On January 16, 2016, I picked up 200 copies of my most recent book John Thornton Walker, Story of a Hero Who Didn’t Come Home from my friends at Capitol Blueprint (printers) in Springfield and delivered review copies with notes explaining author, book sysnopsis and how to purchase. I visited the offices of Springfield Business Journal/Illinois Times, the State Journal Register, and mailed six copies to my friends at American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) Headquarters in California. I explained to AAHS, which had offered to sell some copies at their coming convention, that one copy was for them to keep in their collection after reviewing in their FlightLine quarterly, and send any unsold copies back to me.
You can imagine how I felt when all FIVE copies came back to me! I’m looking forward to their review. I’m also looking forward, on August 2, 2016, to reviews from the other recipients of my book. At this point I think it would be easier for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to march through the eye of a needle than to maintain my expectation of a review from Springfield media.THIS after also giving a copy to now-retired columnist Dave Bakke, whom I had chance-encountered at the local airport a few months ago. I have been absolutely CRUSHED by all this. It appears that my days as a writer in Springfield are OVER. I do have another employer and Social Security, I’m not hungry. Recently, I considered how this woeful reversal of fortune has occurred.
Lesson 1 — Over the years, I learned that the State Journal Register could not share archived copies of material they had published with other journalists. So when John Thornton Walker’s daughter Connie and her family donated original newsprint copies of Thornton Walker’s aviation columns he had written for the then-Illinois State Journal, it seemed to me that since I scanned hard original newsprint, there was no need to request assistance or permission from the current management of the publication. I am GUESSING that. I have read or heard not a word from the publication since January 16. Maybe their in the process of launching legal action against me. Next time, I will quote excerpts from his columns. I will not scan and include articles published by the paper during the war.
Lesson 2 — Since all references to sources and dates of original publication were includes on the pages that displayed them, I did not include a list of credits with page numbers at the beginning of the book or as an appendix. I should have.
Lesson 3 — I didn’t obtain an ISBN number for the book. That was a costly procedure, and I didn’t have the resources. Maybe, in the course of obtaining the ISBN number, someone would have noticed the afore-mentioned faults and directed me, mandated me, to correct them. Who can say? No body in local media is talking to me anymore!
Lesson 4 — I also didn’t send copies to other state and national publications. I gave up!
WHY did I give up? It does seem “premature” doesn’t it? When the family visited Springfield in 2012 and donated a treasure trove of John Thornton Walker material to my AeroKnow Museum so I could amplify the “story of the hero who didn’t come home” to museum visitors, I promised them a book that made maximum use of those materials. They had been the only respondents to my widely circulated request for anyone who had information to share about Springfield citizens who had been gained some fame as aviators. What they had initially contributed to my book Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing was pure gold, a big help for that book. As I began producing the book devoted exclusively to Walker’s exemplary and tragic life, I doubted the book would be little interest to aviation enthusiasts beyond central Illinois, so I didn’t try harder to tailor it to the expectations of a national publication. If I knew in 2012 what I know today, I would have tried harder, acquired the ISBN number and reached out to national media. The few copies that have found their way to purchasing readers have generated unanimously favorable responses! Local media have turned their collective back on me.
I’m no longer as devoted to poetry and song either.
This is a dip in the road of life.
If I rise again, you will know about it here.
Live long . . . . and proper.