Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taking care of business

To write or not to write is never the question

Almost a month ago now, we released Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way. It's been an interesting few weeks and we are now awaiting a shipment of books to take to book stores around the country to see if we might sell a few in the local shops in towns mentioned in the book.  We know we won't be getting wealthy from this effort, but it is quite rewarding to get a positive review and know that today, you made someone smile.

My first two books have been non-fiction. Both based in sailing. The first is about boat anchoring called "Happy Hooking. The Art of Anchoring." Now in its second edition, it is the #1 best seller in its category on amazon.com.  It's taken years of effort to get to that status and we're do for another revision, but its been really great fun to get notes from people telling us that we've changed their lives by showing them the right way to anchor their boats and explaining what might have gone wrong when it didn't work. We've even gotten some very good reviews in some very high places.

When we chose to write that book, the only book that was on the market when we started was an excellent tome that had been written many years before by an engineer. As things had been changing in the boat anchor market quite substantially, we saw an opportunity to fill a niche with a modern book about modern gear and technique that suits it, but to write it in such a way that it would be easily understood and entertaining to boot.

Right from the beginning, we included stories and anecdotes, which people love. The proliferation of forums attests to the popularity of stories, and the most prolific story generator is always the anchoring thread. So how could we go wrong?  Tell the lesson  in the form of story like a parable. Add a catchy title that people wouldn't forget and you've got a best seller.  Not a blockbuster by any means.

Our second book started out as a travelogue about our sailing trips. I wanted to publish our travelogue but in a different way from all the others. There are so many people who have now written about the Atlantic circuit that its not a really big deal any more. So I took my notes from our blog and ship's log and started to fashion a guide book to sailing along the west coast of Ireland.  There are so few people that have sailed this remote region but there are two pilot books that cover how to sail here. What they didn't cover is what you need to know when sailing here from somewhere else.

Is this too racy a cover design?  
So that's how Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way was born. I merged information I wish I had known before coming, some I have learned since arriving, and much I have learned by living here. We have so many nice photographs that we decided to illustrate it to give people a real feel for the place. And then we told the stories about what we experienced in each of the places we visit. So once again, it's not a travelogue, and it's not a guide book.  It is a story book that people want to read and enjoy when they do.  We've been hearing that from everyone who has picked one up.

Now, while we take care of promotion and various family issues, I am taking a break from non-fiction with my first attempt at fiction. Alex just published his second novel two weeks ago (yes, we rolled out two books in two weeks), and he inspired me to try my hands at it. I didn't want to do just a travelogue about the Atlantic circuit so instead I am weaving all our experiences sailing around the Atlantic into a murder mystery.  And I am having great fun at it.  After all, the first two books have a lot of storytelling in them, so why can't I make up a story?

In just a few days, I've written about 50 manuscript pages and Alex has designed a potential cover. It's called The Naked Truth and I'll let you know how I am doing from time to time.

I just want to say to that teacher in high school who told me I'd never be a writer, 
I cannot not write.
BLA-HAHAHA. (Last laugh.)

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