Dog Ear Interviews Indie Author and Professor Judith Noble
Judith Noble teaches the world to speak the Spanish language and love it the way she does. Together with her late husband, Jaime Lacasa, she taught classes in how to master this Romance language, publishing companion textbooks and reference books. We sit down with this long-time professor as she shares her experience making the transition from traditional publishing to self-publishing.
How does it feel to self-publish, Speak Some Spanish?
This is the first book that I have written alone. A lot of feelings surround it. I started on this book a long time ago, so it feels great to have it finally come to fruition.
What sparked the idea for this book?
After my husband passed away in 2007, I moved from Iowa to Eugene, Oregon to be near my son and his wife. I hadn’t thought about publishing another book but a friend approached me about teaching her Spanish. I got excited about the prospect and easily fell back into the routine of putting together a curriculum. Writing the companion book, Speak Some Spanish, sprang to life from there.
Do you have a process or routine for writing your textbooks?
It really depends on the circumstances. When my husband and I were writing books together, we would start as soon as we got home from work and write all weekend. We would get up at 2 a.m. to produce the audiotapes while our children were asleep, so we could eliminate background noise. Come Monday, we’d start teaching the new material. The turnaround was sometimes that quick.
With Speak Some Spanish, I started writing it in 2009. Trying to find a happy medium between the material for a full-year college course and material tailored to my target audience took time. After reworking the material several times, it was finally ready to publish in 2016.
Tell us about your book. What do you hope readers will gain from reading it?
I designed it for the adult self-learner, to get a basic knowledge of the language and to be able to go out and communicate. It is not a full college course but it does give them a good foundation from which to go out into a community and engage native speakers. It also provides in-depth grammatical knowledge and an extensive vocabulary listing.
In the past, students were taught to memorize phrases and how to conjugate verbs. I don’t believe in that method and it is not how this course is taught. The book gives an individual a solid framework with which to navigate being out in the real world. If they want to continue studying the language, they can take a formal college class.
A few of your other books are published through traditional publishing. What are the differences you experienced between it and self-publishing?
Fifty years ago, the traditional publishing business was very different, more personable. Self-publishing didn’t exist. We published our book, Introduction to Quechua: Language of the Andes, through a traditional publisher. When it was time to update it, we wanted more control over the content and decided to go the self-publishing route.
Before we could publish the second edition, my husband passed away. I put the book away for a few years until I was ready. I still wanted to self-publish and that’s when I found Dog Ear Publishing. My experience with Dog Ear is marvelous. The staff is so supportive. You get the guidance and attention you need. They were always there to answer my questions. You can keep your content intact the way you want it. The entire publishing process was a reasonable 12 to 16 weeks, which is far shorter than the lengthy wait with traditional publishers.
Dog Ear Publishing also produced audio versions of your books.
For Speak Some Spanish, an original audiobook was produced with Jay Morrison providing the narration. Matt at Dog Ear worked his magic and it came out great. The audiobook for the second edition of Introduction of Quechua is just a duplicate copy of the original audio cassette but a necessary partner to the book.
What are you working on next?
Back in 1980, Jaime and I wrote the Complete Handbook of Spanish Verbs, which is a very easy-to-use source for the complex aspect of learning a language. The book is out of print and I am working with the folks at Dog Ear to get it back in publication. It is a very needed reference source for anyone studying Spanish.
Why Dog Ear?
Judith Noble is a well-respected Professor Emerita with over 40 years of experience teaching the Spanish language. Her passion to share this beautiful language with students is the reason behind her desire to publish. If like Judith, you want to share your work with others, check out our website at www.dogearpublishing.net. We can help you produce a quality publication that will reflect who you are as an author.