You have been invited to share your promotional experience with others.
1. Where you are from and where are you now?
Born and raised in Southern California. Now live in Kansas.
2. How did you get started writing?
My 2nd son, Craig, (I have 4 sons), had tried for years to get me to put down in writing the stories I had related to them regarding my Vietnam experiences. (Incidentally, he has followed somewhat in my footsteps by becoming an Army helicopter pilot who served in the Panama incursion as well as Gulf Wars 1 & 2. He did Medivac [the Army version of rescue] in Panama and Gulf War 2. By the way, I have forgiven him for being in the Army instead of the Air Force!)
I resisted his efforts until I received a preliminary account of the ‘Streetcar’ rescue by Kenny Fields, the last guy I rescued. I thought it might be fun to write a counterpoint narrative, telling the story from my point of view, and found it to be enjoyable.
That was when Craig and I began working in earnest on the project—I wrote the narratives and supplied the photos, while Craig did the maps and supporting documents.
All of my sons, David, Craig, Eric and Mark plus my wife, Kaye, have participated in one fashion or another during the creation of this book.
3. What do you do when you are not writing?
Read; work with computer; enjoy life with wife, Kaye.
4. What would readers like to know about you?
I am a Christian. Decided while in the 7th grade I wanted to attend college, become a pilot with the USAF, retire and teach school—that is what I have done. (I flew a variety of helicopters and taught 8th grade Mathematics.) Wife and I are High School sweethearts. We live on the shore of a small lake in rural Kansas.
5. What inspired your first book?
My experiences as a combat rescue helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
6. How many books have you written?
7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?
Vietnam Air Rescues. Historical/biographical.
8. How do you decide on that topic or genre? Why are you specially qualified to write about this topic?
Because I lived it. This book is an auto-biographical summary of my 7 rescues, plus other related instances that occurred while I was serving in Vietnam as a combat helicopter rescue pilot.
9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track when you’re writing a book?
I try to pick a time when I am fresh and not involved in other things; then I ‘write up storm’ for awhile; then quit and do something else. Finally I review what I have just written and make corrections as they occur to me.
10. Do you write to make money, for the love of writing or both?
Originally, I wrote this book for the benefit of my children. Later, when others began requesting copies, I decided to have it published commercially. I found that I do enjoy writing and have been quite pleased to discover that others are interested in what I have written.
11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used? Which were the most successful?
Other than giving a few talks locally, this is my first attempt to market my book.
12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used? Which were the most successful?
See answer #11
13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?
Both through a website and directly through Amazon. The website address is: www.vietnam-air-rescues.com. The book is currently available in 2 formats: (1) as a printed book available through Amazon and (2) as a downloadable eBook. Both are linked from the website. I will soon have a third option—in audio book form. In addition, the book is available in Kindle format at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001CDMNYU.
14. Where can people order your books?
See answer #13
15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?
See answer #13
16. Will you write more books?
Although I have frequently been asked this question, I do not envision writing more books (at least not for the moment!)
17. What do you have in the works now?
18. What does the future hold for you and your books?
Using my 30 minute power point presentation, I plan to offer my services as a speaker at churches, civic clubs and the like, hoping that I can stimulate interest in sales of the book.
19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?
Speaking locally, I have managed to generate both interest and sales. I am hoping this blog tour will acquaint those in other areas with the availability of my book on Amazon. Another idea that has helped was to make, and distribute free of charge, bookmarks with advertising material about my book on them.
20. What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?
Fortunately, the few things I have done to date have all proven successful.
21. Tell us about your most recent book.
“Vietnam Air Rescues” comes in several parts. Part 1 is my take on the history of the Vietnam War. Part 2 gives general background on how the rescue system worked. Part 3 presents the details of my 7 rescues. Part 4 is a collection of 30+ anecdotes concerning things that happened to me apart from a particular rescue. Part 5 is a summation of general topics. Part 6 contains a final word. and Part 7 is a glossary of military jargon for the non-military minded. Scattered throughout the book, at appropriate places, are over 100 photos, maps and drawings.
22. What makes this book special to you?
It relates a period in my life that was both stressful and joyous; when I was asked to gamble everything for the sake of others. Fortunately, my training and equipment stood me in good stead. Most important, at least in my view, is that the Lord stood by me and returned me home safely.
23. What sort of comments have you gotten about the content of the book?
Approaching the 100 books sold mark, all the comments I have received have been positive. In addition to the verbal remarks from people who have read the book, there are 5 reviews on Amazon which are all praising the book.
24. What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
I tried to be both factual and dispassionate in my storytelling. Many people have very different conceptions of the Vietnam War, both positive and negative. I was involved in the effort to save American lives, without regard to politics. I hope people will read about this and perhaps get a new view or slant on what went on—this time from a positive view.
25. What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
Both those who lived through the Vietnam years and those who knew only know about it from history books.
Surprisingly enough, a lot of women have been fascinated by this book. I
would have thought it would appeal mainly to men, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Several women have commented that it has allowed them to understand what happened to their father or husband when they served in Vietnam.
I did not keep a diary while I was there, so I wasn’t able to give a day to day account of my experiences. What I tried to do, and what some people have said they find fascinating, was to record the bare facts and avoid any hyperbole, while still communicating the details of rescue operations.
26. What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
In my case, there was little creativity involved, as these are tales of what actually happened to me in a manner that is burned into my memory.
In my case, I had constant support and input from my wife and all four sons, who encouraged me and occasionally prompted me to include tidbits I might have forgotten to include.
27. What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?
See answer #2
28. Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?
To date, my promotion has been limited to speaking to churches, civic clubs and historical societies.
One bit of advice I received, which I believe has been of benefit, was to make bookmarks advertising the book and give them away. This has seemed to work quite well.
29. If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)
This is a book that is more about saving peoples lives than war itself. I would encourage them to read a single rescue sequence to see if they found the descriptions interesting.
I knew that not all my readers would know about or remember the background of the Vietnam War, so I put in a section detailing my impressions of how and why we, as a country, became involved.
For the same reason, I included a background of life as a Jolly Green pilot and a bunch of anecdotes not directly related to rescue itself.
My hope was that even those who were vehemently opposed to the war would find something interesting they could relate to.
30. Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.
I think most people are intrigued by ‘how it really was’ stories. The Air Force rescue portion of the Vietnam War, for some reason, has been mostly overlooked, so this is something new for most readers.
It interests me because I was there and experienced all the various incidents described.
Others, I think, find themselves fascinated by the lengths our country went to in attempting to rescue those in harms’ way.
This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of the Book Promo 101 series and owner of Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours. For more information, visit – www.nikkileigh.com/promo.htm and www.virtualblogtour.blogspot.com
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