Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Funding your cruising

One of the most common questions we get from people is how they can fund their cruising. Since a vast majority of cruisers are of retirement age they are depending on fixed income, usually investments they made while they were gainfully employed. Those who are young have usually worked for some time and set aside enough funds to cruise for a specified time, maybe a year or two, before they settle down to raise a family, with plans to cruise once again whenever the kids are on their own. A good many cruisers across the age spectrum are working part-time jobs, taking mostly seasonal retail positions in whatever port they happen to land for awhile, making enough money in four months' work to fund the other eight months. A small minority of cruisers is working full-time from their boat. Most of these are in an IT capacity like a friend of ours who is a software developer, but some are start-up businesses that sell anything from canvas work to home-crafted jewelery. An even smaller minority is depending on contract writing jobs, writing for sailing and cruising magazines and blogs.

We've had many of our blog readers tell us that they enjoy our writing and that we should write a book. We do both enjoy writing and are fairly good at it, thanks in part to being avid and voracious readers and thanks in part to genetics, but with all the distractions of the first year of cruising and the debacle that was The Bear, we haven't had much time to do anything other than concentrating on blog posts.

Writing is hard. Ask anyone who has published and they'll sigh deeply and tell you that the agony of producing a written work is always more difficult than the compensation received for it. I can echo this without any doubt. The first thing I published was a short article for Cruising World in the 35th anniversary edition October 2009. It was part of a special tribute section to Murray Davis, the founder of Cruising World Magazine who had recently died. For my troubles I received a Cruising World hat and duffle bag. I still have the hat, but the duffle only lasted about as long as the magazine issue. It was still slightly more profitable than my next article, an article for the May 2012 issue of Latitudes & Attitudes which was supposed to yield a whopping $75 of which I was entirely and unceremoniously stiffed due to the immediate demise of the publication shortly after my issue was printed. So far Tim holds the dollar value winner in the form of an article he wrote for Flying magazine which brought a mind-boggling $100. So I'm sure you can understand our hesitance in pursuing a writing career to support Kintala.

That being said...a few years ago while working my last aviation marketing job I became quite proficient in an open source graphics design program called Gimp. After being unceremoniously dumped from the job and being short on funds, I began to fiddle with the beginnings of a children's book that I hoped to print out for my grandchildren for an inexpensive Christmas present. The story evolved, I got better at the illustration and design, and before long the idea that it might be publishable began to enter my mind. The story had lain dormant for some time during our frantic, last- minute cruising preparations but after the financial drain of the three months on the dock I found some motivation to pick it back up. I finished the book while we were anchored here in Middle River and began the final editing and formatting process by showing it to Tim for the first time. He was impressed, and it's pretty hard to impress him with a children's book. My art critic and editor son-in-law was next with positive feedback.  I was buoyed, and submitted it to, Amazon's self-publishing company, for approval. After 3 weeks and as many revisions, the book has been published and is ready for your perusal. If you have any children on your holiday gift list in the toddler to third grade range,  this book makes a great holiday gift. You can either get it on or on I get more profit from the latter, but if you're shopping on the former and just want to add it to your cart, go for it.

A little background on the story and the main character is in order I think. The book is the first in a series of books with the main character, Maryssa Mayberry, who is a young sailor who feels very passionately about the ocean and is sailing around the world to educate kids about the problems with the oceans and how they can help. This first book introduces her and is a fun story about working together to accomplish things. The next book will begin to deal with the pollution of the ocean with trash.  There is also a companion blog for the character, 

which has more in-depth information on the issues and resources for both kids and parents on how to get involved in helping. There are also some coloring pages, puzzles and games there to entertain the kids. If you happen to notice the author name and wonder about it, it's DeMa, the nickname my grandchildren fondly call me.

I can assure you that you won't be disappointed with the quality of the book. I have one in my hands right now and I have to tell you that I've been extremely impressed with the quality of printing done through Create Space. It's a print-on-demand service which I was leery about at first, but the book I ordered was printed the same day and I had it a few days later. It was a user-friendly interface and I look forward to working again with them in the near future with the second book. By the way...rumor has it that there will be a co-authored book for our adult blog readers coming up in the near future as well so stay tuned.

I'd love to have your feedback on this book, so please feel free to leave comments. Please try to be kind and constructive in your criticisms if you can. One of the other things that makes writing for pay so difficult is that you lay yourself bare out there. You tend to get attached to your characters since you spend so much time with them, and publishing a book leaves you feeling very vulnerable. But then, like cruising, any venture without risk is a venture without reward.

I hope you enjoy.

1 comment:

Robert Sapp said...

Congratulations and welcome to the club!


Robert & Rhonda