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Writing About Aviation — My Story
By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102
October 2021 – PART ONE – Writing for publication is scary until you’ve done it a few times. However, just like flying, anything that you practise regularly gets easier over time. If you want to try it, I know that your Bits and Pieces editor will more than welcome you with open arms; well at least an open email account. You can contact him at newsletter.EAACC@gmail.com.
Whether you have been flying for a long time or are a student or someone who wants to fly, you all have a story to tell. Just remember to include all of the who, what, where, when, and sometimes why parts. What we’re looking forward to reading is that story and our response will vary from “wow that was interesting/fun/scary” to “been there, done that.” Make sure that you include some pictures as well. You don’t have to have an expensive hi-tech camera, but a good mid-range digital one will go a long way. Your phone’s pictures will be fine for Facebook and blogs, and current generation phone cameras are even good enough for print publication.
My faithful reader (Fr) is aware that I have been writing columns for one or another aviation publication for several years. Because of that familiarity, Fr encouraged me to well, put them all in a book. “Sure,” said I with all of the confidence of someone who did not have a clue what to do or how to do it or for that matter, even where to start. But, here’s what I learned.
I figured that there must be something about it on the internet because, well, everything else is. So Google and I became even more involved — don’t tell my wife but Google has become my go-to for almost everything.
There are a lot of publishers are out there, but in most cases they want to work with established writers who are well-known and have a large following. Since I haven’t yet written the definitive novel nor for that matter have the slightest ability to do so, I rationally determined that it would be folly to pursue that line of thought. I mean, why waste time sending manuscripts into that bottomless pit?
This interest in publishing did however wake up several algorithms on my computer and it started dropping hints about self-publishing, whatever that is. It turns out that there are quite a few businesses out there who will be only too happy to work with an aspiring writer — for a price. It is after all a business.
After looking at several, starting of course with the first on the list, I focused on one that had a local rep and also a very informative website. After many conversations with the rep, it started to filter though the haze that while they probably were very good at publishing a how-to book on growing geraniums or even motor mechanics, it was becoming clearer that they had never heard about airplanes. Marketing the book was going to be a problem.
A sort through my own bookcases however elicited the information that there were several publishers who not only know about airplanes, but were local. One was even something of a celebrity that everyone but me had met. He is Jack Schofield, a pilot, a writer, and a publisher. I promptly bought several of Jack’s books and thought perhaps this guy was one that I could work with. I mean after all, he if anyone must know how to do this. A member of BC Aviation's hall of fame, you can read about him here.
But more about this next month.