Thursday, June 8, 2017

JUST DRIVE! The Book Is Closer

I thought, "Gee, I've already written the posts. Putting a book together should be easy." Yeah right, Twinkle Fingers. After a year of work on it, the book "Just Drive -- Life in the Bus Lane" should be available within a month or three.

The first part was easy. I pored over my blog posts, selecting those I thought were good candidates for the book. It was fun reading my early, sometimes yawn-inducing and clumsy pieces. It was interesting watching my career unfold from greenhorn to hardened road warrior. When I had the list finished, I began to pull the posts into a file and giving them the first edit. This took a few months, because this aspiring author also had to, well, drive a bus. It's hard work and takes a lot out of a middle-aged perfectionist. About three nights a week, I'd be up late bringing them up to par.

When I started this project, the blog had about 60,000 hits. I didn't want to stop writing new posts, so it was a challenge to both work on the book project while also writing new material. When I had my first draft done, the blog was nearing 80,000 hits. Then it came time for my first hard edit. They say you should clean up 10-30% of the word total in editing. My first run thinned the book by nearly 20%. Two of my buddies then took it and offered edits, and I knocked off another 15%. Not quite sure it was up to my standards, I gave it another run and killed more unnecessary words, phrases and entire posts.

The final edits were finished a few months ago. It was 97% ready, but my wife read it and found a few typos and other oddities. The manuscript was finally done. Unfortunately, the work had just begun.

Writing with a pen name presents many challenges. Convincing a brother to help me out, he agreed to set up the business end. Problem is, he has a job too. Setting everything up is a major undertaking and patience is a must. We worked on a cover design, and finally found one we like. Now it needs to be set up in a file format that the publisher can work with. There's a question of whether some artwork will be included. My buddy Tom has some fun caricatures of my alter ego that might find their way into the finished book.

While one of us is setting up the business, this guy is studying how to prepare the finished files to send to Amazon. It's a slow process, but if we don't do it right then it could just end up a big old sloppy flop. So patience is paramount. It's always been my dream to write, design and publish my own book. The finish line is coming into view. Soon I'll know if all this work ends up making us a few bucks. Maybe we'll end up with enough for a few bottles of good Irish whisky, or perhaps more. Either way, it's been a learning experience. Thanks once again to you all for your support these past four years.

Oh, and since I started the book the blog has doubled in its hit counter. We're now up over 125,000 hits!

I've seen many of you, and heard your question, "Where's the book, Deke?" Answer is, soon. Thanks for your patience. I'll need your help with marketing, please. And for those of you who know me by sight, please remember to keep the secret amongst us. I'll sign yours, "Truly, Deke."


  1. How will you be selling the book. On line ordering?

    1. Hi Sandy! It will be available on Amazon and Kindle Direct.

  2. Can't wait to order it, Will you have an audible version on amazon? My wife is visually impaired and will usually listen to books on amazon Thank you again for your insightful blog . It is so nice to hear you tell people about this job.

    1. John, that's an interesting question and I'll look into it. Thanks for bringing it up. Don't want to leave any potential readers out!