Dave Knight is a wayward child growing up in a military family during the 1950s. His older sister wants to kill him but settles for regularly beating him up. Other siblings join in the mayhem while their alcoholic father contributes to the chaos with his unique approach to parenting.
As the Knight family moves from one army base to the next, Dave develops a give-a-damn attitude that often leads to trouble. In high school, he joins other delinquents in a series of escapades, some dangerous, others funny, and a few that would be worthy of jail time should they ever be caught.
After barely graduating, Dave is drafted into the army and sent to guard a nuclear weapons depot in Korea. There, he gets into trouble with his sergeant and tries to avoid dishonorable discharge.
The side door gang rushes up the stairs to the top floor then down the hall to where a crowd has gathered outside the library. Inside, girls are standing on tables screaming like it’s a Beatles concert. Several boys are chasing frogs. “There goes one,” someone yells.
“Coming through! Move! Get out of my way!” Mr. Danforth calls, rudely elbowing his way past. As the vice principal rushes into the library, a kid corners a frog and brings his heel down. There’s an explosion of blood and guts. “Stop that,” Danforth shouts, grabbing the misguided youth by the elbow. The disciplinarian searches his mind for another approach but is distracted by higher-pitched screaming. It seems that an unmentionable part of the squashed frog landed on the leg of one of the girls. Now she, and her friends, have redoubled their vocal efforts. They’re jumping up and down.
Danforth gazes toward heaven for a solution and through the open library window sees nothing but clear blue sky. Inspiration strikes. He looks down just as one of the little fellows hops by. Danforth grabs it, then hurls the vertebrate out of the window and into the pitiless void of oblivion.
Now that he has the hang of it, Danforth scampers around the library chasing frogs down and throwing them out. He’s like a man possessed, and soon the entrance stairs and pavement below bear gruesome testimony to his murderous efficiency. After the last vestiges of the amphibian menace have been ejected, the library begins to calm down, and the spectators disperse.
I feel like a cheater. My path to getting my first novel in print was too easy. A no-name writer like me should struggle to get published, and I didn’t. How did I beat the system? Read on!
After investing ten years writing and rewriting As Good As Can Be, I was in no mood to try and become a publishing expert. Nevertheless, once the manuscript was ready, I took to Google for a crash course. I found that there are two paths a writer can take. The first is the traditional route of finding an agent to peddle your book to publishers. The second is self-publishing.
The average novel sells around 500 copies. Most books on how to query agents or to self-publish sell much more than that. Why? Because there are thousands of authors trying to get published and big bucks to be made catering to them. Sure, I bought the books, queried agents, and tried to make sense of self-publishing. Then I saw a small ad for Hawkeye Publishers, visited their website, and was blown away by the honesty there.
Timber Hawkeye, my publisher, showed me a third path to getting my book in print and readily available. Unlike traditional publishing houses, he allowed me to keep all rights to my book. In return, it was my responsibility to promote the book after publication.
What I like is that Timber partners with his authors. He doesn’t charge large upfront fees. Instead, he makes a fair profit on each book sold. The hours he spends creating the cover, laying out the book, making last-minute author-requested edits, and so on are billed at a reasonable hourly rate. If this all sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.
Are there other outfits like the one I found? If so, I haven’t heard of any. The closest comparisons are independent publishers with set fee schedules for each step along the way. They too, allow authors to keep all rights to their work. Unlike Hawkeye Publishers, they don’t make a profit on book sales. Their profit comes from the fees they charge authors. Those add up to substantial figures rather quickly.
So now I’m trying to pay Timber back for all his support by getting As Good As Can Be noticed. My thanks go to Archaeolibrarian for helping with this! You can support small publishers and indie authors by giving their books a chance. If the blurb looks interesting, find the book on Goodreads and check out the reviews. Also, visit the author’s website (mine is https://www.williamaglass.com/copy-of-about-1) for a free excerpt. You may decide to get a copy!
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Bill is a retired business executive now living in South Carolina with his wife, Bettina. She teaches high school German while Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Their three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon, have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers.
For recreation, Bettina and Bill enjoy hiking and camping out. Usually, they take their dog, Scout, along. When the weather permits, Bill commutes to work on his motorcycle.