Category Archives: Book publishing

How an author and novice publisher gets his book before the public.

Wilber’s War (abridged) is Published!!


Photo: Angie Wagg
Photo: Angie Wagg

12/31/16. Wilber’s War (abridged): An American Family’s Journey through World War II was formally published on Dec. 7, 2016! It was also Pearl Harbor Day and my 86th Birthday. We celebrated it all at the Salem Athenaeum where I gave another book talk, in which I told speculative stories of German spies and an impromptu battlefield meeting of opposing commanders.

The new abridged book is a more accessible, low-priced ($14.99), distilled, one-volume version of my trilogy. It is also available as an E-book ($4.99) and as an Audio-book ($24.95 – or less). All are available on Amazon and at As with the trilogy, it is loaded with maps and illustrations, 95 in total.

It has been well received with positive reviews (5.0 stars on Amazon). (The trilogy has received two Silver Awards and one Finalist Award.) Its juxtaposition of the battles in the Pacific Theater and the challenges on the home front make it a very special story that is highly relevant to military families today. It is an epic tale of duty, heroism, love, infidelity, and the tragedy of suicide.

Here is what one reviewer (Angie Wagg on the blog, Kelly’s Thoughts on Things) wrote:

"Ms Wagg's veteran-husband reading Wilber's War. Photo: Angie Wagg.
Ms Wagg’s veteran-husband reading Wilber’s War. Photo: Angie Wagg.

“My husband — a retired disabled veteran (photo) — did not put this book down until he finished it. I could tell that it touched him and brought on many memories of his own. At times he just dropped his head and times I think I saw a tear fall. For someone like him who understands war, this was a very accurate description of what happens when our loved ones defend our freedom. For me, a civilian, it opened my eyes and gave me an insight into what our military go through to protect us.”

I would greatly appreciate your spreading the word among your friends about Wilber’s War (abridged). If you get and read it yourself, I would love to hear what you think of it. And of course, if you read it, writing a review on Amazon or elsewhere would be much appreciated, even if it is short and not all positive. I published it myself (Van Dorn Books), and hence need ALL the help I can get to call attention to it.


Wilber’s War (abridged) is Done!

How did we finish up? We of course did not submit the book’s text to my designer, Lisa Carta, until it was “letter perfect,” or so I thought.
Wilber's War Abridged CoverMy “final” version had been edited by my wonderful editor, Francie King, and all her suggested edits incorporated by me before submitting it to Lisa. A month or so later, Lisa finished the layout and sent me the pdf file for the entire book. I printed it out and read it carefully, word for word, finding many additional defects, mostly minor. My editor, Francie King, likewise read it, but on her computer screen, finding her own set of improvements.

After Lisa incorporated our numerous edits, I submitted the pdf to CreateSpace (CS), whereupon we were prompted by their software to fix a few details. We did so and this led to a pdf proof I reviewed on screen. I then ordered four proof print copies of the book, complete with cover. They arrived two days later. They were beautiful, and the quality of the printed illustrations was much better than I expected for Print on Demand printing. Lisa’s cover design is dynamite, very similar but recognizably different than the trilogy cover. Francie, Lisa, and I each reviewed these proof books. I read one carefully, Francie reviewed layout details, and Lisa focused on illustration quality. All this led to corrections on some 60 pages.

Again Lisa made those corrections—with no complaints and great patience. I resubmitted to CS with the vow that I would live with this version, even if my name were misspelled on the cover! The pdf proof looked fine so I ordered five proof print copies of the book, which I am expecting to receive today.

The publication date is the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 2016, a little more than three months from now. In the meantime, I will seek reviews, will modify the website to incorporate this new book, and will attend to other marketing details. Hopefully it will be possible to pre-order shortly. The book is softcover and very economically priced at $14.99.

Two Silver Awards for Wilber’s War!!

Wilber’s War was a finalist in three of the four competitions it entered and two of those became Silver Winners. Here is the rundown:

HB Silver Winner FR at ALA

Silver Winner: Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Awards: War & Military, Non-fiction
Silver Winner: Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards: Biography
Finalist: National Indie Excellence Awards: Military, Non-Fiction


I was at two of the conventions where the awards were announced (IBPA in Salt Lake City in April and American Library Association in Orlando in June) and was photographed at each award ceremony looking smug. There were lots of winners in each of the about 60 categories in each competition, so I had lots of smug company.


Hale Bradt with the Silver Medal plaque at the IBPA "University" in Salt Lake City. April 2016.

The one volume condensation of Wilber’s War is on schedule for release on Dec. 7 this year. I am very proud of it; it still contains much of Wilber’s writing while still telling the entire story quite effectively and smoothly (the deletion holes are not apparent). I think of the hardcover trilogy as the “publication” of Wilber’s letters, though they are only about 40% of his total extant output. This allowed me to delete lots of excellent material in order to get it down to one volume while keeping the story moving. Rest assured, the best of the best is still there in the single volume.

The single volume contains about 40,000 words of Wilber’s writing and 60,000 of mine in the 100,000-word book. There are 95 photos/facsimiles/maps and 358 pages altogether. It will be paperback only and print on demand, with list price $14.99 if all goes as planned. Its current title is the same, with “abridged” added. Wilber’s War (abridged): An American Family’s Journey through World War II.

Marketing Wilber’s War


Hale Bradt with the Silver Medal plaque at the IBPA "University" in Salt Lake City. April 2016.
Hale Bradt with Silver (Finalist) Award at the IBPA “University,” April 2016.

Wilber’s War won a third Finalist Award, this one from the National Indie Excellence Awards in the category War and Military (non-fiction). The winners have been picked for two of the three, and unfortunately neither was Wilber’s War. The Foreword Reviews Winner will be announced later this month. Cross your fingers.

In April, I made three marketing trips for Wilber’s War: to the Independent Book Publisher Association in Salt Lake City, to Maryland where I gave talks in two Maritime Museums (Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay), and finally to the conference of the Society of Military Historians in Ottawa, Canada. The latter was very rewarding, in the contacts I made and in the sights and museums of Ottawa.

I have completed a one-volume version of Wilber’s War, which is destined for POD (Print on Demand) publication, probably on Create Space, hopefully for release on Pearl Harbor Day this year. We are still wrestling with the choice of title for it.

My publicist is being re-activated for a two-week push leading up to Father’s Day. That will mean more radio interviews and one or more op-ed pieces. We are lowering the price to $59 (from $79) for the campaign.

I am going to the ALA (Am. Library Assoc.) conference in Orlando later this month.

Despite all this and excellent reviews, the trilogy sales are slow. When I stir the pot, some sell; when I am not, few do. Altogether, about 130 have sold, which some might say is not bad given its bulk and price. There is much more I can do and will do. Marketing a book was never advertised to be easy, and it isn’t.

Hooray! Wilber’s War is a Finalist Twice!

I have just learned that Wilber’s War, my trilogy about our family in World War II, has been selected as a Finalist by two well regarded awarding organizations:


  1. Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards (Biography)
  2. Forward Reviews’ INDIEFAB Awards (War & Military)


These are like a silver medals. The Gold awards will be announced soon. I have also submitted the trilogy to two other organizations and hope for similar success with them.

Wish the trilogy good luck.

Wilber’s War price reduced

The retail price for Wilber’s War, the hardcover trilogy in a slipcase, has been reduced from $125 to $79. Persons reading this post can get an additional 25% discount by using code FFWW at . Libraries and bookstores get a 43% discount (the codes are on the website). Perhaps this way a few more people can buy and enjoy Wilber’s War. Ebooks are available at lesser prices but they are not nearly as pretty as the hardcover books.

My marketing adventures continue . . . !

My Annapolis trip

Well, I am back from Annapolis, MD. I gave talks at Heritage Harbour  where my sister Valerie lives and at The Annapolis Bookstore. Both were well attended (about 30 and 15 persons respectively) with very attentive interested listeners. Five copies of the trilogy were sold and I came home with about half as much cash as the trip cost me, but I do not regret that rewarding trip one bit. Val and her boys Scott and Gary were most supportive and helpful.

Heading off to Annapolis, MD

Wednesday, I am off to Annapolis, Maryland, where I will give two talks and will sign books on Thursday, January 14, about my father’s odyssey through the Pacific in World War II and about my recently published trilogy about it: Wilber’s War, An American Family’s Journey through World War II. I welcome all.  Light refreshments will be provided. The trilogy (three books in a slipcase) will be sold at both events and I will sign them if you wish. It will be a festive family event because my sister Valerie and her sons live in Annapolis and will be there. Valerie is a principal player in Wilber’s War.

The two talks are at:

Heritage Harbour Community Lodge, 959 River Strand Loop, Annapolis. 10 AM, Thursday, January 14.

The Annapolis Bookstore, 35 Maryland Ave. Annapolis, 7 PM, Thursday, January 14.

Do come to hear about Wilber’s odyssey, the impact on his family, and about the travails of someone publishing his own book.

Halloween during war

On halloween, 1943, my father wrote from the Solomon Islands to the wife of one of his artillery 2316 169FA Officers, chapel Ondongaofficers, Dixwell Goff, of Rhode Island, giving him great praise. He wrote: “I saw him save scores of lives for our infantry by placing artillery fire exactly where the Japs were sure we couldn’t put it. I watched him in a critical time adjust our artillery fire so close in to our troops that shell fragments fell all around those of us fifty yards farther back than Dixwell. That time he came back with that big grin and his eyes sparkling because he knew he had done a real Goff job.”  Two months later, the battalion officers were photographed outside their jungle chapel. On this photo our father’s face was circled in crayon by my young sister Valerie, and Goff is the second man to the right, with mustache.



A Novice Book Marketer

8/30/15. I return to my blog after a two-month absence with apologies. I promise to be more attentive to it. Do look for a monthly or biweekly contribution on the topics of World War II, the Pacific Theater in particular, and the adventures of marketing one’s own book. Today it is mostly the latter, while recognizing that two days from now, on Sept. 1, 1939, World War II was initiated by the German entry into Poland 76 years ago. Thus began the long road to victory nearly six years later.

Wilber’s War was officially published two weeks ago on the anniversary of V-J Day. On that day, I was in the bookstore of the National Museum of the Pacific War doing a “book signing.” I sold four of the trilogies in the first ten minutes and none the rest of the day. Later I learned that two of the four were returned. The trip cost perhaps $1500, so it was not a profitable excursion, but the reward was in the pleasure of talking to many people about the work and to be on that scene for V-J Day. I especially savored reading Wilber’s humorous story about ants on his bunk to two young boys.

Plaques on wallThe next day, we dedicated the memorials I sponsored (for the 43rd Division and four individuals – see my blogs of 4/26/15 and 5/16/15). Here I post a photo of the plaques mounted on a wall in the memorial garden. Altogether, there were perhaps 15 people there, and several were related to 43rd Division WW2 vets now deceased. Most important was the daughter of Gen. Harold Barker, the division artillery commander. She is about 92 and wheelchair bound, but she got there!

My publicist, a young lady in New Jersey, has lined up radio show after radio show that wish to interview me. I have probably done close to ten of them by now, including an in-studio interview on WBZ Boston from midnight to 1:30 AM. I find myself becoming quite adept at filling airtime. You can find two of the interviews here.

I also have had two op-ed articles published, one on and another in the Fredericksburg, TX, where that Museum is. Two other magazine articles were requested from me; they are written and in the works. I have given talks about the book at a launch party at the Salem Athenaeum (July 31), at the memorial dedication in Texas, at the local Marblehead Rotary, and at our Essex Condominium last week. you can see all the print items, by me and others, here.

I find that such direct contact produces a few sales each time, but so far the op-eds and radio interviews seem to have had little effect, at least for now. I have sold perhaps 50 sets as of this date. Not huge, but not bad either for the first two weeks. There are still 1950 sets sitting in Canada hoping for a home.

This is all new and a bit bewildering to me, but I am actually having fun doing it. People really appreciate the story when they hear about it.