Usually when you hear about “Fort Knox” you think about the well-known fort in Kentucky or Fort Knox Bullion Depository where the majority of U.S. gold is kept. What many don’t realize is that there is actually “another” Fort Knox that was built in Maine along the Penobscot River from 1844-1869. It was the first fort in Maine built of granite (instead of wood). Named after Henry Knox, the first US Secretary of War, who at the end of his life lived not far away in Thomaston, Maine, the fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Fort Knox in Maine today
Why do I mention it? Well for one thing I own an awesome black and white photo taken in the tunnels of the fort by Neal Parent titled “Where Soldiers Stood”. For another, this fort was the inspiration of the setting in Elizabeth Wilder’s novel, Granite Hearts. Meticulously researched, Wilder provides us with a snapshot of the fort’s creation through the wonderful tale of the Ryan family (first introduced in The Spruce Gum Box), as they survive and thrive along the emerging 1800s Maine waterfront. The photo? @eewilder snapped while vacationing in Maine this summer. She spent some time with the historians there and I think taught them a thing or two about the fort 🙂
Recently I was approached by a new non-fiction author to get information on my assisted self-publishing services. She had just completed the first draft of her book and was trying to decide if she wanted to work with a Virtual Author Assistant (VAA) and publish her book on her own, or work with a POD publisher such as Author House. I filled her in how I could help guide her through her publishing adventure, and then recommended that before she do anything further, she RUN to her computer and order The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition – Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine (@PublishingBuzz). I recommend this book to every author I hear who is planning to self-publish! Why? Because I have seen too many authors get burned by POD publishers, lose control over their work, or be left with a mediocre finished product. Recently I worked with an author who wanted to move his title over to his own imprint (it had been originally published through one of the Author House companies). Luckily he owned the cover art since he had that created outside of the POD group, but since he had to recreate the interior files we took the opportunity to hire someone to do a cold read. The errors were incredible, and yes, he had paid thousands for their “editorial and proofreading services”.
In his book, Mark Levine does a fabulous job of highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly of self-publishing contracts and POD service providers. He even ranks them. I originally read the book when I was becoming certified as a VAA back in 2007 and setting up my own indie publishing company (I had the opportunity to hear Mark on a webinar). Since then, I have recommended it often as a “must read” for new indie authors. They don’t all take my advice but I’m pleased that my most recent referral did. She wrote, “Thank you so much for recommending the Fine Print of Self Publishing. Just finished the book and it was VERY helpful. It reinforced information I knew and introduced a lot of new points. His listing of great to awful publishers was very helpful.” It makes me happy to know that there will now be one more indie author who avoids the pitfalls of jumping into self publishing before educating herself on the options available and what (and WHO) to avoid. Thanks Mark for this great book!