RussNelson wrote:Gadfly, there is no longer any "they" to publish books. You can go to lulu.com and get your book published on-demand. They don't charge you *anything* to make your book available to the public. They'll even take and pay out a royalty to you, the amount of which you decide upon. The publishers now only serve to take risks by giving advances on books they believe will sell, which they then promote. So if you're going to write this stuff down anyway, and you know how to do your own promotion (e.g. by publishing articles in Trains, and posting here; so obviously you do), then you don't need a publisher.
Thanks for the nice advice. However, having looked at this "lulu" thing, it appears to be another "self-publishing house where YOU have to do it all yourself. Having had a family member who went this route already, I have chosen not to do anything of the sort. If the materal is worth reading, a conventional publisher will be interested in it!
If not, It will go to the incinerator. I do, however, believe a publisher will be interested in it----NOT because I think I am a good writer, HEAVENS NO; I'm not! BUT! Because it tells the story of an ordinary fellow who started out on the railroad as a simple laborer in a track materal yard, moved up to a single-point seniority Extra Clerk to going to Southern's McDonough Training Center, then marking up as a Line of Road Clerk. He then worked a whole plethora of jobs as a Clerk ranging from Clerk/Telegrapher (Operator) to Agent at outlying stations (Extra Board), a Porter loading baggage (including dead bodies that came in from Noo Yawk on the Crescent), handling Demurrage charges, Freight Claims, Cashier and Mail Clerk. From there, there was a variety of interesting experiences including the one where a "hobo" got his toes severed and it was discovered the guy was wanted for MURDER
!! (I had to clean up the blood from the mail room where the hobo went looking for help!
The "foamers" love to read about experiences on the railroad because they themselves are often desperate to be LIVING it. And we had the steam program which engendered both love and HATE on the parts of the employees who had to deal with them. If you ever had to stand on the ballast and hand up orders and bulletins to one of them a mere FOOT or two from you---------------well, it scared the sh&&&
out of me and I wanted to RUN like heck from this thing that was huffing and puffing at me like some dragon!!!!
Even the diesels were intimidating. Who of you has done Cab Supply? What is that like? Sure, some of the jobs are boring, some of them are dangerous, some of them were spooky. What is it really like to be down in some dark yard alone with mysterious figures darting about or lurking in box cars, 'Hey buddy, got a light?" from out of nowhere! YIPES!!!! Don't ever DO THAT!!!!!
Have YOU ever had a cut of gondolas slip up on you on a moonless night on an adjacent track? Betcha you think you can always HEAR them, right? "Expect movement on ANY track from ANY direction!......."
Suddenly, quietly, effortlessly, as you sense a presence
, you look over to see a dark shape approaching silently!!!No sound, no warning. Death's fingers have just missed touching you!!! Next time..........?
How about deadheading on one of the excursions or crossing thru passenger E-8s and in the engine rooms (LOUD!!) at speed. How does it make a crew feel to hit a car or know the helplessness it caused them? *I* know and it isn't fun. There's hundreds of experiences to be had, and I think the publishers that know the railfan community will be willing to publish it without the trappings of the author having to be "peddling" books. One of the things I hope to accomplish with the book is to get fans to see that there is much more to railroading than "choo choos and striped overalls". If one is willing to accept something OTHER than train service in the beginning, many jobs and crafts offer a path to railroad service--many of whom are just as rewarding as the Transportation Dept. In MY
case, I hired on with one thing in mind: a job! It was a GREASY, filthy, HARD and NASTY laborer's job. I never knew that it would lead to a huge variety of interesting assignments starting with the shops where "Gravel Gertie" was built to yard offices and even Agent and Mobile Agent.
I am in no hurry, nor am I rushing to get published. Most books I have seen deal directly with trains and engineers. It is almost expected because the public and, of course, the "foamers" assume that the ONLY thing that goes on is trains going up and down the tracks. But there is more to it and I just have a hunch that this is something that people would want to read. If I am wrong, it goes in the trash!