The Book, Deep Oakland

This is a page about my upcoming book, to be published on 2 May 2023 by Heyday Books, titled Deep Oakland: How Geology Shaped a City. I announced it in a post last year, but here’s where I’ll keep y’all updated, with the latest bulletin on top.

24 December 2022: The illustration program finished up this week, the galleys were locked down, and the final files went to the printer yesterday. This thing has gone to press! Heyday’s catalog now includes some of the complimentary blurbs that they solicited — and get this, the version they loved is now even better because a bunch of little tweaks got made in the meantime.

It was a pleasure to collaborate with artist Laura Cunningham, whose linework illustrations face each of the eleven chapters. Try as I might to make everything clear in prose, geology is full of knowledge that is best displayed in images.

For the next few months, I’ll be strategizing and preparing for an exciting year to help Deep Oakland reach its audience and ride the wave of interest I hope will ensue.

1 November 2022: Things go slowly, then quickly. Advance reviews are due back to the publisher soon. The illustrations are still in progress, but I’m excited. The final text will be ready for indexing later this month. The cover has been tweaked, and you can see it in Heyday’s catalog now. Soon I’ll send out the next newsletter.

For reading convenience, here’s the list of my posts describing the book, table-of-contents style:

Deep Oakland: The title
Chapter 1: The Hayward Fault
Chapter 2: Lake Merritt
Chapter 3: Downtown
Chapter 4: Mountain View Cemetery
Chapter 5: The Piedmont Block
Chapter 6: The Fan, or the Second Level
Chapter 7: Indian Gulch
Chapter 8: The Bay Shore and Flats
Chapter 9: Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
Chapter 10: Leona Heights and the Southern Oakland Hills
Chapter 11: The Ridgeline

30 August 2022: The fundraiser ended on 15 August, and the total of contributions stands at $5601.07, which means I’ll add a seventh copy of Deep Oakland to my gift to the city. The illustrator is at work on what I think will be a terrific set of informative drawings to complement the text. Advance review copies will be going out in September, the formal publication date is set for 2 May 2023, and bookstores are already posting pre-order pages (search for the book title or the ISBN number, 9781597145961, wherever you seek out books).

For the next few weeks I’ll be posting here on the blog every Monday, instead of my usual fortnightly schedule, and focusing on each of the eleven chapters to give you a good foretaste of the book. I also have some thank-you notes to write.

22 July 2022: The fundraiser topped out last night! My thanks to all contributors great and small, and thanks to Heyday Books for activating its longstanding network of supporters. It will be great if contributions keep coming in, but I will relax.

I have a premium to announce, but first I’ll mention my own private premium, which is to distribute six free copies of Deep Oakland in Little Free Libraries all over Oakland, specially marked for permanent circulation. That’s one for each thousand dollars in the fund drive, plus “one to grow on” as we used to say. The new public premium is that I’ll add another free copy for each $500 added above the goal between now and 15 August.

The subscriber count continues to rise for the newsletter “Deeper Oakland.” I’ll be launching that before the end of the month, and it will come on an irregular schedule whenever there’s something significant to announce, or a lot of fun stuff to share. I’m grateful that now I won’t need to flog the fundraiser in the newsletter.

Coming up next backstage at the press: the art program.

3 July 2022: The fundraiser is going well, I think: we’re a little over halfway there after just 19 days, with six weeks to go. I’ll beat the bushes some more soon, but at the moment I’m taking a few days to review the copyedit. It is a pleasure to see what a professionally attentive reader can show me about my own work.

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I’ll be launching a newsletter. That little throwaway sentence prompted 46 of you to sign up. Join in here if this is the first you’ve heard of it. That won’t start for a few weeks, but sign up now and you won’t miss a thing.

14 June 2022: Heyday Books has set up its fundraiser page for Deep Oakland here. Fundraising is a common practice among nonprofits of all kinds, of course. Not being a published book author, I was not familiar with the practice in publishing, but Heyday relies on tax-deductible donations for a quarter of its budget. (Other examples include Stanford University Press and, for those deep into science, the Annual Reviews empire and of course the Geological Society of America, where I was pleased to contribute on behalf of the epochal Mount Diablo Memoir last year.)

Anyway, the fund drive for Deep Oakland is now under way with a goal of $5,000 by 15 August. I’ll be coming up with some premiums in the coming weeks. It’s a lot of money for a single book with the same weird focus as this blog, but if you care to support me, here’s the fundraiser page again. Today I transferred the donations received since my announcement last year, as promised, and we’re off to a good start.

2 June 2022: The copyeditor has custody of my manuscript for the next month. I’ll be very interested in this phase because I’ve been a copyeditor for my whole career since my first post-college job at the U.S. Geological Survey, in Menlo Park, in 1974. I’m still a very good one, even though I plan to quit next year. And in all that time I never underwent the same experience myself. But I have strong opinions about the practice that I have strong opinions about, not part of this blog’s purview. (That’s a sideline of my Twitter account, though.)

My copyeditor will have penetrating insight into my text, and they’ll point out minuscule misconnections, like I used one word here but another one there. They have the style sheet I prepared along with the manuscript, so they won’t pester me about a particular choice — or they’ll persuade me to adjust it. (Case in point, I use Euro-style dates, and I mix metric and American measurement units.) It will be like getting a deep brain massage, but that will be in July. In the meantime, the fundraising deal will start.

13 May 2022: My final manuscript was accepted today. The printed book will be released in the spring/summer season of 2023.

Between now and then there’s a lot to do. The manuscript will be copyedited next, then typeset and laid out within the book design. The illustrations will be created in collaboration with an artist and fine-tuned. Printing and production and marketing and sales. I’ve done or closely witnessed all of these publication tasks in my career, and I look forward to experiencing the next year’s work.

More immediately, I’ll begin a fundraising campaign during the next three months to support these tasks. Heyday requires this in our contract, and it’s commonly done by nonprofit publishers. (If you’re impatient, I’m accepting donations and have already accumulated several.)

20 April 2022: Again, read last year’s post for an introduction. Right now I have ne-e-arly finished the final manuscript, and it will go out for copyediting next month. I’ve been a copyeditor for nearly fifty years, and I don’t expect any serious problems coming up, but I value the close attention and expert feedback. The hard work has been in the substantive editing stage, with Heyday’s staff editor swapping paragraphs around and making excellent suggestions as I fill in cracks and groom the text. It’s been a challenging but collegial experience, and the book is much better for it.

At the same time, we’ll be getting the illustration program under way. It may surprise you, given my emphasis on imagery in this blog, that I’m not submitting anything of mine for the book. I’m not capable of producing what I want to see, but there are excellent artists who are.

In a few months, I’ll commence the fundraising drive that is a widespread practice among nonprofit publishers. I’ll post more about that as the time approaches.

The fun stuff — typesetting, layout, galleys and review copies, cover design, author photos, indexing — won’t happen til late this year and early next year, looks like.

One Response to “The Book, Deep Oakland

  1. Chuck’s Weekly Five – July 8, 2022 | Says:

    […] Five: space and time in OaklandOakland has and has had amazing urbanists. They have helped us situate the city in new historical registers and thus experience its spaces in new ways. For example, in the 1960s, the Black Panther Party located the city in the history of the global battle against colonialism and that changed how many saw its spaces and politics. Andrew Alden, who publishes the Oakland Geology blog, does this in a different way. In article after article, he reads the city’s neighborhoods and iconic sites against the area’s geological past, documenting traces of the latter in the former with text and photos. By showing how the area’s natural and social histories interact, he reveals new dimensions of Oakland’s landscape, You can find his blog here. You can read about his forthcoming book, Deep Oakland, here. […]

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