While some students spend their time at Ohio State with their heads buried in books, one student spent his senior year publishing his own.
March 2011 marked a double victory for OSU alumnus Sean Plaskett, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and released his collection of poetry titled, “Four Seasons.”
“It took a lot of insistence from very close friends and family,” Plaskett said about his decision to compile his poetry into a book.
Plaskett said the people around him always encouraged him to publish his work, but he took their words as compliments instead of advice. It wasn’t until a family friend published his own work that Plaskett seriously considered writing his own book of poetry.
In July 2009, Plaskett said he began compiling the poems for his book, which is divided into four sections, each consisting of seven poems.
By February 2010, Plaskett said he had written 27 of the 28 poems he needed to begin the publishing process.
“It took me about half-a-year to write the final poem of my book,” Plaskett said.
He said he was looking for the inspiration to write the seventh poem in the section titled “Love and Dedications.” This section, representative of spring, is written about Plaskett’s relationships.
“The last poem that I ever wrote for my book was a poem dedicated to my girlfriend,” Plaskett said. “I wanted to make the seventh poem literally from the heart. I couldn’t have rushed into completing the book any earlier than I did.”
He waited until August 2010 to contact a publishing company. Plaskett contacted Xlibris Corp., an Indiana-based self-publishing company, and was able to receive a discounted price of $1,500 to publish his work.
“I almost had everything done when I contacted them,” Plaskett said.
From that point, Plaskett said he worked with a marketing team of five people for four months to publish his book.
“It was very quick, very business-like,” Plaskett said. “They were very diligent in their work; they were also very patient too.”
Patience was key to this process, Plaskett said.
After working on his final poem for nearly six months, Plaskett said his next obstacle was finding art for the cover of the book.
“I didn’t want to take an image off Google,” Plaskett said.
He said it took about two months for him to find an artist and one more month to allow the artist to design the cover of his book.
Plaskett said his favorite poem in “Four Seasons” is titled “Iron.”
“It’s about one of the deepest life lessons I’ve ever learned about the … preciousness of relationship at every level,” Plaskett said.
Jimi Rodriguez, an OSU alumnus and friend of Plaskett, also said that “Iron” was his favorite poem in Plaskett’s book.
“That probably is his best,” Rodriguez said. “His word play is always impressive.”
Plaskett said publishing his own book didn’t interfere with his schoolwork while finishing up at OSU.
“I never sacrificed my schoolwork for the book,” Plaskett said. “It wasn’t my life. It wasn’t what I was dedicating every hour of my life to. That’s why it took 13 months.”
“Four Seasons” was ready to be released in December 2010, but Plaskett decided to push the release date back until March 2011, to coincide with his graduation from OSU.
“It was fulfilling in the sense that I was able to expand on the work I’ve been doing since my freshman year,” Plaskett said.
Plaskett won’t know how many copies have sold online until June, when he receives his first royalty check.
In the end, Plaskett said most of the stress and pressure he felt was self-inflicted.
“I always felt the pressure to do it more quickly than it needed to be done,” Plaskett said. “It was making me anxious that it was taking that long. That was pressure I put on myself.”
As for Plaskett’s career as an author, he said he is not currently working on a new book, but he doesn’t mind adding this accomplishment to his resume.
“I do put it on my resume,” Plaskett said. “Not as an ego booster, but as evidence and gratification for all of the people who made this possible. It’s always for a purpose outside of boosting my ego.”
For now, Plaskett said he is completely focused on leaving OSU to join Rodriguez in Houston, Texas, to work for Teach For America, Inc. in June 2011.
Despite the extensive process, Plaskett credits his success to his faith and patience.
“In my patience came the best thing that ever happened to me,” Plaskett said. “The No. 1 thing that it’s done for me is that it’s yet another example of the truly great things you can accomplish by simply believing you can do it.”
Plaskett’s book is now available for purchase on websites for Amazon.com, Xlibrus Corp. and Barnes and Noble Inc. Prices range from $10 for the e-book to $30 for the hardcover copy.