It was after we published our first book, “Echoes From Catawba Volume 1” in 2018 and while still residing in Greensboro, I experienced a situation that I chuckle about to this day. It was time for the pre-winter furnace check-up and I had a favorite man from the service company that I always requested. He had been raised on a farm, liked gospel and country music, and he was a great technician that was sound in the mechanical sense and had common sense, in a day and time whereas common sense seems very uncommon. I always like to tip workers who made house calls for various purposes. So, I offered and he, unlike most others refused, saying he was paid a fair wage and a tip was not necessary. I respected what he said but came up with an alternative. I went to my office and got a copy of Echoes Volume 1. I gave it to him as a gift and he graciously accepted. He thumbed through the book asking me if that was my life story. I said no but I would be writing a series of the book, one each year. He looked at me and said, “You are going to be a millionaire!” The inside of me wanted to burst out laughing but I restrained myself while explaining that this would be a hobby and something I had been planning for several years. I never forgot that moment.
In March of 2018 when wife Tina uttered those now famous words: “Just write about your Catawba growing up times.” She had heard many times those experiences, and I had said multiple times that I was going to write about life in my beloved Catawba. I knew it would take time and money. I also knew that research showed that an individual writing a book could expect to sell at most 250 copies in that book’s lifetime. Most writers depend upon family and friends to buy their books. Furthermore, I was writing non-fiction books about history, real people, and cultures. To make big money one must get a publisher, write fiction, preferably about sex, murder, deceit, and somebody-did-somebody-wrong stories, and then your chances to make money are razor-thin. I enjoy reading certain fiction books but cannot write them. Note: My books about Appalachian life and times sound like fiction at times so maybe I get some cross-over readers.
Tina and I set our business up as “sole proprietors”, got a business license, own a website, own our trademark, pay appropriate taxes, etc. We knew we would have to provide our own money to fund this endeavor because we desired to keep the price of books reasonable. Which we have. The bottom line is that we own a “non-profit” business, right?
But Ted, you have painted a picture of a hobby business that cannot pay for itself, much less create an income stream and forget any idea of wealth????
I understand but there is an important thing yet to state: The rest of the story. Yes, we travel many miles, interview many people, spend hours writing, formatting, gathering pictures, proofreading, fact-checking, etc. Then we have to get the book out to the public and we speak to groups about our writings upon request.
So where is the wealth? Fair question. Keep reading.
The many people that contact us through different methods to comment positively on the book and share personally how our efforts link folks to loved ones living and deceased.
Doing interviews and video/audio taping allows us to share with folks we know and new people we meet. And there are many! To laugh and shed tears of joy while shutting out worldly noise.
For Tina and me to be enriched and uplifted in the presence and fellowship with God’s best.
To inform and educate folks who do not understand Catawba or Appalachian culture.
Preserving the treasures in these books will echo through the ages to future generations.
And recently hearing from Catawba folks in Lower Catawba rejoicing in hearing the stories about Upper Catawba people—-and vice/versa.
And so much more.
Folks, all the above, Tina and I count as riches that are flowing into our hearts as we pursue our writings. When we do interviews in your homes, we leave with a feeling of enrichment that can never be taken away or forgotten. The joy when we finish a book and receive the official “proof” is indescribable.
Remember the Furnace technician that I reference earlier who stated: “You are going to be a millionaire!”
HE WAS RIGHT——-thanks to all of you.