This website would not exist but for the possibility of selling books. Writing began purely as a source of my own enjoyment. Thoughts of publication were fleeting and amusing, never serious. My writing remained no more than a portal to adventures in worlds of my imagination.
Years later, the real notion of publication reared its attractive and oddly poisonous head, and I started researching the field and submitting manuscripts.
Eye opening, to be sure. Submitting - an ominous term in any business venture - resulted in my first two injuries: rejection is disappointing, and my writing sucked. Not the 'storytelling' part, that has always been fine. It was the grammar and basic composition skills. I should have known flunking English all the way through high school would eventually catch up to me.
Disappointed, but not discouraged, I gathered my old college grammar books, bought one called 'The Elements Of Style', and worked on improving the poor writing. It is harder than it sounds, but unlike so many other skills, such as learning to play the violin, the improvements are immediate and others can not hear you fail from the other room. Your struggles go relatively unnoticed.
My writing was a pastime, not a profession. It didn't, couldn't, pay the bills. I submitted, and was rejected, at least one hundred times, and told people the stack was thick enough that I used it to reach items on high shelves. Submissions stopped, but I had changed. When people asked what I did, the reply was now 'write'. I held jobs to eat and get out of the weather, but was now a writer.
Several responses from publisher editors alerted me to my lack of understanding of the industry. Upon investigation I discovered how horribly skewed against the writer standard publishing contracts had become. The publisher gets about 20%, the distributor gets about 40%, and the bookstore gets about 40%. Do the math and you'll see about how much the author gets. Of course, if you are J.K. Rowling, once a public fever takes control of your sales, a great agent and vicious lawyer team up to alter that model. Until then, the novice author remains directly behind the eight ball.
By now I was running my own Yacht Service off Boston Harbor, a summer fun business in a land of small summer. My writing thrived during the bitter marches of winter where, like Dr. Zhivago at Varykino, I sat bundled up in a poorly heated office pecked at the keys like two-fingered dynamo. For the first time, on a keyboard to my new computer, connected to a new internet, where I discovered the excitement of a fledgling industry called 'self-publishing'.
In the words of George Takei, "Oh, my."
I built and lived aboard this gaff schooner, which I named 'Falcon'. Starting in Lynn, Massachusetts, I traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, trucked Falcon to Naples, Florida, and after 30 years, am selling her.
The writing has always been great fun. I seldom thought publication might mean instant riches, but if there is a chance others might enjoy what I produce, I will need to have it printed and made available. So here we are.
I have always loved traveling and look forward to more in the future. It is the whole reason for my plan to design and build my new land cruiser combination. Trips and destinations will be documented here.