Steve Love grew up watching football. In his hometown of Nowata, Oklahoma, Steve’s mother began taking him to Nowata football games under the Friday night lights when he was about nine months old. As a high school student, he played for the Nowata Ironman team, and his love of sports grew into a 40-year career as an award-winning sports journalist and author. Acknowledging that “old sports columnists can learn new tricks,” Steve now writes on his blog Toward the End: Readings, Writings, Football, where he offers a career’s worth of football knowledge and more.
New tricks indeed! Steve just independently published his latest book—a memoir—Football, Fast Friends, and Small Towns: A Memoir Straight from a Broken Oklahoma Heart, and 1106 Design is pleased to have collaborated with Steve on his book.
In Football, Fast Friends, and Small Towns, Steve recalls with fondness his time growing up in Nowata prior to moving to California as a teen. He fills his memoir with Americana to which Baby Boomers and subsequent generations can relate. Football plays a central role in the book, but as Steve says, “Football isn’t the only collision sport found here.” His memoir includes a clash between father and son and a small town struggling with economic collapse. Steve also recalls friends lost to the war in Vietnam and friends lost more recently, such as his best friend Bucky who died while Steve was finishing the book.
Writing his memoir helped Steve deal with what he lost after moving to California. “As you will discover in the book, losing my hometown had a devastating impact on me. To transition from a small town to a big high school, I stopped looking back and lost part of what I loved—Nowata, Oklahoma—and those who made me love it. I simply couldn’t find a way to bear the loss of it without shutting it out, which in retrospect was a mistake.” Writing his memoir was a way for Steve to make amends and heal, which, he says, “might be impossible.”
While Steve says that 1106 Design provided an education in publishing through its signature “hand-holding” service, he is obviously on a path of life-long learning already. While in his sixties, Steve wrote his Master’s thesis about Truth in Memoir, focusing on two of memoir’s challenges: faulty memory and dishonesty. The theme of balancing memory with honesty helped define his book. “It’s like working a puzzle with a piece or two missing,” says Steve. “For me, this book was a final piece of a puzzle, but that doesn’t mean it all fits together to create a perfect image of what it was like to lose the small-town life and the teammates and friends that made Nowata so special.”
Steve’s path to self-publishing is a good lesson for authors exploring publishing options. Four of his previous books were published by the University of Akron Press. Another book, The Golden Dream, was published by a publisher that focuses on sports books. Football, Fast Friends, and Small Towns didn’t fit with the objectives of the University of Akron Press, as only a portion of the book pertained to his career in Northeast Ohio. Steve thought that the University of Oklahoma Press would be the logical alternative; while they agreed the book was “heartfelt,” they nevertheless turned down the opportunity to publish it.
Steve began to do his research. He knew he needed help with the publishing process. “Since I did not want to search for each of the things I needed—editors, designers, proofreader, production manager, ebook converter, website designer, etc.—I found three comprehensive alternatives that offered all of the services under one roof,” recalls Steve. “I interviewed two companies and decided on 1106 Design. I may not be as stupid as I sometimes feel!”
As mentioned previously, 1106 Design worked with Steve on all aspects of the publishing process, including his website and his ebook. “I worried about many things when it came to formatting the ebook,” says Steve. “1106 Design lessened those worries.” In addition to an ebook, Football, Fast Friends, and Small Towns is available in paperback and hardcover formats. Steve chose to use both IngramSpark and Amazon for print on demand and distribution. “They target somewhat different audiences, and I felt I needed both.”
Most authors say that writing was the easiest part of indie publishing, but for Steve, it was meeting deadlines. “Each stage has its challenges and deadlines. As a professional journalist who lived with and met deadlines for more than 40 years, I knew this would not be a problem. And, 1106 Design helps authors meet the challenges and the deadlines.”
Steve did worry about making mistakes while setting up and sending the print and ebook files to IngramSpark and Amazon KDP. He was grateful that 1106 Design looked after these tasks and alleviated his concern. Says Steve, “The most important thing 1106 Design offers, besides a professionalism that has made my sixth book every bit as well done as those by so-called professional publishers, is reassurance along a sometimes challenging publication path.”
We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with Steve on his memoir. We asked him for any final advice he might have for authors exploring independent publishing. As a confirmed life-long learner, Steve advises authors to be willing to learn and hire a good firm like 1106 Design to teach them!
Football, Fast Friends, and Small Towns: A Memoir Straight from a Broken Oklahoma Heart
Author: Steve Love
Author website: https://stevelovewriter.com