Coping: Adventures in Publishing

imageI’m sure that more than a few people would like to know how the launch of my new novel has gone… It will give you some insight into what goes on – the nitty-gritty of book writing. 

Lots of people harbor the dream of writing a good adventure novel, but few get around to it.  There is also a saying (though I can’t cite the source at this hour) which says everyone who has lived a worthwhile life has a good story or two inside them.

It’s generally thought to be a function of how many places you’ve been, what you’ve seen and done in life, and how well you can blend it into “scenes from a movie” and then capture that to paper.

That’s also why I am skeptical of reading young authors.  Real experiences is what makes a person interesting.

The book, by the way, which is titled “DreamOver” may be found on Amazon over here.

First, the price of the book is $3.99. 

Let’s talk about pricing, since I brought it up.  The Amazon Kindle self-publishing route is a good business model.  Authors can get up to 70% of whatever the sales price of a book happens to be.

But, the author doesn’t really make that.

First day sales of the book came to 104 units. In theory, one would think that should come out to $290.47.  But, since computers track everything, it really comes out to $276.65.  Where did the difference go?  Amazon has fees for delivery by the file size…so the only way a person could really make the whole 70% would be to publish a book which had a size of zero.  My book is bigger than most novels because it has a couple of illustrations in it (eight, I think) and they are integral to the story – but those cost something on the delivery end.  What is the Ure saying?  (Repeat after me a cappella…)

Everything’s a Business Model

Still, it is better than the traditional book-selling model because it does make a lot of content available that would otherwise have never made it through the rigors of book-pimping.

Now that I’ve given you my “bottom line” of Day One, let’s talk about whether book writing makes economic sense.

I figure the time spent to write the book is about 370 hours.  I happen to be a fast bloody typist but that drawback here is that indeed, it really does take three-times longer to correct a piece of fiction than is does to write it.  So actual writing was 100-hours…and the rest of it went into picking up after myself.

As to writers becoming fabulously wealthy?  Ha! 

For the first in a category:  Clancy, Cussler, L’Amour…someone who is excellent at the craft, maybe.  But you know my first-day numbers and so it works out to (don’t tell federal wage-hour people this):  74.77-CENTS PER HOUR.

Even with the three times as much correcting as writing, there have been two minor corrections which will be included in book editions purchased after 9 AM today.

For one, reader Mike offers this:

Hi George,

Thursday evening, I updated my Amazon account and bought your novel! Just in time to count as a first day sale. Anyway, I started reading it, and it’s quite interesting. Lots of good details, yet quite recognizable as your style and life experience.

I finished chapter 1 and on the last page, where “Jake” suddenly stood up and announced “Gotcha, you North Korean Sack-o-shit”, or some such wording. Did you really mean “Jake”, or “Dave”? I thought it would be “Dave”.

I want to read more, but I have to get up early and take advantage of a sunny day to work on my roof. It’s a great book so far.

Absolutely correct:  The character with this line is David Shannon, not Jake.    So this will be incorporated in this morning’s fix.

My flight instructor caught a couple, too.

page 242 last paragraph

With the “blank-out” hood on, Sperry proceeded to fly a perfect instrument
approach down to minimums when Patel broken his silence. “Execute a
missed approach and hold at the Frankston VOR at 4.5” he said, trying to
break Sperry’s perfect control of the aircraft.

Should be 4.5′  in stead of 4.5″

That one led to a phone call.  What looks like the “inch” symbol is really a quote-closing quote mark.  But again, this is the detail level of stuff that was fixed mid-day yesterday so that the discussion now reads “”…..four-point-five.” 

When you write a book – and have competent folks reading it, things like this will pop up – and it’s the kind of detail level that will come up.

Another tiny change is this one:

page 242 third from last paragraph

Somewhere about halfway down the taxiway to the 7800-foot wide concrete       <                             
runway, Patel had to remind himself of something. Sperry’s radio procedure
was crisp, correct; the read-back to the tower on taxi and hold short was
flawless. Frankly, he was having a hard time believing he was not with a
pilot with hundreds – if not thousands – of hours in type. “Want me to take
it off for you?”

Should be 7800-foot long

Bingo…again, a minor, but absolutely correct call:  I was looking at the runway from a side angle in my head as I was writing – so I’d “seen” (and was thus describing) the runway from mid field downwind in the traffic pattern…which came out as the word “wide” instead of “long.”

Again, thanks to the miracle of electronic publishing, those are the kinds of details that have been fixed already.

Who would have thought I’d be joining the anti-virus developers in doing “daily builds?”

I wouldn’t want those to show up in a print version of the book, and if you would simply step up to buy 100 copies for all your friends and relatives…that will happen as previously threatened, once we get to the 500 book mark…if we do.

I was honored with one review (part way through the book) someone wrote up an
“in-progress” review:


That, I think, is why people write books.  The joy of sharing a good story.

Where does a good story come from?  As for the technical process?  Brother Art sent in this:

Hey, I already know I enjoy your writing (Since the 80’s and the Long Wave Discussion Group).

Now how do you do with plot and  character development, etc.

Big Al and I will probably discuss it.

The synopsis sounds like Clancey.  Good model to follow.

Art in Huntsville

Yeah…that is an interesting story in itself, Art.


No kidding:  This is how it worked:  I sat down at the computer and pretended I was “flipping through channels on a mental television” and the “channel” I happened to stop at was playing this interesting movie.  A couple of officers were standing on the low-slung hull of a submarine making its was north along the shipping lanes of Puget Sound.

Damn!  This looks like an interesting channel to watch….and the sub is moving slow enough, I bet I could write what is going on.  Let’s zoom-in on it, shall we?

The fingers became wired right into the mental visualization center…

That is how it started.  After that, the ENTIRE writing of the book was terribly simple:  I just watched the “scenes” unfold as the movie played in my mind.  Several people have suggested already that DreamOver would make a kick-butt movie and I couldn’t agree more.  The reason?  Author’s dirty little secret is out here:  The novel wasn’t “written” at all!  It was simply “watched” and captured.

The first few people to read it offered great guidance on fine tuning.  Panama Bates, my brother in law –who is a voracious book-a-day reader offered some direction.  As did my friend Robin Landry who, in addition to being the best Elliott Wave analyst you’ll find, was also on a nuclear sub –not much bigger than the one in the book – and it happens to have been a a sub that was involved in an international incident out in the Pacific.  In that real-life event, a US submarine sank a Soviet-0era sub and there is still much that can’t be talked about.

But between Landry’s time aboard, and my own time touring a fair number of subs, including that Russian sub that was (and likely still is) docked out by the Queen Mary in Long Beach) Ii have a pretty good understanding of subs.  My father, when I was a kid, took me on a tour of the U.S.S. Puffin, I think it was, when it was moored at the south end of Lake Union in Seattle.  The Navy used it as a naval reserve training vessel.

Anyway, those are some insights into how the book came to be – no plot lines, no three-by-five cards.  Just clear the mind and watch the movie.  Write furiously to try and keep up with the action going on and see how it all turns out.

That’s why the book has everything from a spy novel angle, to a bit of romance, to modern biomedicine, to big government and the security state, plus lots of flying and…well, that’s what goes on in the writer’s subconscious and percolates up from there and out the fingers into a book.

The next one will also feature David Shannon (with Richard Sperry) but this one will deal with taking apart the shadow government – what we call Directorate 153 around here. 

But enough…it’s time for me to wake Elaine and to pile into the old Lexomobile and start to wander toward Las Vegas where one daughter is tying the knot Monday.


New idea just bubbled up from the vivid imagination:  I am Hereby Announcing a Book Signing at the MGM Grand Hotel on Monday afternoon between 4 and 5 PM!

“OK, how does an eBook author do a book signing?” you’re wondering…

Simple:  I will see if I can one of those “paint pens.  I think I might have a white one used for touching up dial pointers on old ham radio equipment.

I’ll  just sign the back of your Kindle.  How’s that?

Tons to do before leading now – including fix subscriber Helen’s Peoplenomics access.  I have more crap on my desk than the testing labs at Charmin.

My consigliore assures me of two things:  That book/Kindle signing would make the cost of the trip out west partially deductible.

He also said he’d come visit me in jail.

OK…off to another adventure – driving to Armadillo, TX this morning and Flagstiff tomorrow.

Have a great weekend and again, thank you for buying DreamOver.

Peoplenomics tomorrow will deal with “Wave Counts at the Abyss” while next Monday-there is a major discussion of “Life Loops” coming…

Write when you break-even,  (character exits stage-right humming “On the road Again”)


12 thoughts on “Coping: Adventures in Publishing”

  1. Let’s see now…for 75 cents an hour, it seems to me that the book would make a nice premium for your Peoplenomics subscribers…and avoid all the publishing time and energy…

  2. Hi, George !
    I am waving at you as you go up I-10,
    look to your right as you pass Las Cruces …….
    I’m the goomer with scared chicken haircut, wearing the red shirt !

  3. Just a quickie regarding the “hold at 4.5′ ” issue. I think you could kill two birds with one stone by making the instructor use proper ATC phraseology “4 thousand fife hundred” while also making it clear to the non-pilot community what the instructor is saying. Just my $0.03.

    • Under busy cockpit conditions – and especially when we are doing flight following and atc is busy, 4-point-fife is an acceptable one. That matches with the atc report from our encoder…which shows up in thousands[point] fraction for ease of workload

  4. I thought you picked the perfect price point which is why I bought yesterday. Disappointed that sales were not higher.

    People, even if the story were horrible, which it isn’t, it’s only four bucks! No matter if you don’t always agree with George he’s never dull or boring – well hardly ever.

    I haven’t finished this one but I can tell you now that I will buy the next one too.

  5. So, you’re paying 13.29 cents to Amazon to have them deliver your 4.415 megabyte file, or roughly three cents per megabyte. Weren’t they a major force in making sure they didn’t get charged for using bandwidth?

    Good thing you didn’t make a blu-ray movie. At that rate, Amazon would charge you $600 to $750 per movie to deliver those 20 to 25 gigabyte files. Nice work if you can get your suppliers to pay for delivery and your delivery system to charge nothing.

  6. Ok, since I’m an Amazon Prime guy and have literally hundreds of Kindle books…I now have this wonderful Kindle Unlimited thing…and you were eligible. I truly do hope you received recompense for that…however,

    What a great read…so far!

    I skipped the comments and mini reviews in your column…I’ll re-read when I finish.

    But….WOW. So far, so good!!

    BZ George!!

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