The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review Services

I've been researching services that offer a professional that will read my book and write an honest, objective review. They are a little pricey, but then again I'm not having a great deal of success getting a known reviewer to read and evaluate my work. One additional benefit is that some services, like Clarion, add the review to their database and it is used by libraries and other institutions for selecting books.

Create Space, my self-publishing company, offers this service through both Clarion, and Kirkus Indie. I was torn as to which one to select since they sort of specialize in different markets. Kirkus was interesting since show and movie writers use this service to scan for new books that could be of interest. Those that have read my book say that it would make a great movie, especially with the 100 year anniversary coming up. But, being conservative, I decided to go with Clarion, since Baker & Collins use their service to select books, and they supply all the US military bases. I figure my target reader are those interested in military history.

I feel nervous putting my book out there for review. So much is pending on the out come and one never knows how their work will be received. It would be salt rubbed into a wound if I didn't receive a favorable result after paying for it. I guess it goes along with, "if you believe in your story then proceed".  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Proofing For Errors

I've had the chance to look over the book proof and found a few errors. I contacted Create Space and inquired as to the process for making changes. I was told that they would attach a change form to my account which would allow me to make up to 80 text changes without incurring an additional expense, unless the error was their fault. I'm uncertain if they count each letter or text as in a word. If it is based on each figure, then 80 isn't a realistic number.

From my account I downloaded the change form and began the process of finding and recording the mistakes. One issue was spacing between the period at the end of one sentence and the letter at the beginning of the next sentence. It varied throughout the book without rhyme or reason. Since this was a book-wide problem I called Create Space to find out how to handle it. Their service representative requested that I give her an example. Of course it took me a little time to locate an example. She pulled up my submitted manuscript to determine if the error was their fault or mine; It was their error.

She thought that it could be handled by their design department but wasn't sure so she would get back to me.  The next morning I received an email from the design staff stating that I would have to record each instance on the change form. Knowing that there were more than 80 cases and statistically my chance of missing one or more would be probable, I called the support line.

This time the representative said that she would have a member of the design team call me so that we could explore possible solutions. It took a couple of hours before I received the call, but it was good news because the designer discovered that the problem was in the type of word font that was used. They had experienced a similar issue and by changing the font would correct the problem. THANK YOU LORD!

On one page I found that apostrophes in a conjunction, such as "can't" were replaced with right pointing arrows, such as "can>t. I wasn>t sure this was another font issue or something else so I recorded it on the change form just in case.

In order to meet my August deadline I completed the change form today and downloaded it to my account. The design representative told me that she would make the font change at the same time they make my requested changes. The whole process would take less than a week and they would mail me another proof for me to approve.  Once I approve the proof the book should be available for print within a week, which is within my deadline for ordering books for the book launch on August 24th.

I'll sleep a little better tonight knowing that the book will be in print on time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Proofing The Proof

I finally returned home after travelling for two weeks. There waiting for me was the proof copy of my book.

Removing it from the confines of its cardboard encasement I marveled at the impressive book cover. However, I had envisioned the book being thicker then it was. Whenever I printed out a manuscript it amounted to almost 190 pages, yet the final book contained but 134 pages.

Immediately I delved into reviewing the contents of possible errors. I already knew that I wanted to change the statement that it was a "fictionalized account of the following". The first error I spotted was in the "Prologue". The next to the last sentence was cut short and its ending was carried down to start a new sentence.

On page 6 my conception of Fred reviewing his journal is italicized and indented matching that of the journal entries, this must be reformatted.

I'm not overly pleased with the maps, however most readers skip the maps in order to maintain the flow of the story, besides, I can't change them now.

Over all the book looks and reads well.

I a little concerned about the price I decided upon. Comparing other books, I ended up with a price somewhere in the middle, but the competition's books are of smaller dimension thus have more pages than mine. I'm afraid that potential readers will compare cost per page than content. Again, it is something I can not change right now.

Apprehension must be a normal feeling prior to the release of one's first book. It is unknown, uncharted territory with much riding on it. As I've always done, draw in a deep breath and move forwards with confidence that I can make the necessary adjustments as issues unfold.

On Monday I shall call Create Space and find out how to go about making the changes I discovered. I'm torn between forging ahead, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" mentality and getting things right. It would be a mistake not to make the corrections now because if discovered by the readers they might think the book was poorly written. Once released it is out there for the world to evaluate!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spreading The Word

I just inquired if the editor for the Western Front Assc. received the journal transcription and the first half of the page images. I'm very interested in finding out his reaction to its contents.

The final manuscript was sent to my contact at the Imperial War Museum in  London. I would like his views on the content as well as it possible contribution towards presenting the personal side of war. I told him that I would send him a signed copy when the book is published.

Curious, I Googled the BBC on WWI and discovered that the Imperial War Museum is involved in a WWI project of collecting photographs and stories from families of WWI soldiers. They want to present them each week until the anniversary in 2014. I believe that my project would be an excellent source to contribute to their project.

I'm a member of the "Public Information Network", which covers topics for Public Radio/ TV. At times they present questions for members response. I decided to present a question for them to consider, "What do they know about the history of WWI". Perhaps they should consider getting the US involved in the 100th anniversary of the war.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Winner Is!

The Imperial War Museum in London will be the final resting place for my grandfather's journal and military documents; the Royal Artillery Museum didn't respond to my inquiry.

My contact at the RAM was excited to receive the original and said that he would be willing to meet with me if I decided to present the documents myself, which I would love to share with my two siblings. Along with my inquiry I included a description of my book and the story behind the journal. He stated that he would be interested in reading the book and offering a review. 

Since I have two proof copies of the book, I'll send one of them to him. If he enjoys the book, perhaps he can request the museum's bookstore to purchase a few. Maybe I could get the BBC involved by hyping the donation of my grandfather's documents and the corresponding book. This could be very interesting!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time To Reflect

I've been on vacation traveling out west via a 40 foot motor-home. This has given me a chance to pause and gain a perspective on the events of the past several months, as well as contemplate the sequence of happenings for the next six months.

There are a few changes to the book that I feel important and I suppose I could make them before my returning home and shorten the turn-around time for publishing. However, seeing the book proof and thumbing through its pages is an important step in the process.

One reviewer suggested that I add more details about my grandfather, such as where and the date he was born. I suppose this would allow the reader to get to know a little more about the man before reading his adventures. How important this would be is an unknown and since I'm limited to the quantity of changes, I believe I'll focus on revising the genera from historical fiction to non-fiction or memoir. The only place I mention fiction is in the beginning of the book but to get around it will require several sentence changes.

I haven't received a response from any of the Amazon reviewers. It has only been a few days so I'll have to suck it up and wait before sending out additional inquiries.

Even though I read that writers should continue their writing in stead of marketing their book or books, I have a difficult time letting go and focusing on writing. Perhaps my lack of writing is because I never contemplated on becoming a writer. My only goal was to write and publish my grandfather's story. I feel marketing is essential in order to distribute the book and get it into the hands of as many readers as possible. Until I feel that I've given the book a chance of becoming a success, I will not be able to consider writing a follow up book.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Package Has Been Delivered

Just received the proof book, or I should say that my daughter received it. I happen to be on vacation so I had it delivered to my daughter's house. She opened the package and sent me a picture of the book - can't wait to hold it in my hands and know that it is for real.

I've been sending emails to Amazon book reviewers inquiring if any of them would like to review my book. According to what I've read a book with positive reviews is more successful than those without. This is especially true if you're lucky enough to have one of the more popular reviewers read your book.

As soon as I look over the proof and make the necessary changes I'll download the updates and hopefully it will go into print by the first part of August. According to my package I'll receive 50 free books, which will go out to reviewers. I'll order 100 or more for the book launch and other personal appearances.

Researching how to market your book, I read that some believe that to make any money as a writer you have to keep writing books and not spend time on marketing them - the old numbers game. Others say you should balance the two. All agree that some sort of marketing has to take place and continue for awhile. That it takes time to build up readers so a continuous marketing plan will build readers.

As for myself, I didn't plan to become a writer, I only wrote the book because I believed in the story and I felt compelled to tell my grandfather's story. For this reason I'm trying hard to get the message out and become a one book wonder. Although, the bug has bitten me and the thought of a second book is creeping into my realm of possibilities.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Will the date and time are set for my first book launch, it will be August 24th, 6:30 pm to 10:30 in the Eye Candy Gallery in Southern Pines, North Carolina. If anyone lives in the area, consider yourself invited.

My friends Frank Pierce and Nancy are advertising it and I'm adding all my contacts in the area so it should be a fairly good turn out - although I have no clue of how many books I might need.

Anyone have a suggestion?

I suppose the quantity isn't critical since I'll be having other chances to unload them.

Yesterday I was contacted by the design group that will create my book trailer. They had several questions that I had to answer about what I envisioned for the trailer. In essence I said that I wanted it to be just like the NPR podcast that used an actor with a British accent to read one of the more compelling journal excerpts. Something that will grab a reader's attention and make them want to buy it in order to read more. 

Residual Benefits

What I've discovered from my project is that I'm receiving residuals from my research. Since I posted so many request for information and journal entries over the past four years some responses are still trickling in. As example, just the other day I received a post on a subject I originally back in July 2011, almost one year ago. The fellow wanted to thank me for posting excerpts from the journal. He was visiting a war memorial around Flanders to find his great uncle's grave, who served in the RFA , from 1916 until is death. He went on to say that they helped him to understand, at a deeper level, what it must have been like to be a soldier. 

This was for this reason I posted the excerpts.To have readers experience the war through the descriptive writing of one man.. 

Not too long ago I heard from a researcher who added information to my post  on Great War Forum. He listed information on soldier by the last name of Haywood. I had to search the journal to determine where Haywood's name was mentioned. As it turned out it was when my grandfather was visiting some old friends in another battery. They were talking about old times and that is when they told him about Haywood's death.

Bits and pieces of information comes in from various sources and each is a piece of the larger puzzle.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Launching

Now that I have an idea of when the book will be released, I'm going to schedule my first book launch party for the end of August. It is going to be held in the art gallery where some of my paintings are on display. The name of the gallery is "The Eye Candy Art Gallery" and is located in Southern Pines, NC.

Over the past six months I've been accumulating emails of those I would invite and will bulk send them all an invitation. Frank, the owner, will advertise the party in local media as well as an extensive list of clients. It should be an exciting night.

I'm uncertain of the number of books to order for this event but even if I over order it will not matter for I'm scheduling other launches and signings.

Perhaps the publicity will create an interest for the local bookstore to schedule a book signing, sort of a double dip for sales.

My marketing avenues will include Amazon US, UK, and Europe, Library of Congress, library book catalog, news media and several other book suppliers. I believe in the shotgun approach and then focus in on what moves.

I would love to send a book to Tom Hanks, or the other well known producers such as Clint and suggest they start filming so that it would be ready for release by 2014. I would be willing to sit in on the filming and help as the journal expert!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Book Proof

I contacted Create Space to find out the time frame for wrapping up the book. They responded that they finished the book cover and will be mailing out the printed book proof for me to review and if I approve it, then it could be released for sale within five business days. If I want, I could give them a date for release so that I could plan for it.

How strange it all seems that after working on this project for so long that it is, or at lease the first portion of it is coming to conclusion. I have focused on the one goal of completing the book and getting it published. Now the time is near and the race is only half over. I have to create a new mindset from writing to marketing. If I don't make this transition then my dream of walking into a bookstore and finding my book on their shelf will die.

Perhaps it is because it is my first book, or that it was written out of love for my family, but whatever the reason my grandfather's journal stories will always lie just below the surface. An example of this happened last night while I was watching fireworks. The big ones that spiral towards the heavens and then explode with the sound of an artillery shell, lighting up the sky with all forms of color. My mind made the journey back to WWI and my grandfather's description of standing on a ridge, as the day faded into night, over looking the continuing battle around Mons, Belgium. He said that he stood there in awe, like a kid watching a fireworks display, looking at the shells exploding over the battlefield. Listening to the exploding fireworks I wondered if artillery shells were as loud or louder. Then I began to realize that the sound of bursting shells was only a minor element. I couldn't possibly comprehend the horror that one would experience when shells would strike the ground around you and lift up large sections of earth. This horrific experience would continue for hours until fear would consume one's very soul. I can only imagine.

To read the review of  The Great Promise click on this link:  Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind: About the Liebster

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Magazine Article

I'm working with the editor of, "The Western Front Association" (WFA) on including journal transcriptions, along with page images, in the WFA magazine. This will be a great opportunity to introduce their members to the content on my book thus creating interest in purchasing a copy.

The editor already agreed to review The Great Promise and add his review to the corresponding book review section of their magazine.

Next project - take on the big military magazines! Attack! Attack!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind: About the Liebster

Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind: About the Liebster

The WWI Expert

I Googled Ken Marsden, he is the man who is reviewing my manuscript. I found out that he is a renown researcher. He lives in the UK and can be hired to research family history, specializing in military history. If anyone is interested in finding out more go to: http://www.the-abbotts-of-canterbury.com and find his listing, which contains his email contact information.

He told me that prior commitments prevent him from focusing on my manuscript until the end of July. This is cutting it close if I want to release the book in August but we'll see how it plays out.