Magazine article Research tips Stanton Delaplane Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

Back to Sacramento for Research

I’ve come back to Sacramento to do more research for my Stanton Delaplane book proposal. I’ll be going to the special collections room of the California State Library. I hope, too, to make some contacts for a magazine article I’m writing. It’s deadline is July 1st and I mustn’t tarry.

The drive from Las Vegas was again spectacular. Southern Nevada is a delight of long, lonely vistas and unpopulated hills. Traffic was light to almost nonexistent and you can drive a mile off the main road and again be in the Wild West. Or, perhaps more appropriately, the unsettled frontier. I saw wild burros, their shaggy, dark brown hair contrasting vividly against the grey green of the sagebrush. And, truly, Nevada is a sagebrush sea.

I visited Sharon Artlip and Bryan Smalley in Goldfield. They figured prominently in my second Rock&Gem Magazine article (internal link). I got some leads for a future article and I found silver ore for sale at Sharon’s store on mainstream. She was charging only two dollars a rock.

Of the five or six pieces for sale, the one pictured below  sounded off on my handheld metal detector. The rest did not; most probably the silver was too finely diffused through the parent rock to detect. The blue grey color was exactly the color of a badly tarnished silver spoon. Most importantly, Bryan told me this ore was from the Black Warrior Mine in the nearby Silver Peak area. It’s important to have provenance with any rock or gemstone; their pedigree or past anchors them, it gives them a personality, much like attaching a name to a person. From the time we begin to name them, we can get to know them.

Northern Nevada saw farm equipment operating: discing fields, planting, and beginning to irrigate. It made me sad my Nevada agriculture book proposal (external link) has not gathered any support. There are so many many important stories that will never be told because there is not enough of a market to sustain them. Your story may be worth telling, but it first has to make a profit. Self-publishing is a possibility but a terrible financial risk. Getting a publisher shares that risk.



Stanton Delaplane Thoughts on writing Writing tips

Update on My Book Proposals

My Stanton Delaplane (internal link) book proposal has now been turned down twice. I think that’s just getting started for most writers; two proposals barely a beginning. I do think, though, that I am going to reorient my proposal. Instead of a book featuring his writing on all kinds of subjects, I am going to limit my anthology or reader to just his animal stories. A small title, no more that thirty or forty six-hundred word columns. I might even consider self publishing the book, as I think such a title would make a wonderful book and I don’t want to lose Delaplane to history. If I find the money I’d consider getting an illustrator. I did get a nice rejection letter from one publisher. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Farley:

Thank you for thinking of us for your proposed Stanton Delaplane reader. I’d never heard of Mr. Delaplane, and I was charmed by your inclusions. A lot of thought, care, and affection has gone into this proposal, and I appreciate that. It’s a lovely and nostalgic piece of SF history. I see the resonance with our mission, but I fear that this project would be challenging from a financial and business point of view for us. I see this being a tough sell in a fiercely competitive marketplace, and we need for our books to sell at certain levels to not only recoup expenses that go into their production but also help support our overall organization in a meaningful way. I’m sorry to disappoint you, and I hope you find a better home elsewhere. Self-publication might be an option if you’re committed to seeing this book in print (I suspect you could negotiate very low fees from the Chronicle) and able to do some marketing to get it in the hands of those readers who would treasure it. Depending on the production quality, I suspect a handful of SF bookstores would be happy to carry the book.

Kind regards,
The Publisher

My Nevada Agriculture book proposal (external link) isn’t going anywhere. Despite limited interest, the University of Nevada Press and the Nevada Farm Bureau have declined to help. Two private foundations are also unable to supply funding and I have exhausted the resources in Nevada that might assist. Self-publishing this book would be impossible due to the costs involved. A two hundred page book in color would be very expensive to print and the project would take me a year of full time work to do. The problem is that Nevada is a small state in population and the market for the title isn’t that big. I might consider publishing houses that cover the Great Basin in general but for right now I am leaving this book idea alone.

And, I have a blue sky book proposal floating that I haven’t written about before. I call it blue sky because I am proposing not just a single new book, but a raft of new books, a new title series for a large publisher. I put together a heavily illustrated 14 page .pdf file to show what a book in the new series might look like. Preparing this file put my new camera to good use and I have just sent the proposal off. I can’t discuss it until something comes about; with all companies that means weeks and perhaps months of waiting. But I am enthused about the project because it would mean a number of titles I could publish myself with little expense save for travel. I would much prefer a large publishing house pick the idea up, of course, but at least I have a way to go if no one is interested. This proposal got me out to different places around Las Vegas and that made me happy. Here’s what Spring Mountain Ranch looks like right now.






Radioactive Cows and Operation Haylift

I’ve added two new posts to (external link). One post describes the experimental dairy farm at the Nevada Test Site in Nye County. The other details Operation Haylift, which saw the United State’s Air Force dropping tons of alfalfa to snow stranded cattle in 1949.

These posts support my website That site in turn supports my book proposal on Nevada agriculture past and present. It may be a lot of work to build a site for a proposal, but getting a book deal isn’t easy. Anything I can do to help myself seems like a good idea.

A website allows me to show off my vision for a book beyond the sample chapter that a publisher requires. And any material I do write for the site can go into the book if it is accepted. A gamble? A bad risk? As Billy Joel once said, “I have been a fool for lesser things.”


Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Updating My Book Proposal At

02/12/2017 Update: Revisions completed!

Original post:

Five months ago I constructed a website (external link) to support a book proposal on Nevada agriculture. That site needs updating and I’m doing that this week. The sample chapter I have in .pdf needs the most work.

In that chapter, a survey of past and present Clark County agriculture, I mentioned what was then limited marijuana production. That’s changing. Nevada is now phasing in recreational pot statewide. Also, the Obama administration in their last days declared the Gold Butte area in Clark County a national monument. That’ll take away an unknown amount of grazing land. And I recently bought a great book called A Gamble in the Desert. It’s a history of the Mormon Mission in Las Vegas. This was the first organized settlement by non-native people and really the beginning of the city. These settlers attempted a variety of crops and I can now report on what they grew.

This need for revisions brings up a bigger question. What is better? A printed book that goes out of date as soon as it hits the printing press? Or a website that can be constantly changed?

These days, with printing on demand, it is possible to print a new book edition every year or so, even if the cost per book is higher than traditional printing with a large press run. (And you don’t have to worry about a big inventory you may never sell.) You can stay fairly current, therefore, even in hardcopy.

Websites are great as far as being current, but they are as demanding as a needy child. In managing (external link) I found that a four hundred page website was beyond my ability to maintain. At least as an unpaid webmaster.

And then there are e-books. Another publishing option. And another subject for another day.

Right now, it’s time for me to start revising and updating I’ll check back here in another week or so. In the meantime, let me know if you have any experience with today’s publishing choices. Thanks, Tom




Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

Blogging at Another Website

I’m adding industry news to a site I developed (external link) to support my book proposal on Nevada agriculture.

My original thought was that would be a simple site, just a skeleton to show a perspective co-author (internal link) or publisher that a website would accompany my title. But perhaps can do more, perhaps it can draw in potential readers.

To attract more eyeballs I’m going to blog once a week or so on current Nevada agriculture news. You can see the current post here (external link). This will be part of the promotion every publisher expects an author to do. Now, if only I could find a co-writer or a publisher.