Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Self-Printed 3.0 by Catherine Ryan Howard

Having been doing social media now for three or four years, this is the first time that I have an real understanding of what social media can be. Since my work was in the early stages of composition, I have been following Ms. Catherine Ryan Howard through her blog and some of her other writings. Now I have an opportunity to help Ms. Howard spread the news about the new third edition of one of the most valuable books that I have used during the opening stages of what I hope to be a long and fruitful career. So now, without further ado (drumroll please)…

Splash Badge

As part of this SPLASH process, which I assume is meant to splash news about her new book all over the Internet, participants got the opportunity to ask Ms. Howard a question. This facet of the program has the pleasant result of disseminating useful information along with notification of her latest efforts. I hope my readers find my question and her response helpful in their endeavours*, to wit…

Q. What are your thoughts and recommendations on managing time as a new author dealing with revising, editing and formatting your self-published book while trying to spend some creative time composing your current or next work?

A: To be honest my two primary tasks would be different to what you’ve outlined above. I don’t think you are constantly revising, editing and formatting your published book. That should all be done once, within say a 3 month period, and then the book gets published and that’s the end of that. I wouldn’t be writing a new one while that’s going on because it demands time and your full concentration.

I would say what you’re trying to balance is promoting your published books and writing a new one and the only way to do that is to divide up your time. When I was doing this full-time, I did new work in the morning and social media stuff in the afternoon. Now that I’m back studying, I have two days for my self-publishing/writing stuff, and I do new writing on one of them and everything else on the other one. There’s basically no getting away from the fact that you have to do both, because you can abandon neither. I like to keep them separate – different times, different days, different computers even! – because there’s no point trying to write 1000 new words and keep an eye on Twitter at the same time. Divide and conquer, Jerry – that’s my advice!

So there you have it, very useful information, A extremely well-done book on this whole process of self-publishing – or self printing – which is fast becoming the art of writing in the 21st-century. I hope my readers might find it interesting and useful. Best wishes to you in all your endeavors**. Meanwhile, back to work on The Petticoat Rebellion.

* Since she’s Irish, I figured I’d splurge and use the British spelling. Of course, this brings up the whole British/Irish situation, so maybe we better forget it.

** Ah, good ole America! We can misspell anythang.

1 Comment

Filed under Non-Fiction

EVERYDAYNESS

My last post back in May originated in St. Louis. While I did in fact get lots of research done for the project there, it has been a while since I have been able to get back to my networking. Immediately upon our return from St. Louis we were thrown into the process of moving to a new house. Keeping it on the cheap, and since the distance from the old house to the new house was very short we decided to use our pick up truck to move. At the pace of one room every two or three days as well as all the accumulated stuff of 40 years of marriage, etc, the move took the entire month of June. We finally completed the last cleanup on the Fourth of July.  Naturally, except for an occasional visit into my real life – writing, that is – very little production was accomplished during that month. I looked forward to July to get back into the swing of things; production of new material, revision of old material, blogging, working on the webpage, et. al. Well, here it is the end of July and I have produced perhaps half a chapter. I have done no recipe testing and only a minimal amount of research. This morning in a moment of revelation, it occurred  to me that the nature of one of the great enemies of the writing life is “everydayness”.

TO MOWING DE LAWN

 

 

 

 

OR

DICKENS WRITING

THAT IS THE QUESTION

 

 

For instance, it is now One o’clock in the afternoon on a Monday, my family is away at work and I have the whole house to myself, I have plenty of food, lots of coffee, and yet what have I done since waking this morning? I prepared breakfast, I read the news, I watched the news, I went to the bank, I went to the gas station, I came home and cut the grass, then cleaned up a little bit in the yard and continued to do what I have been doing the entire month of July, that is, unpacking. The unpacking is almost done, as done as it needs to be for the family to be functional so now I can actually post to my blog. Last night I actually reviewed the construction of the new website. As of yet today I have done no research, have done no writing on the new production, nor any revision of the old material.

So there you have it –  everydayness – doing what a homemaker does, doing what a retired Country Gentleman does, doing all sorts of things except writing.

So now I will try to schedule not only general ideas of what I intend to do on a given day or during a given week, but I have taken up the idea of laying out a daily to-do list to balance the everydayness with the real purpose of my existence –  Writing Culinary History.

Stay tuned, something interesting may begin to develop as summer begins it’s march toward fall.

Leave a comment

Filed under Creole Cooking, New Orleans Tercentennial, NEW ORLEANS TRI-CENTENNIAL 1718 TO 2018, Non-Fiction

HELLO FROM ST. LOUIS

Hearth Arkansas PostTagging along on my coauthor/ photographer/wife’s business trip to St. Louis, I am reveling in first hand visual research on the Arkansas Post and the Illinois Country. We now have, among others, our first original photograph of an 18th century hearth.

Culinary historical research so far (2010 – present) has established that this area provided Lower Louisiana with pork, primarily hams, wheat flour, and wild game produce. This last category includes meat, fur, hides, tallow, and fat/oil. The materials provided by this unexpected adventure into Upper Louisiana will go far to further confirm these ideas as well as generate new information to complete coverage of this oft neglected source of 18th century Creole food ways.

View of St. Louis

Now (Later in the Week) the history of the region is coming more into focus. Lots of French and Indian diplomacy and cultural exchange going on from the 1670’s forward. French Louisiana has surprisingly more depth than a study of New Orleans and it’s surroundings would indicate.

On another note, St. Louis is about as American as a city can be. And surprise, surprise – it’s cuisine is a collection of food from literally all over the world. So far we have sampled St. Louis pizza, eh, it’s a pizza. St. Louis invented the toasted ravioli, turned out to be pretty good. The barbecue pork and beef are excellent.

Now for something completely different. Never stay at the St. Louis Airport Hilton. In-the-room wifi access is a charge, not free. The phone to the front desk does not work. No complimentary breakfast. The parking lot card reader is flaky, never know if you can get in or out until you’re there. Need one say more. However, the staff was very nice and helpful.

Get your FREE copy of
The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One @ The iBookstore
OR
http://self.gutenberg.org
OR
our website, http://1718neworleans.com

Leave a comment

Filed under 18th Century, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Parts IV b & V; et. al.

http://1718neworleans.com

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part IV b

The institutionalized process of academic printing has also encapsulated all of the above functions (i.e. create, print, edit, bind, publish, sell) into the peer-review system, especially the editing function. Whereas 20th century publishing houses offered editors to their authors* , in the academic system, the process of research, writing the essay, submission to journals, peer-review, criticism, controversy, rewrites,response to critics, presentation at conferences, more rewrites, collection into a book, submission to university presses, etc. pretty much solves the problem of having a book edited. Independent scholars and authors have yet to solve this problem. Or, better stated, the system is now basically a money issue. One can pay a professional editor to go over your work, do the rewrites and then submit ( see Part IV a). Or, I see hope in the revision process. The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One is now at version 1.0. I know that it contains some errors. Over the next several months, as these errors come to light, the can be corrected and offered as updated versions, much like software has been done for decades. It remains to be seen how this process will play out.

*Note: how one became one of their authors is a whole other matter.

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part V

Four units moved on the iBookstore. Thirty-eight downloads from the website. One download from Gutenberg Self-Publishing. And even one fan letter – in the FIRST MONTH !

Whoop didily do    !!!

This week Version 1.1 was posted making some minor corrections to chapters 6 and 17. I hope that my readers (that sounds so cool!) will forgive chapter 6’s title and fix themselves some red beans and rice, rather than some “read’ beans and rice. Oh well, after all, that’s why version 1.0 is free. Subsequent versions will also remain free. I am thinking of charging a dollar on the iBookstore once the on-going editing and revisions play out. Of course volume 2, will carry a charge, but that amount hasn’t been decided yet.

The self-publishing process was really a learning experience as well. Not only mastering the technology of iTunes Producer but tending to the thousand details regarding copyright, page layout, and book layout. Nevertheless, as time-consuming as the process was and remains, it is definitely NOT a waste of time.

Apart from the marketing, which never ends, the final task remaining is conversion to EPUB and submission to Amazon for the Kindle version.

And now for something completely different. 

I find it fascinating that one who could probably be considered the best of Louisiana’s French governors (after Bienville) is also the one least documented, the hardest to pronounce, and almost unknown to the general population, much less to the historically minded population. PIERRE DE RIGAUD DE VAUDREUIL DE CAVAGNIAL,  Marquis de VAUDREUIL, called by the citizens of New Orleans and Louisiana, and mercifully for historians and writers, the Grand Marquis. Monsieur Vaudreuil was a quintessential French aristocrat of the Old Regime. His governorship during the 1740’s raised Louisiana to it’s highest point as a French colony. He dealt with (and controlled) the Native Americans of the Mississippi Valley, he stabilized the colonial economy, he opened up trade (against policy) with the Spanish and British empires in North America and the Caribbean; and finally, for good measure, he introduced gracious living to New Orleans’ nascent Creole society. The Grand Marquis was indeed a traditional New Orleans character. He then went on to become governor of New France, that is all the French possessions in North America, where-in the wrong place at the wrong time-he was the governor who found himself surrendering to the British and pretty much losing the French and Indian Wars.

You will read more about him in The Petticoat Rebellion Volume 2. If you can’t wait, here is a link to probably the best biography available in English at this time.

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/rigaud_de_vaudreuil_de_cavagnial_pierre_de_4E.html

 

http://1718neworleans.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 18th Century, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part IV a

http://1718neworleans.com

It’s finally done. I am a self-published author. It’s curious how many parallels exist between this newfangled, all-electronic, website, blog, social media, etc. publishing process and the publishing process of, say, the seventeenth century. Back in the day (i.e. the 1600’s) a person would write a book and there it was – a manuscript. He* would then try to convince someone (a printer) to take the manuscript and print it out. Now the writer had a nice stack of paper of his printed work. Next, he had to shop around for someone to bind it all together. At this point it became a matter of “who you know” or of money (plain and simple). OK, let’s say our writer had the good luck or wherewithal to produce a nicely bound copy of his work. What now?

The next two steps were publishing the work and selling the work. The seventeenth century saw the fairly rapid development of a commercial support mechanism, that is “the publisher” (usually called the “printer”) who would take the manuscript through the entire above process. On occasion, the printer/publisher would also attempt to sell the work. More often, a separate operation existed to actually sell the book – called, not surprisingly, the bookseller. This last part of the process was usually encapsulated on the title page, to wit:

Title Page example

Title Page of the 1629 printing of the Lex Mercatoria

 

London, Printed by Adam Islip, and are to be sould (sic)  by Nicholas Bourne, at the South entrance of the Royall Exchange

_________________________

These last steps, publishing and selling were usually where the money issue also manifested itself. Finally, the finished product was done and offered to the public. So, what about the parallels?

 

1. (Then) Write a book – (Now) pretty much the same, except now we usually use a word processor or dictation software.

2. (Then) Bind the book – (Now) Actually print it out at home or take it to a printer like Fedex or UPS, then self bind it or pay someone to bind it, usually very expensive.

3. (Then) Print the book- (Now) Submit it to an online book service/printing/selling operation like iBookstore (Apple), Kindle (Amazon), Smashwords, CreateSpace, etc.***

4. (Then) Publish the book- (Now) Same as step 3.

5. (Then) Sell the book- (Now) As step 3, but with the marketing aspect essentially tossed back to the writer.

So then, like the song says, “Everything old is new again”!

 The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One may now be downloaded for FREE from:

The iBooks Store

Project Gutenberg (http://self.gutenberg,org), and the 1718neworleans.com website, click on the Cookbook link.

* I use the masculine pronoun because it was seventeenth century Europe after all. For better or worse, not very many female writers went through the process described. Some did, but the people involved were overwhelmingly male.
*** Note that these operations represent the end point or publishers, which appeared at the end of seventeenth century.

http://1718neworleans.com

Leave a comment

Filed under 18th Century, Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction, Recipes

Self Publishing-Self Editing

I follow Catherine Howard’s blog on writing and self-publishing, “Catherine Caffinated” http://catherineryanhoward.com. Two of the main points made in all her writings are “Write, write, write” and you MUST have your work edited BY A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR before publishing. while I agree in theory with both of these propositions, I must take issue with the second. The reason is very simple, MONEY. Without going into agonizing detail about why this is an issue (regular readers of this blog have probably gleaned most of the details anyway), suffice it to say that hiring an editor is pure and simple well beyond my means. “The Petticoat Rebellion” is over 100 iBook pages long. At $5 a page (ridiculously low-end) thats over $500, at $50 a page ( an actual quote received from a professional editor) that’s over five grand – yeah, right. I am not saying that prices within this range are out of line, they are not. Editors should be paid for their work at a fair price. These fair prices are simply beyond my reach.

So, where is all this going? What are the problems and pitfalls of editing your book yourself? I would say that the first issue would have to be a combination of elation followed by disappointment. You actually finish a book! The elation is grand. You have done something. You have achieved a great accomplishment. All of your work, all of your research, have now come to fruition. Then your life partner reads it. “Oh No ! This needs to be changed. You can’t have this picture here, there’s no transition here, you need to change this, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.” And now you’re in a Charlie Brown moment, AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH !!!!!

Now you’re back to slogging away: reading over the manuscript, changing this, changing that, fixing this formatting, moving this picture, Will it never end? It’s a recurrence of that same feeling you got every semester in college. Looking over your paper, as the deadline approaches.” Oh, the hell with it, this is as good as it’s going to get. I’m turning it in just like it is. Let the professor make the edits, give me my gentleman’s “C” and let me go home.” But then the awful question arises. Is the” C” good enough? You are putting yourself out there, you are trying to establish your authorial reputation, can you afford to put it out there less than perfect?  Then you think back on all those crappy e-books you have bought over the past few years. I have one in German, didn’t know it was in German when I bought it.. You wonder where these people learned how to write. Is this supposed to be a translation? – it’s like one of those bad kung fu movies, broken English at best, a cultural insult at worst. And the best part is, while some of them were free, you actually PAID for some of them. So what’s it going to hurt if you put one out there less-than-perfect? Aren’t e-books and iBooks revisable? Let’s work on the new one for a while, then make a few more revisions on the old and post the revision.

Oh, what to do? What to do?
Boy, I wish I had a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to have this damn book edited. Has self-publishing become a game just for the rich like so many things in this life? Can someone even talented “like me” but desperately poor have a chance in this industry? These are some of the first questions A writ er must deal with when entering the world of self-publishing. The techie stuff maybe difficult for some people, but at the same time, it can be relatively simple and straight forward. We all know it’s the writing that’s the tough part. But now the writing is done. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Leave a comment

Filed under Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction, Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,

And so it begins . . .

the Bourbon Flag

Oh! The joy! Oh, the gratification! Oh, the fulfilment! I have been APPROVED by Apple. The company that has guided me for the last 30 years in all my endeavours in the professional world has granted me approval. Oh be still my fluttering heart!

And so now I am ready to press the publish button on my iBook! And so it begins. Now begins the real work The decisions, the decisions . . . should I charge for my book or not? Can I distribute it freely under other formats? Now to market, to market, to sell a fat book. What to do first after the iBook, what next?  Can the book be revised and updated as time goes by? Today the question plaguing me is to print or not to print? I foresee the next year as one of refining, reformatting, and refitting the work – i.e. The Petticoat Rebellion, Vol. 1 (v. 1.0) – enabling it to be distributed through as many channels as possible. All the while composing Vol. 2, again in iBooks.

And the most important question of all, what can I do to make YOU want the book? Do you want it to be free? Would you feel more comfortable if you paid $3.99 or $4.99 for it? Would you download it as an iBook to be read on an iPad or perhaps a Mac? How about a free .pdf that can be read anywhere, but is not as pretty? Or are you going to wait until the Kindle version comes out? Are you interested in the culinary history of French colonial Louisiana? Are you interested, and I believe you are if you are reading this, the 2018 tricentennial? Finally, another big question is, how do I go about telling you about it?

Therefore, as the previous generation might have said, children saluting the flag“Let’s run it up the {virtual, digital} flagpole, and see if anybody salutes!”

Leave a comment

Filed under 18th Century, Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction, Recipes, Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,