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I wrote the book on the computer, arranging all the content as I wanted it to be, and paid for it to be published myself.
The title is "The Voyage Is Done & The Winds Don't Blow!"
It is A4 size, with 142 pages and about 94 illustrations, all printed on high quality silk paper of 130gm. It covers the years 1840 to 1939.
It is currently listed on Ebay here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/160725370550? ... 1555.l2649
Where full details and sample pages may be seen.
I only had 50 copies printed on account of the cost, but they are selling steadily.
I am now working on a second volume covering 1939 to 1999 that will again be produced privately as a small run.
Please feel fee to PM me for more details. If any of you also wishes to go down the path of self-publishing of nautical books, I will be pleased to elaborate on how to do it. It was all done via the internet and I never even saw the printer. The whole book took only about 5 minutes to send to them, a proof copy was supplied the next day and within 7 days, the finished books were delivered to me by courier. I was very impressed with the speed and technical quality of the whole process.
However, one stage that may will be skipped by many .... and there are some awful examples ... is the proof reading or even before that, writing with clear language and good grammar. I see that as the main danger in 'going it alone'. But if anyone is confident in their writing skills, then go for it!
Freeman of Eriskay
In 2006, I did have a book published in the normal way by a small Scottish publisher, "R.M.S. St. Helena & The South Atlantic Islands,", but it took such a long time. I completed it in 1999 and all the major nautical publishers rejected it, assuring me that no-one was interested in personal reminiscences about the Merchant Navy. Even after it was accepted, it took over a year to come to print and then it sold out fairly quickly. But I really couldn't face the wait again, and I was never too keen on having large amounts edited out. 22 have gone so far, which is not bad as it only came out in early December. The ISBN number is not working yet either, so I am hoping that will speed things along when it gets in the system. In the meantime, I am really enjoying writing the next one and it keeps my brain active with all the research.
I did write years ago when I was at sea, but eventually got tired of messing about with corrections and carbon paper. Then the computer arrived and everything is a lot easier. Part of my duties, years ago in Union-Castle, was to compile and edit the ship's newspaper every day (or night, I should say). I was reminded of those happy days last night when we watched the last of the great liners on BBC4, in which my old WINDSOR CASTLE had quite a prominent spot.
As for personal reminiscences, I am sure there is a market but perhaps have to expect for those at sea say 1950-1980 the likely audience is in their own age group and in the natural course of events will decline, affecting book sales as well as membership of bodies like the WSS and its branches.
Freeman of Eriskay
I can't get enough of the old sea books to read, but most of them are 50 years plus old. At present I am reading one that was written in 1897 and got it as a free download on the web and it is great.
I'm also the proud owner of one of Bob's Models and can say that his attention to detail is superb.
The only observation I can make about the Layout of the pages is the start of each new Paragraph seems to be indented a long way. But I must add its an Observation only.
All of Bob's items are sent out, it would seem within minutes of you paying the Bill and he sends out a proof of postage. His ship models come in their own Custom Made case, well protected by loads of additional packaging!!
Bob, its a pleasure to deal with you, thanks.
PS Put me down for a copy of the next Book when its come's out!!
Thank you for your kind comments. I live within 100 yards of a Post Office, that enables me to get them off quickly.
We are constantly going over the book to weed out any mistakes that may have crept in, so that they may be corrected in a reprint. So far, they have been relatively minor. We were also impressed with the quuality of the photographs, especially considering that the whole manuscript was transmitted to the printer via the internet (it took about 5 minutes!). The paper is 130gsm silk, that we though was more appropriate than glossy.
The start of the Paras are two stops in on the tab key, so maybe I should look at one step in. I am now almost done with 1939 to 1949 on the next book, but after that, I have vast amounts of it already written and waiting to insert. A computer certainly makes things easier for this sort of thing. Mostly, the books are a labour of love more than anything else and this first one has opened my eyes to how easy self-publishing is.
The response has been disappointing, to say the least. I had fifty copies produced in December 2011 and sales dried up after 27 had gone. I had hoped to produce a subsequent volume covering the years 1939 to 1992. Although this manuscript is about 75 per cent complete, it has now been shelved and it is unlikely that it will ever be produced!
Initially, sales started well, but I made the mistake of getting an ISBN number. This cost £118.68 for the minimum number of them (10). This put the book on an international book register with the effect that it is now advertised online in many countries , including, Britain, France, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
This may be demonstrated by entering:
In Google Search
Unfortunately, as far as I can see, not a single one of these online booksellers has any in stock! Some say they are “not in stock,” whilst the biggest of all internet book sellers say “temporarily out of stock,” although it seems they never had any anyway!
Should anyone try and purchase copies from these sellers online, they are simply told (after a suitable delay) that they are “not available!” The biggest online bookseller told me that they didn’t have any because they were not available from official “book distributors!” Goodness knows how many sales have been lost because of this! The few booksellers that would be prepared to purchase some for stock, require a discount so large that I would make a loss of 80p on every book supplied to them! To add insult to injury, they also expect me to pay the postage as well! Neither will they remove the adverts!
Contacting smaller nautical book sellers or organisations has also been a negative experience with very few even bothering to reply!
I have been in communication with other self-publishers of nautical books, and the above experiences seem to be fairly standard!
I would be interested to hear if there is any way round this problem.
One or two have trickled out on Ebay, but the general public, as a rule, don’t even know what the Merchant Navy is, or was, so it would appear that it is a losing battle! I really believe that the ISBN number sounded the death knell!
The title of the book, “The Voyage Is Done & The Winds Don’t Blow” just about sums up the situation!
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