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About Writing Right: The Blog


"When I complete the volcanic seven summits. If I wrote a book about my experience climbing all of these peaks. Would you be interested to read it?" That was the fairly straight-forward question someone asked on Quora the other day. Here's how I responded.

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I think Joseph came closest to the truth when he said you need a hook for your "travelogue." I wouldn't call it that as much as a memoir, but still, he's right.


I'll take his response a couple steps further, though. I've never heard of you; so, why would I want to read about yet another Volcanic Seven Peaker? If you were going to be the first, you'd have a little stronger hook that could snag the interest of a major publisher. In reality, though, you'd be the twenty-fourth. I don't see how that would be a big plus for attracting very many publishers or readers. If any.


Coincidentally, the honor of being the first climber to conquer the non-Volcanic Seven Summits (the highest mountains in each of the seven continents of the world) goes to Texan Richard Daniel "Dick" Bass, an American businessman, oilman, rancher, and mountaineer, who was born in Tulsa in 1929 before moving to the Lone Star State to help his family run their businesses. He co-wrote a book about his climbing adventures entitled Seven Summits. He also owned Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah for forty-three years. In fact, that's where I met him and accepted his dinner invitation to my son and me. I later wrote an article about him for the Milwaukee Journal or someone.


A fascinating, courteous, and well-bred man, Dick was the only Texan whose downhill skiing technique was even remotely impressive (I was a ski instructor and editor for Ski Magazine back then; so, I know what I'm talking about). Before Snowbird, he invested $10,000 in the development of another ski area, this one called Vail in Colorado. He also sat on the Board of Directors there and eventually built the largest home on the mountain. After former-president Gerald Ford accepted Bass's invitation to winter at his home one year, Ford made the place his "Winter White House" for the remainder of his presidency.


But, getting back to the Volcanic Seven Summits, I hope you see where I'm headed with this, because I'm trying to burst your bubble as gently as possible. But besides being just another climber interested in peddling a memoir that no one is likely to publish or buy, you're also not a good enough writer to pen a well-written book by yourself, even if you could manage to interest a publisher in your story. I can tell that by the grammar and construction of your question, which is riddled with errors; and your question has only twenty-seven words in it as opposed to a 70,000-word book! That means you'd need to hire a top-notch ghostwriter or at least a first-rate editor to turn your story into something remotely readable. Neither one is "cheap."


As for whether or not I'd read your book once it's written? Nope. Why not? Because I write books; I don't read books. Not anymore. Unless, of course, someone pays me handsomely to do so as an editor or a book doctor. Sorry to be so blunt, but you're fighting an uphill battle here. I wish you the best in your climbing endeavors, though. Stay safe and sane on your journeys.


If you have any other questions or wish to pursue the subject further, you can reach me through my Website's contact page. Until then ...


Smoke if you've got 'em.

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D. J. Herda is author of the new e-Book series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere. His blogs appear on his Website at www.djherda.org. You can also check out his columns, "The Author-Ethicist" and "Fury and the Beast," at Substack. They're free; they're entertaining; they're informative, and they run weekly. Well, almost weekly. Occasionally weekly. Sometimes weekly. (Hey, he does his best!) 

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