to take it on. However, last May, and prior to the start of editing, I asked to be released from the contract so I could self-publish. This was not a reflection at all on the publisher. I did so chiefly for two reasons: I thought I could get it to market faster, and, after years of being a reporter, I wanted a break from being edited. I wanted total control, to be able to write things the way I wanted to write them, without having to battle for that right, as was sure to happen, probably frequently, with a book of this length. Many will say that the book would have been improved with professional editing, and certainly shortened, but it's a choice I made.
I realized there would be a bias against a self-published book, that people would assume it wasn't good enough to be published through normal channels. My best defense is the book itself, which I'm proud of.
I researched self-publishing companies and found what I believe to be the best, Indiana-based iUniverse. I've been very happy with their performance and attention to my book, and think it's going to look great.
Lastly (and in part as defense for the price of the book), I would like to dispel a myth, common to the public, that the act of writing and publishing a book automatically translates to wealth.
I'm embarrassed to say how long it took to write. More than three years, for sure, and I thought it would require about three months. For more than two years I've been without a paycheck, and we have survived on my wife's salary, and the sale of mutual funds and stocks that were intended for the future.I have dreams of making money from the book, but when considering my expenses and the cost of my time, even at a nickel an hour, have no real expectation of ending up in positive territory. I hope that makes the cost of the book a bit more tolerable.X