Letters from Bill - publishing project advice

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by Uncle Target, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Active Member

    Having transcribed 94 letters by an officer of 67 Field Regt given to me by a relative with the intention of writing a book in his memory , I would like to allow people to read his stories told at the time in his own words.
    I compiled the letters into a book and followed a suggestion to get it published but the suggested publisher rejected it out of hand as all books based on letters are the same, repetitive, family biased and heavily censored. This was before they had seen it.
    The author of the letters was an advertising executive writing travel brochures for a living.
    His style of writing is of his time and descriptions startlingly colourful.
    I would like to post some excerpts for the membership to see.
    I am not trying to sell the book but within reason would print out copies from my computer at cost if there is an interest.

    Should the publishers be wrong I would consider getting it printed professionally to order if people would pay a fee in advance (as I am on a pension) but could not afford to include photographs as they would inevitably come from IWM (I know which I would use and have them on a non commercial licence) and cost close to £1000 for copyright for commercial use.

    However I dont want the book to be abused by people making printed copies to sell on line.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how to accomplish my project.

    The author of the letters was in a Survey Jeep which struck a landmine in Florence in Sept 1944,
    He lies with his colleagues in Florence War Cemetery.

    Uncle Target is the title of a sketch he produced on the wall in BHQ four days before he died,
    along with his son Mike Target and a sketch of Cleopatra clasping an asp to her bosom entitled I Know its silly but its nice.
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    You ought to consider 'commercial' print on demand or e-books. Through Amazon you can do both or there are alternatives like Lulu. Yes, there's some effort at the front end but thereafter it should be minimal hassle with the prospect of some return.

    Instead of photos, you might also consider using the war diaries - if they're not overly technical - to provide context.
    Osborne2 and Incredibledisc like this.
  3. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Active Member

    Thanks for the advice. I was given similar ideas by a local author I met last year.
    I have a few reservations regarding free book sites as they seem to use pdf which people can print off.
    I took up book binding to produce books of family trees for my relatives as Christmas presents and have an acceptable quick method picked up on you tube.

    Several guys doing it mentioned downloading and printing books from free websites,
    putting them in attractive covers and selling them on line.
    That put me off the idea.

    I am I worrying about nothing.

    My author contact uses such sites for books he cant sell to get his name known a sort of loss leader.
    Publishers want original stories churned out for profit, like the music world they offer advances, sometimes quite substantial ones to pressurise talented artists to produce enough to pay it back with interest. That is why they end up on drink or drugs.
    Not a good retirement plan..
    I don't anticipate writing many books probably only one with maybe a spin off.
    I am not doing it for the money and don't see it as a best seller but it was of interest to IWM for its style of writing, social and political context as well as its military content.

    I don't think this book needs photo's because his descriptions are so vivid and pics often don't match ones imagination,
    like Lord of the Rings where each reader has their own idea of how things look.

    I feel that it is the publishers regarding their market place as being for popular comic culture rather than appreciating quality prose and text.

    Have you experience of the free book sites and what is your opinion of them.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I have published four books through Amazon's Create Space. Bit of a learning curve, but very helpful, now even do ISBN numbers. Never make any money though!
  5. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Active Member

    Thanks for that info I am assessing the situation until my computer returns from warranty repair then I will check it out.
    Currently struggling with my tablet and occasionally pinching my wifes laptop when she is busy elsewhere.
    (Not very often).
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The thing to look at would be the non-pdf ebooks rather than free ebook sites. For example, on Amazon you publish in Kindle format so that should take care of the copy protection aspect. Kindle apps are available for other platforms, so it shouldn't be too limiting.

    This is all strictly theory from my point of view, I'm afraid, as thinking about these aspects of my magnus opus is far easier than contemplating actually writing it!

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