St. John and the book publishing projected called St. John People
I am a man of action.
Often the action that I take is stupid... but, hey, I don't let that stop me. To put it another way: the only thing history has taught me is that I don't learn much from history. And 'Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread,' describes my entire life perfectly.
Example: I wrote Chasing the Horizon in 1990 and immediately sent it to my 'dream publisher' despite the fact that I knew it was virtually impossible for a first-timer to get a book published. About a week later I got a note from Lothar Simon of Sheridan House saying, "Sure, I'll publish it IF..."
At first I was elated.
I bought a bottle of champagne.
I drank it.
I mean, why not celebrate? I'd not only sold my book, I'd sold it to the 'perfect' house... where all my fellow literary marine 'heros' were being published.
...alas, there was an 'IF' and that if was that I'd tone it down. I'd written a tale in which insanity, sex, drugs and... well, watery misfits of every description were celebrated... and I was supposed to 'tone it down' so that mom and pop could read it to the Christian kiddies.
Well... I'm a greedy bastard, I'll admit... but the more I thought about it... the more I actually considered rewriting the entire manuscript so that the Pirate Queen wasn't a ganja-adled, sex-aholic... but a staid sailing Sunday school teacher from France..
...well, the more I thought, "No frig'n way, mon!"
...which led me to the discovery that I didn't know how to spell either publishing nor paradise for absolutely certain... so I just looked 'em both up... and 'founded' the largest and most successful publishing house in the whole country... well, okay... the ONLY one too.
That's how American Paradise Publishing burst upon the Caribbean literary scene---and books by Peter Farrell (about Foxy of Jost Van Dyke) and Carol Bareuther's Sportfishing book (and numerous other locally focused books) came into being
...suddenly I discovered I was, like, Simon and Shoe-ster combined. (Sp?)
This went to my head.
So I decided to do something literary. (Back to the spelling dictionary for that one too!) I organzied a book where a bunch of local writers... bahn heer and born there... black and white and brown... wrote wonderful, loving stories about each other... so the reader would not only get a sampling of the local St. John writing talent... but lots of great stories about the local folks as well.
I put every penny into this project I had.
I paid all the writers upfront upon delivery of their manuscripts... from my own pocket.
My boat didn't even have an engine at the time.
Our ship's batteries were so flat, they'd only weakly light our single cabin lamp for about an hour before we'd be plunged into darkness.
Our daughter Roma Orion (who was eventually the valedictorian of her high school) said sadly one night, "The difference between me and Abe Lincoln is that Abe's parents could AFFORD candles!"
I didn't get a grant to publish this book. I didn't form a comittee. I didn't asked a famous editor if it was a good idea because... well, I'd never met one, hardily.
Within hours of it going on sale, it gave me back all my money invested. That was about 15 or 20 years ago. I'm still getting royalty checks from it... although I sold the company to Pam Gaffin (author of St. John: Feet, Fins and 4-Wheel Drive) in 2000. .
I'm extremely proud of the book---despite its lack of four-letter words and anything to do with boats.
This entire web page (except where noted) is copyrighted by Cap'n Fatty Goodlande