Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Okay, so Herman Rosenblat's memoir Angel at the Fence is false. Big deal. A quote I remember, but can't attribute at this time, goes something like: "Surely you must have learned by now, my dear, that all writers are liars." It's called Creative Nonfiction by those who teach writing. So Herman fudged the facts. Again, big deal. Remember weapons of mass destruction? Oh, and what about the Gulf of Tonkin? And just how old was Jack Benny anyway? Hugh Hefner recently released his memoir. Undoubtedly both facts in Hugh's memoir are completely trustworthy and accurate in each detail. After all the hand-wringing concludes, if Hermie is still looking for a publisher, I'll publish it. If it was a great story before the lit-geeks peed their pants, it'll be a great story after all the whuppins and CYA finger pointing ceases.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Kontent is King

Chatting with a fellow from Toronto who had purchased Jon Severson's book, Delivered With Pride, a Pictorial History of the Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railroad, prompted some interesting memories. The Canadian railroad buff said that Jon's book, "Tells the story of a monumental task that took courage, hard work, and great ambition to accomplish."

I had to agree on two fronts. Not only does Jon's book illustrate the tremendous amount of ambition and hard work required to build a railroad through some of the most hostile terrain on the planet using technology that looks feeble by today's standards, the fact that the book is published and pleasing its many readers is a testimony to Jon's interest, professionalism, and determination to bring a fine, fine product to market.

The comment also lead me recall something that Pfeiffer-Hamilton publisher Don Tubesing once said to me: "No cry. No buy, Mike." He was saying that, in order to offer a contract to the author, and in order to invest the time and money required to bring a book to market, and in order to believe that a book is going to sell well enough to return a profit on said investment, the content had to move the reader emotionally.

I'm glad that Delivered With Pride does just that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hemingway's Fishing Holes

Here it is December and the website is getting hits on Hemingway's fishing holes. I love trout fishermen/women. I can see them now, huddled around their fly vice crafting flies that will be totally alluring to the lunker trout hiding in the fishing hole in the bend of the creek. I imagine them strategizing about which river to fish, which section of river to fish, how to get enough time off work to get to that remote fishing hole.

If you know anyone like this, recommend Jay Thurston's book Following in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. It not only reveals some of Papa's favorite fishing holes, it provides 110 trout tips and reveals some of the most action packed rivers and fishing holes in Wisconsin and the U.P.

Keep the trout fires burning people!

Friday, December 5, 2008


We attended a "holiday bazaar" last night as a vendor and sold four books at steep discounts. There were over 2,000 people present. That seems like a small percentage of sales for that amount of foot traffic, but I'm pleased with the results. Why? Because the other 50 vendors there didn't appear to sell their products very well either, not from what observed, and not according to their reports. At the end of the night, as I strolled around asking how sales went, many vendors said they sold not one item. I'm familiar with vendors understating their sales activity to competing merchants, but I think the gloomy reports were realistic and reflected a tight-fisted public, buying only bargains. I felt blessed to have decided to offer "Bargain Books" for sale and that we sold anything at all. I felt blessed to have stood enough income to cover the registration fee. Thank God for all blessings, the small, and even smaller.