1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

Self-Publishing a book

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by 1stMN, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Posted 3/2/17

    My book on Capt. Thomas R. Sharp, CSA railroad man is now ready for shipment.

    Locomotives Up the Turnpike covers Sharp's Hauling 16 B&O RR locomotives from the Martinsburg/Harper's Ferry area up the Virginia Turnpike to Winchester, then to Strasburg and, via railroads, to Richmond. While Hauling, Sharp was ordered to repair the locomotives (and the 100 cars he had also taken) and to manage their use on the Virginia and North Carolina railroads. To do this, he established and ran the Confederate Locomotive Shops in Raleigh, N. C. until they were closed in early 1863.

    Sharp then moved to be Superintendent of the Charlotte & South Carolina RR -- a vital link in the supply chain to Richmond and Lee. Sharp eventually outgrew this job and became the Transportation Coordinator for western and central South Carolina. He assisted with the evacuation of Columbia ahead of Sherman and ended the war changing the gauge of the North Carolina RR between Charlotte and Salisbury.

    This is the first meaningful look at Sharp's war career and is complete in 231 pages with 7 original maps, 6 color computer renderings of the Hauled locomotives, 27 photos, notes, bibliography and index.

    The book is ready to ship direct from me (David Bright, 7599 Long Valley Dr, Harrisburg, NC 28075) at $25 postpaid or from Amazon.
     
    5fish, lelliott19, JohnW. and 2 others like this.

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Private

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Messages:
    205
    Railroads, along with shipping, were prime targets during the CW due to their importance to both sides in transporting both men and goods. We often don't think of the people behind these ventures, and what their contributions were to the war efforts. This sounds like a fascinating study of one man who made a difference in the overall scheme of things. I have a particular interest in the cavalry raids that impacted on these resources. I wonder if you have studied the railroads in Virginia, particularly as they relate to the later years of the war, especially in and around the time of the Siege of Petersburg?
     
    JohnW. likes this.
  4. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    My web site, Confederate Railroads, www.csa-railroads.com, contains over 17,000 Confederate documents relating to railroads. Some of these documents are related to those raids, but I have not made a specific study of them yet. The third book I intend to write will document the various challenges the Railroad Bureau had to confront -- and the supply of Richmond and Lee will be a major subject in it.
     
    Mike Serpa, AndyHall, JohnW. and 2 others like this.
  5. alan polk

    alan polk First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,050
    Your web site is incredible! I've searched through it many times!!!
     
    AndyHall and JohnW. like this.
  6. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you -- I add new material almost every day.
     
    AndyHall and JohnW. like this.
  7. NavyHistorian

    NavyHistorian Cadet

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Dave: This is the beauty of self-publishing. When I post a completed book to Lulu.com, they print one (1) copy and ship it back to me. Upon receipt, I need to check it and, on their website, approve the work. Only after that will they release it for publication. Cost for me to buy that one copy? Depends on the size of the book, but my 200pp paperbacks run $7-10 for the proof copy. And that is all that is required of me! The file then sits on Lulu's servers until someone else orders it, at which point Lulu gets a certain percentage and I get another. When I order books, as author, I get them at a discounted rate and profit when I sell them at a market price that is still below what Lulu and Amazon charges.

    Publicity is, as you say, the Achilles' heel of self-publishing. Since January, I've run a small (a.k.a., "one-man") publishing service designed to help self-publishers with layout and design of their books (ref 31by5.com). As a service, first to friends and, now, to a small number of fellow authors, I plan to add a page that lists (cover, title, and link to purchase source) books by fellow self-publishing authors. I am not a big name nor is the site as yet well-visited (it's only been ten weeks!), but I figure there is strength in numbers. The more new books we post, the more people will visit and the higher visibility we will all enjoy. If you have a self-published book, contact me for specs and I'll be happy to add it to the new page.
     
  8. BelleBlackburn

    BelleBlackburn Sergeant

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    867
    Location:
    Nashville, TN


    Do you have much info on the Nashville railroads?
     
  9. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,478
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Any time. Glad it helped.
     
    JohnW. likes this.
  10. alan polk

    alan polk First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,050
    This is a great thread! I've noticed several well informed folks here have mentioned the necessity of using editors.

    What is the best way to find one?

    Are the editors mentioned here being used to check spelling, structure and the organization of your work only, or are they checking the work in relation to the subject matter? Are there those who do both?

    Could someone recommend a few in relation to historical nonfiction? Or describe the process in general?

    Thanks!
     
    JohnW. likes this.
  11. E_just_E

    E_just_E 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    4,511
    Location:
    Center Valley, PA
    There are different kinds of editors. The two kinds most often an author will come in contact with are Developmental Editors and Copy Editors. A DE (usually in larger publishers) will work closely with an author's manuscript and will have suggestions about format and content and size of chapters and related references, and images etc etc. Also will be familiar with the subject matter and will be able to give input on whether something might or might not make sense. A copy editor will read a manuscript and correct grammar and syntax and if he/she is good might able to catch things like similar and repetitive passages in different chapters, but that's about it. If one self-publishes he/she usually has access to copy editors only.

    As far as where to find a good copy editor, this is a good place to start.
     
  12. unicornforge

    unicornforge First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,355
    Location:
    Near Gettysburg, PA
    I've written three articles on writing and publishing.... here they are.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,604
    Location:
    Nebraska
    And this is why I have softened on my plan to write a book on the 22nd Kentucky...a regiment that has no published history, save for the surgeon publishing his letters to family members in 1886. I have had a number of people (with ancestors in the regiment) push for me to do so. But there is no way I would break even and I'm not sure I want to devote that much time (mainly summers) to take on this type of project with little reward. I've considered a web site, but not really my knowledge set. Not sure what I'll wind up doing with my hundreds of pieces of information of the regiment and its men.
     
  14. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    In researching well over a dozen publishers for the book I just finished, I found not a single DE and in every case, if the writer wanted a CE, the publisher would provide one and charge the writer for the service. I would suggest looking for a CE on writers' sites and look for recommendations.
     
    alan polk likes this.
  15. E_just_E

    E_just_E 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    4,511
    Location:
    Center Valley, PA
    Thus, the usually in larger publishers, indication. I suspect that some place like Wiley was not among that dozen. That's the size of publishers I am talking about
     
    alan polk likes this.
  16. NavyHistorian

    NavyHistorian Cadet

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Please see my post about actual expenses attendant upon self-publishing. They are minimal--as in under ten or twenty bucks. Mainstream publishers are not interested in history; they are interested only in history that makes a buck for them. If your hard work doesn't strike them as something that will profit them, your book will never see the light of day. They would rather invest in a big name with an established track record of publications. I am not dissing those who have made their careers writing and teaching good history, but they do create a bit of a chokepoint with publishers through no fault of their own. Self publishing is the workaround, and it is a wonderful thing because, while, yes, a lot of trash can be published, it offers a venue for those of us who get refused by established publishing houses to share our small bit of history. If you have researched and written, for goodness' sake, publish! Otherwise, your good work will have to be done all over again in some future generation (or be lost forever). Why did I write my first book? Because after discovering an unknown story that had been forgotten, I felt I owed it to the men and women in that story to make sure they were not forgotten again.

    OK, bit of a rant, but I feel strongly about preserving history--especially those bits that fall between the cracks or get overlooked by The Big Bugs when they write about the grand campaigns. What was the 22nd KY up to on that day? Who cares? A lot of people.
     
  17. huskerblitz

    huskerblitz 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,604
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Oh I know. I worked for a newspaper that also printed books. But I want it done well...no half you know whatting it.

    My personal thoughts on a printed history of the 22nd...under 100. Based on all my communications with relatives and others. Just not a lot of wide spread interest in a regimental history.
     
  18. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,478
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I mean no disrespect to anyone when I say this, but not every book deserves to be published. There are plenty of folks out there who have deluded themselves into believing that they can write when there are fourth graders out there who are better writers. I've seen some truly atrocious stuff that has no business anywhere but at the bottom of a recycling bin. Just because someone has researched and written does not justify inflicting unworthy garbage on the public just to fulfill someone's ego. That's just my humble opinion, but I also acknowledge that I probably qualify as what another poster calls "a big name with an established track record of publications" who, even though it's not my fault, has kept others from being published. There was a time when I was a novice who had never written a book, and I had to earn the right to have my work published.

    Just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
     
    Joshism, War Horse and Bee like this.
  19. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    3,339
    Whut??! I. Beg. To. Differ. Eric Wittenburg has gone WAAAAAY off the beaten path of "popular" history, to bring us sometimes remote, unique, and always informative subjects and titles. Brooks Simpson & Mark Grimsley ford new paths to the inroads of knowledge. Hasty generalizations such as this does no good to anybody. If the manuscript is well written, the topic covered, and the sources sussed out, it has as good of chance of being published as any other title.
     
    War Horse and Eric Wittenberg like this.
  20. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,613
    Location:
    Central Florida
    How have you kept others from being publish?
     
  21. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,478
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I have no idea. That's what the other poster claims, not me.
     
    Bee likes this.

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Loading...

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)