Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good morning, everyone

I am back, and am bearing good news of my excitement about the book: The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West!
Yes, the title has changed -- I knew it would.
I'll tell you why.

It took me a little while to get used to the title, but friends and relatives tell me they like it.
My working title supported my thesis -- the theme of my book.
But working titles are just working titles, and the publisher always knows the market better than the writer (We each have our own area of expertise, I guess.)
"The Pathfinder" speaks of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's accomplishments, which were many; my title spoke of his struggles.
"A.C.Anderson" instead of "Alexander Caulfield Anderson" did concern me -- to historians that is who he is -- Alexander Caulfield Anderson.
But it's a mouthful of a name, and A.C. Anderson may be easier for the reader to remember.
If he was alive today, Alexander Caulfield Anderson would be a little offended -- in his mind he was "Alex. C. Anderson" and that was as shortened as a gentleman like him would allow his name to be.

"In the West" sounded too vague, but if we say "in British Columbia," it limits to book to sales in British Columbia.
This book will sell in Washington state -- at least three or four chapters take place in what was Oregon Territory or the early years of Washington Territory.
Anderson spent a year or so at Fort Nisqually: he was in charge of Fort Colvile for two years or so.
Then he went to Fort Vancouver and worked under John Ballenden during the critical years when the fur trade suffered great losses -- at least in Fort Vancouver.
Anderson retired to Cathlamet, on the north bank of the Columbia River, until 1858 when he was tempted north to Fort Victoria.
So there is lots to say about the Oregon Territory here, and lots to relate about the early history of Washington.
The book will sell in Alberta, too, because one chapter touches on an interesting piece of fur trade history in Alberta.
And it will sell in Australia and New Zealand, to the many descendants of Anderson who live there.

The book will sell for about $20.00 in Canada.
For a while I thought that was cheap -- then I realized that was about the same price as Jack Nisbet's first book Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North America.
So, I feel like I am in good company.
Like Nisbet's first book, mine is an introduction to the man and I have more books to write about Anderson.

If you have Jack Nisbet's book on your bookshelves, mine will be about the same size.
Mine will have more illustrations, though -- there are some fantastic archival photos that show the ruggedness of the country before anyone farmed or settled it.
These illustrations will show the original landscape before governments built railways and highways through it.
It's been a lot of fun going through the photo collections held by the B.C Archives (something I did years ago).
I found some great photos, but I don't know whether all will be used.

E-books will cost about $12.00, and from that price you can guess how much it costs the publisher to print and ship each book.
I don't however know if the ebook will come out at the same time as the real book. I don't know where you buy your ebooks, but you will know.
From the price above, I can understand why so many people are reading ebooks.

I have spent the last few weeks in doing a final read of my manuscript, and correcting the few errors the publishers' editor made.
She caught one or two of mine -- I think I said at one point that James Douglas was dead when he was still alive, but retired from his governorship.
She caught that error and corrected it.
And I caught one or two of hers -- but how could she know that the London ship would never sail to Japan????
It's fascinating what a collaborative effort editing a book is!

An aside: I hope you are now wondering how Japan figures into this book!
It most definitely does -- and I am not revealing the secret.
You'll have to buy the book to find the answer.

The next thing I have to do is write the captions for the photos we are actually using in the book.
I have searched the manuscript to see if the editor has removed anything important -- an important statement that I can put back in as a caption for a photo!
Because I have some details that did not make it into the finished book, I have captions that will delight and surprise.

The cover design of the book is wonderful -- I love it!
You can view it on the Heritage House website, and maybe the new Heritage Group catalogue is out too.
I am now working with the Heritage Group marketer, setting up a webpage for myself and planning a book launch in the fall.
I am planning book reviews and asking for cover quotes -- well, actually, the publisher much of that.
I am trying to learn how to promote the book at Fur Trade Colloquiums -- I am looking for people who might announce the publication of this book in their newsletters (far too late for The Okanagan Historical Society who has already planned their 2011 issue -- wait till next year.)
The publisher feels this book will be suitable for an academic audience -- that's a surprise to me but I guess it shouldn't be.
After all, its the academics and historians who know who Alexander Caulfield Anderson is.
They know why he is so important in British Columbia and fur trade history.

I am researching book prizes, too -- the Holberg Prize, for example, is given by the Norwegian parliament and its an enormous prize!
The Commonwealth Writers' Prize is $16,000!
No, I won't win either of those, but I am confident I will win some of the local or British Columbia book prizes.

Well, its exciting times, and scary times, too.
My work load is lighter these next few weeks -- it will get heavier again when I receive the finished book in PDF format and have to figure out how to do the index!
Then learn powerpoint......
Learn how to speak in public without falling to pieces....
It's an exciting and scary world.

I would like to thank you long-time followers of this blog for your support and for the information you have shared with me.
I know from your questions and your shared information that I speak with real people!
Some of you I will meet when I get to your part of the world.
Thank you.

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