Getting the Hang of It

With a book on hand, a name in mind, we became e-book publishers on that late November Day.  My first order of business was to figure out how to e-publish.  If I remember correctly the Wall Street Journal article gave some good direction to start, and being a relatively good researcher I was off and running.  But first I had to get my hands on an e-reader—now we have several.

Sidereal Days was well over one hundred thousand words—and I needed something with fewer words to fine-tune my skills.  Then I remembered—last summer Earl had given a Civil War talk at the library in Cuba, NY.  A very nice gentleman from Texas came to our office the next day looking for a copy of the talk.  I don’t know what Earl gave him, but I did notice that sitting next to his desk were copies of the talks he had given over the years—to local libraries and civil war groups, talks he gave in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian, National  Geographic, the Washington Map Society, in Boston at the Harvard Map Collection and even  a talk he gave on Long Island that was picked up by Book TV years ago.

My practice material was not only available but was interesting and ready to be published.  Or so I thought….

Bookshelves and Articles

If one would walk into our house or office, the obvious first thing one would notice: books, many, many, many books.  Predominately history books but there are shelves dedicated to Anthony Trollope, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Saul Bellow, Charles Dickens, Wright Morris, Evelyn Waugh, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joyce Cary, James Joyce, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Rhys, Jane Austen, George Gissing, J .D. Salinger,  J.K. Rowling to name but a few and not even including my shelf.

When E.B. was writing Sidereal Days, as a traditionalist, he saw only one route to getting a book published.  The same route he used with Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War, published by Abrams in 1999.  Find an agent, who finds a publisher, who not only publishes the book, but has the means to distribute and find an interested audience for the book.

So he followed that route.  Finished the book and looked for an agent.  It was a tough sell—not because the book wasn’t good because it’s fabulous.  But because the industry changed!  And no one wants to take a chance on an unknown….

We didn’t realize the significant changes going on at the time.  After his first agent rejection, he tried again.  The second agent’s return e-mail suggested that things weren’t like they used to be.  He continued on the traditional route after her e-mail, but an article in the Wall Street Journal caught his eye—and captured both of our imaginations.  The article was about the new world of digital publishing.

It’s funny how things happen.  My traditionalist husband, who throughout the whole computer/information age has been buried in books, reads the article and sees the benefit of going digital.  I wasn’t skeptical, I just always thought the WSJ was only good for a few stock tips, interesting editorials and a quick peak at the news!


What’s in a Name

We came to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving realizing that we wanted to add a fiction imprint to McElfresh Map Company.  The name Tammy Norie Press didn’t have to be discussed.  The Tammy Norie was my father-in-law’s forty-foot sail boat.  She was beautiful—Honduran mahogany construction with teak decks culled from a British World War II cruiser.  She was majestic—dark blue topsides, a handsome bowsprit, brass portholes and brass ventilators.  Under full sail her distinctive beauty came alive with her ketch-rigged reddish sails.

My husband, a cartographer, prefers the land.  But the Tammy Norie loomed large in his life.  The boat was built in England and had to make its way to the US.  He, his sister, their parents and a crewman, who later became his brother-in-law sailed the boat from Wisstock’s Boatyard in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in England to Madeira crossing the Atlantic in the route of the trade winds (the same route as Columbus) to Bermuda and then up to Essex, Connecticut.  In the summer of Woodstock, as the rest of us were watching the first man walk on the moon they were watching the sun—his father relied entirely on celestial navigation.

The trip was successful, after fifty-five days at sea the stunning Tammy Norie, with her crew of five, gracefully sailed into Essex Harbor and remained part of the family for twenty some years.

The name Tammy Norie Press was a given….