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Old 19-06-2017, 03:56   #1
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Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Hi,
We sailed our good old boat, a Columbia 34 MkII, from the US all the way to Australia. We are now Down Under and are writing down everything we learned during our trip. Well, mainly so we don't forget all our hard learned skills by the time we pick up the cruising life again in a few years (at least that's the plan).
Anyway, since we have invested quite some time and did our research to gather all the facts, we are now thinking about publishing it. And here is my question, has anybody here done this before, or knows anything about publishers for sailors? Are there specialized publishers for "how to go about cruising" books? Cheers, Chris


Our good old boat "Green Panther" anchored in French Polynesia.
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Old 19-06-2017, 05:46   #2
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Congratulations on the successful voyage! Bravo!

As to publishing?
It is notoriously difficult to get an established book publisher to publish any book from a new author.

My Suggestion:
1. Self Publish
2. Sell through Amazon.com as a Kindle downloadable version

Bon voyage? Bonne écriture!
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Old 19-06-2017, 05:50   #3
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

I am curious about voyages like this, so I have a few questions that may help you in your writing by stimulating some interest here:

1. What year is your boat? How old? Did you do extensive refit prior to voyage?

2. When did you leave the USA and when did you arrive in Australia? (how long transit)

3. In what ways did the voyage exceed AND not meet your expectations?

If you answer those here on CF, it may build some interest in your future book.

I hope that helps.
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Old 19-06-2017, 05:50   #4
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Sounds almost exactly what Beth Leonard did 20yrs ago. She's parlayed it into something of a career. There are probably a dozen or so similar stories of cruisers having similar success (though I don't think any are claiming to have gotten rich off the deal).

The challenge in today's world is publishing is a different game. Actual printed books are going away and the line between professional and amateur is blurring. Anyone can self publish an electronic book. Some of the professional work is horrid and some of the amateur work is awesome.

With all the info on the web, just a generic cruising "how to" is going to be difficult to differentiate from thousands of cruising blogs (most being free).

If you just like the idea of being able to say you are a published author or just like the writing process...go for it. If you expect to get rich and have it support your cruising lifestyle...it's a tough road with low odds ahead of you.
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Old 19-06-2017, 07:42   #5
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

On the Internet there is plenty of valuable advice on publishing your book. Just google out for 'how to publish my first book' and read on.

You will want to decide whether you go digital or paper or both. And then whether to self-publish or hire a company to do it for you. Going thru a publishing company frees you from plenty of extra work (proofreading, layout, marketing, distribution, graphic design, etc. etc. etc.)

Be aware this is a very shallow niche and so think twice about what angle you are going to present. Think about your readers before you write the first word of your work. (That is, if you are writing for profit).

Strong graphics catch the eye. Do not buy the book by the cover BUT do take care of how the images contribute to your story and YES make all effort to have the covers eye catching. Why do you think half of us will never go into the street without their makeup on?

That much said, good stories always sell. They do not have to be true if they are truly entertaining and well told!

Good luck! And do let us know when the book is out!

Cheers,
barnakiel
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Old 19-06-2017, 07:52   #6
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

That's excellent! One thing interesting about this voyaging in a boat.... despite all the similarities each person (couple) will represent a unique set of choices and solutions. Just think of all the possible permutations...

age of sailors
sailing experience before departing
education and profession of sailors
boat selection
boat preparations - systems, spares, stores, equipment
starting location
passages, stop overs and destination
cost of prep
amount spent along the way

and so on
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Old 19-06-2017, 07:59   #7
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Originally Posted by tv195 View Post

>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> and are writing down everything we learned during our trip. Well, mainly so we don't forget all our hard learned skills by the time we pick up the cruising life again in a few years (at least that's the plan).
When I brought our bot up to Vancouver Island from San Francisco last summer, I wrote about the trip literally daily. I'd write, wait a day, proofread, and then email to a select group of friends. I eventually re-edited it and posted it as a blog because more folks were interested in reading it and I could add pictures. I left the text as one long story, headed each day by day, date and day of trip, with lessons learned at the end. Then I added photos with captions separately, rather than putting the photos in with the text because I'd seen too many blogs with photos inserted in the text which rendered the photos too small.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your comment of "...are writing down everything..." to mean you did the trip and now you're trying to remember what you did.

I just found that keeping it contemporary helped to "capture" what happened on a day to day basis. It's far from a travelogue, rather a boating log of where we were and where we went day-by-day.

Others have written more like what you seem to describe: lessons learned to avoid having to reinvent the wheel.

It all depends on what you goal is and what your writing style may be, and who your intended audience will be.

There are a wide variety of approaches out there.

Good luck. Seems to me you should write it first before you start thinking about publishing. Cart before the horse?
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Old 19-06-2017, 08:44   #8
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Best of luck!
I've written and published (through Amazon) three fictional books (Chicken of the Sea trilogy) about a sailing/cruising family with a modicum of local success. The writing part was easy compared to editing etc; but selling on Amazon short of giving them away; that is next to impossible. Unless you are a marketing genius, or have 1 million friends on Facebook, sales will be low. I am told that every month some 20K new titles appear on Amazon. Standing out in the crowd--that's the hard part.

My experience over 10 years is such that I probably wouldn't do it again, except that writing keeps my mind active, and it's cool when people come up and say, 'I loved your books.' Those three times have to be the motivation; it is not the money!!

I also approached this the wrong (long) way. I sent manuscripts to publishers and waited for months to hear nothing back. That took up several years, though I must say a few editors made suggestions, at times actually helpful . I even had an agent for a year, and got into some hard to reach places, but no contract. I did have several resubmits with one publisher, but 2008 killed that off as publishers closed down.

The big lessons:
1. Identify the sub-market very very carefully. The cruising advice genre is very small with competition from other cruisers wanting to write their own books. I went for young adult adventure-mystery. However, the vast majority of my readers are adults (many from book clubs). The point is that a good book works across generations. Kids who've read the trilogy love it, and some local private schools are following up to put it on their reading lists.
2. Write like a madman every day. Get a working manuscript and then edit and edit, and edit, and edit.... When you're not editing, read books on how to write and sell your work. Your work needs to be ultra professional to even have a chance nowadays.
3. When you are ready, decide if you want digital, print, or both. A division of Amazon is createspace-dot-com, which will print softcover books on demand. It is not cheap. A black/white, 6"x9" 320 page book with shipping/taxes runs about $6 each. With a royalty and seller markup, mine list at $15.99
4. Incidentally, the same digital file will also make a e-book. Digital has a lower cost depending on the file size. Amazon has a high-royalty plan under certain conditions.

I could go on and on, but my 5th book is calling

Again, best of luck

Neil Barry
my pseudonym in case I get to be famous one day
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Old 19-06-2017, 10:00   #9
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

I used pubgraphics: I was very pleased with them and will use them again. The first link is to the job they did for me; the second link is to their homepage. Have fun with your project.


https://www.pubgraphicsdirect.com/books/safe-in-harbor/


https://www.pubgraphicsdirect.com/
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Old 19-06-2017, 10:14   #10
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

I'm just going to be brief and blunt - forget about it.
Big effort, no return.
If you just want to share, post snips here (and the other few sizable cruising forums) with links to a website with the full material.
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Old 19-06-2017, 13:06   #11
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

You are getting some great advice....

I have been thru all of that and did one heck of a lot of research as to how to go about publishing.

In the end,

I just sat down and wrote: SEA STORIES a fun read, while learning about sailing and power power boating as well as sailing Australia, The South Pacific, The Caribbean and Ireland.

It was also illustrated, and full color photos .

And , I did it all on my own, type, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, etc., etc. , and still missed a few things.

Here is what I learned. If you try to go to a publisher, and editor, a re writer, an agent, you more than likely will be spending tons and tons of money. And, the winners are....the editor, the rewriter the agent, and publisher, and that is a fact. They have your hard earned cash in their bank accounts.

Now, the other side of that, is I did get Sea Storeis , and four other books published, but I did it all on my own. Sold a few, gave away a few, and now only have one copy of each .

Two were non fiction ....Sea Stories, and Life's Adventures was personal biography, and my life as a professional pilot and merchant marine capt, and many other adventures, good and bad over my years on the planet..

Three books , we a fictional character, with non stop adventure , govt. agent , etc.

The result was the pleasure that I received , as well as the reward of having written, edited and published those books myself. Not an easy task.

I could have gone thru the other suggestions like Amazon. But, I did not chose that path.

I wound up , dont laugh, but I had the books bound and printed at the UPS store on Kauai Island were we lived. That was it. Some I sold, some I gave away, and the last of them that I had left over, I gave to the Talk Story Book Store in Hanapepe , Kaua, The owners, were good friends, before we moved back to the mainland.

I did not spend thousands of dollars for editing, or publishing, or an agent. But, it was one hell of a lot of work and Sea Stories were true and factual sea stories, humorous and serious, of what I had experienced or saw over years 36 years of Instructing, Charters, Leading flotillas, in both local and international cruising grounds.

Today, it comes down that for me , it was worth the work, and the endless re editing, etc., and I do have one copy of each of those five books left. That is it. My personal reward is once in a while , I pull one of them out from the dining room cabinet, and re read my life's adventures and also the feed back that I received from those who read them.

I will not say , DO NOT DO IT, but as to become a world known author, selling thousands of copies of your work, while spending lots of time and money, think about all of that..........your choice.

Would I do it all over again, driving Erica nuts, with my LEAVE ME ALONE, and wanting to shoot holes into the computer, and the printer......YEP, I WOULD. But, those five books were enough and now my story telling and writing is on the forums...kauai, bvi and here.

As to publishing any more, well, when we moved from kauai, all of my original manuscripts were disposed clandestinely by Admiral Erica, and are gone forever. At least I have the one copy of each.

In the end...best advice.....make an informed decision, and DO WHAT FEELS GOOD TO YOU.
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Old 19-06-2017, 13:39   #12
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Originally Posted by sailorman7225 View Post
I used pubgraphics: I was very pleased with them and will use them again. The first link is to the job they did for me; the second link is to their homepage. Have fun with your project.

https://www.pubgraphicsdirect.com/books/safe-in-harbor/
So why not put some author information on the web site and also organise some reviews? At least try to lift your book up from the pack.
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Old 19-06-2017, 13:46   #13
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

It has been done. At tlmes, with success. Mostly not, by a vast preponderance. It is a tough market. That said, the only was to guarantee it will not happen or be a success is to not do it. Do not forget that there are markets where the doors may open more easily than in others. Your opening line suggested one, Good Old Boat.. Investigate more, and become familiar with the various markets, and the terms (including re-publication and other formats). Best of luck. Keep the ink dry, or at least well pixilated.
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Old 19-06-2017, 14:16   #14
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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How about using a heat gun on the drain lines, likely there is a plug of grease right at the water line, get it heated up good then pour a couple gallons of boiling water down the drain.
Tried boiling water with dish soap; didn't work.

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So why not put some author information on the web site and also organise some reviews? At least try to lift your book up from the pack.
You're correct, That is what one should do if trying to make money from a book. There are many other ways to market ones book on social media. I chose not to do that. I wrote it for friends and family and my own enjoyment; had no interest in trying to mass market it.
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Old 19-06-2017, 14:36   #15
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

How many of us try to write, get a couple of thousand words down then..................My grandaughter is interested in my life but not many others. Good luck, go for it. I may buy yours at some boat jumble.
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