Leave your family something better than antiques
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:00 PM
Hope to see you tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at The Forum on Darlington Avenue for our first Meet the Editor!
"I spy ..." another local author's book fair in my eye. Or on my calendar, at least.
On July 12 from 10 a.m. to noon, the Crawfordsville District Public Library is having, I believe, the third book fair featuring local authors.
This is something I am passionate about, not because I wrote a book but I wrote a book because I am passionate about writing.
Being a writer is much like being an athlete. I think everyone has talent but not everyone will write a best seller or play in the NBA.
One reason I am passionate about writing and particularly about local authors because writing about local people and events for history can be boiled down in the old cliche - "If we refuse to study history, we are doomed to repeat it." (Paraphrased.)
Tiffany Watt, one of three interns at The Paper this summer, was telling me about her great-grandmother, Evelyn Reddish.
Mrs. Reddish left her family items of tremendous value. She wrote journals during her life and now her family has made copies. It's a treasure, Tiffany said.
In my living room sets an "offset cupboard" that was transported by covered wagon from Pennsylvania to Indiana. I estimate it has been in our family for at least four generations.
It isn't worth as much to collectors as you might think.
When we first moved back to Indiana, I had a friendly auctioneer look at it and he told me its worth on the market. I didn't really want to sell this piece of my family's memorabilia so if he low balled the price, he did me a favor. Some things are worth far more than their price on the open market.
I wouldn't give two cents for that cupboard but it is worth a great deal to me because it is part of my family's history. I can remember Uncle Raleigh saying my grandmother, who I never knew, used to keep a crock of fresh doughnuts on the cupboard when he was a tyke.
How I wish more people in my family had written those stories! How I wish they had shared their observations and life's wisdom with those of us in later generations!
One of my goals is eventually to make a living as a freelance writer. My wife says we couldn't have made it during those years in the ministry if not for my freelance writing part time.
One of the books I am working on is the type of thing Tiffany's great-grandmother wrote: My life and good stories about the people I've known and what little wisdom I've gained over the years.
No, it probably won't be of value to anyone outside our family but I plan to self-publish a few copies to give to my children and grandchildren.
How can you self publish a few copies?
Simple. It's called "publish on demand" or POD. It has only been possible for a decade or so.
Modern technology makes it possible for companies to publish a few copies at a time for a very low price per book. The books can be paperback or hard cover and in the case of the company I use, authors are only required to pay for one book, which is a proof book to make sure everything is the way the author wants it to look before the first copy is published for sale by the author or to be listed on Amazon.
I use Lulu (at lulu.com.) Dick Munro and Bob Quirk have used Author House in the past. Right here in town, RR Donnelley has a POD division.
People tend to sneer at "vanity press" books. I think it's because in the past authors had to buy hundreds of books at the cost of thousands of dollars to buy their way into print.
I look differently at POD. It is a way for books to get into print and on the world stage through Amazon that wouldn't have a wide audience otherwise.
However you do it, leave a bit of yourself in writing for your children and grandchildren. Don't they deserve everything you have to give?
Frank Phillips, Editor of The Paper, has written professionally for publication in national magazines as well as for four newspapers over the past 42 years.