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Self-published book of my observing reports?

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#1 Astrojensen

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 04:12 PM

Sorry if this isn't the right place to ask this question. 

 

A friend encouraged me some years ago to collect all my observing reports in a book. I'm low-key working on it now. If for nothing else, then just for my own sake, and to preserve all the reports. I've written well over a hundred over the years. Many are several pages long. I'm thinking about combining them with a (long!) list of all my scopes, with some descriptions; explaining how I got into astronomy in the first place; my observing sites, etc.  

 

I can't help but wonder if someone else might be interested in something like this? And if so, how to publish it? I didn't have anything expensive in mind. Maybe an ebook or print on demand from Amazon or something like that. Price? I have no clue. Is this even something people would spend money on, when they can just read them online? Almost all the reports have been posted online in English at some time, but they can of course be difficult to find. 

 

Examples of reports I've written:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-23rd24th-2008/

 

https://www.cloudyni...-29th30th-2008/

 

https://www.cloudyni...arch-17th-2009/

 

 

Thoughts, hints and suggestions are most welcome! 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#2 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 04:19 PM

Hey Thomas,

 

I'm not sure how to go about such a project, but I can tell you that I would likely be a customer. 

 

I enjoy hearing about other people's observing reports, especially when they describe gear used and the observing conditions.

 

Best of luck!


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#3 Kobayashi Maru

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 04:25 PM

I second that.

 

Maybe add basic finder charts or even just  dec ra information?


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#4 LunarObserver

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 04:57 PM

I had some success with this with Blurb books.  blurb.com?  I made a few books for myself of lunar observations.  Fun to make.  I think thee are several "self publishing" book companies.

David


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#5 Binofrac

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 05:01 PM

The "Garden to the stars" link below is my small attempt at publishing, intended to accompany a talk at my astronomy club. Even though it's not many pages it still took a while to write, rewrite, format, proofread (many times), correct mistakes, etc. These things can be a great labour of love but charging then goes into a whole new area. It would be worth finding similar publications to what you envisage and see how they do it. As it will be of a technical nature then an electronic format would be ideal to allow easy searching.

 

Some self publishers release the first chapter free and then charge for subsequent ones. That way you could gauge how much interest you had by the amount of people paying for the next instalment.

 

Give it a go and see what happens. Every great author has to start somewhere.


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#6 TOMDEY

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 05:05 PM

Self-Actualization is a good thing - go for it!

 

I'm seventy five, going on seventy six... and actually writing my ~Memoirs~ now. My hope is to finish that and have my executor distribute one copy each to the mourners at my funeral ceremony. Observing logs --- well, even William, Caroline, and John's are not heavily read or referenced, even though their original observations, sketches, and prose are quite engaging. I'd say do it, assuming only yourself and a few relatives and friends might take some interest. There are still some ~Vanity Press~ publishers who will do the work for a fee. My Uncle, Nicholas Tymkin, wrote an interesting ~Romance Novel~ back in 1952 A.D. I found an extremely rare 1st Edition in Britain, and now have it in my library.

 

Maybe consider publishing a condensed version, rather than your entire log? I've gone through many thousands of pages of my stuff and edited down to what should comfortably fit in a "regular-sized" book.    Tom

 

self-ac·tu·al·i·za·tion
the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone

 

"A vanity press, also referred to as a vanity publisher or subsidy publisher is a company that will publish anything for anyone who pays them. There are no editorial or creative standards. It's simply a company that prints books for people. They're called vanity presses because they target people's egos. By 1956, the three leading American vanity presses (Vantage Press, Exposition Press, and Pageant Press) were each publishing more than 100 titles per year."

Attached Thumbnails

  • 03 nick tymkin concerto for hell.jpg
  • 04 Caroline Herschel Book.jpg

Edited by TOMDEY, 29 March 2023 - 05:13 PM.

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#7 Sketcher

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 06:34 PM

I would certainly encourage you to work on such a project -- regardless of marketing potential.  I've often had similar and somewhat related thoughts; but actually doing it, well, that's an entirely different thing.  I always seem to be able to find other (likely less worthy) things to spend my limited time on.

 

If you don't do it, it ain't gonna get done!

 

Throw in an occasional sketch, photo, and personal reflections; and who knows?  I think such a project is worth doing even if you're the only one who sees the finished the product -- or even if it's never actually finished.  Just do it!!!

 

Publishing details?  I haven't a clue.  But I would have a personal preference for a good old-fashioned print-on-paper format -- or perhaps a full-length print-on-paper version and an abbreviated digital version.  There are so many possibilities . . .

 

Now then, if only I can manage to tear myself away from spending so much time on CloudyNights.   There are so many other things that I could be (should be) doing . . .smile.gif


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#8 t.r.

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 04:51 PM

A friend just published using Amazon on demand…I can ask her how pricing works for you? Yes, visual observers would buy if price is kept reasonable. An alternative would be simply to post them here in the Article section like Ron Bee’s Light Cup Journals! You would get more readership as it’s here, free and there are a lot of cloudy nights, pun intended! I love reading other’s observing reports.


Edited by t.r., 30 March 2023 - 04:56 PM.

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#9 desertstars

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Posted 30 March 2023 - 07:00 PM

Sorry if this isn't the right place to ask this question. 

 

A friend encouraged me some years ago to collect all my observing reports in a book. I'm low-key working on it now. If for nothing else, then just for my own sake, and to preserve all the reports. I've written well over a hundred over the years. Many are several pages long. I'm thinking about combining them with a (long!) list of all my scopes, with some descriptions; explaining how I got into astronomy in the first place; my observing sites, etc.  

 

I can't help but wonder if someone else might be interested in something like this? And if so, how to publish it? I didn't have anything expensive in mind. Maybe an ebook or print on demand from Amazon or something like that. Price? I have no clue. Is this even something people would spend money on, when they can just read them online? Almost all the reports have been posted online in English at some time, but they can of course be difficult to find. 

 

Examples of reports I've written:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-23rd24th-2008/

 

https://www.cloudyni...-29th30th-2008/

 

https://www.cloudyni...arch-17th-2009/

 

 

Thoughts, hints and suggestions are most welcome! 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

When I decided to publish Olcott's Skies (and later, Tales of a Three-legged Newt) I had no idea how much of a response I'd receive. Neither book sells extremely well (25 to 30 copies per year, on average) but they have attracted a readership. The only way to find out is to put it together and give it a try. If you have access to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, the actual publication couldn't be easier. A clean Word document will do nicely. As for pricing, knowing the market niche was likely to be small, I kept the price (and my expectations) low. A good way to find a price point is to search for other books on astronomical personal experience, and use that as a guide.

 

I've been at this self-publishing business (mostly writing fiction) for eleven years. If you have specific questions, please feel free to send me a message. I'll help if I can.


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#10 geovermont

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 08:22 AM

I' m guessing that deserstars has given you your answer, but I'll say for myself that I'm more interested in reading about someone else's observing experiences rather than their reports. Think Leslie Peltier's Starlight Nights. Wow, what an inspiration!


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#11 weis14

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 08:26 AM

Thomas, I would also be a customer for a book of your observing logs.  I've started posting detailed observing logs in the General Observing forum's Observation Log threads.  Recently, I went through and copied all of them into a document on my home computer.  Someday, maybe far in the future, I might create an edited version along the lines you are thinking about.  It could be an astronomy memoir of sorts.  


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#12 Astrojensen

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 10:09 AM

Some very helpful tips and thoughts, guys! Much appreciated! 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark



#13 yuzameh

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 11:20 AM

The simple act of writing up stuff in even a semi-formal way is highly useful.  For a start you suddenly realise how little you know about something when you take such an approach!

 

You remember things you had forgotten.

 

As part of the research you may learn things you were unaware of at the time and may wish to take into account in a fresh observation.

 

During your education you took notes in order to remember things later for examination, and no doubt like some of us you can still remember some of the formulae and facts you picked up all those many universes ago.

 

It assists your descriptive and thinking capabilities.  Especially when you find you are sometimes repetitive in your descriptions, although things can be much of a muchness.

 

You may end up using categorisations and classification/hierarchical layouts you had not utilised before which enable you to think and understand more efficiently and/or readily.

 

You may learn how not to use interminably long compound sentences riddled with clauses that barely anyone else can understand or decode the structure of.  I know I never did.

 

Taken with that outlook even if a final intent of publication is not achieved, whether through abandonment of project part way through or whether for any other reason,  the exercise has not been wasteful and in fact has been productive, not to mention somewhat appropriately ideal for cloudy nights.

 

Whenever I've had to do an amount of research I have come to the conclusion that all that effort, and the temporary files, are going to waste if I don't do something with it before I delete it all as done with, so I have tended to pubilsh it, or email it to someone potentially interested.  Or in recent times bung some blather in these fora.  It's an attitude of 'well, I've put all this time into this bludy thing, time to do summat with it more than leaving it encoded on electromagnetic domains!'  That, of course, only applies to work with a successful outcome.  Unsuccesful work doesn't lead anywhere.  That is irrelevant to observational logging.

 

You've gotta wanna though, I can touchtype which helps, but making neat presentable and interpretable by others illustrations, in my case invariably graphs, is tedious and time consuming.

 

And finally, a recent post somewhere on CN noted that the legendary NSOG volumes 1 and 2 came from what used to be a home published magazine style observing thingy consisting of the observation logs of a couipla folk which were posted out to subscribers before it became a book compendium.  Before print on demand, no doubt!

 

Well, that means there's precedent.  Doesn't mean you'll achieve that, but there's precedent and interest.

 

I don't think you'll outdo Burnham though ; )


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#14 TOMDEY

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 11:33 AM

I participated in a Creative Writing site for about a decade, submitting somewhere around 1600 short (few hundred words typical) essays, prose, poetry, etc. Just enough to get comfortable writing. Like anything else (music, sports, games) it takes a lot of practice to get decent at the art. And as geovermont says in comment #10 above, "Think Leslie Peltier's Starlight Nights". That is... even technical writing needs more than data to engage the audience.    Tom


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#15 KidOrion

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 12:30 PM

hmm.gif  Hhhmmmmmmmmm..... lightbulb.jpg


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#16 Doraemon

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 04:43 PM

My opinion as newbie, I would order your book. 

But please add some references for newbies like me about how to find the objects, what telescope and eyepiece you used (I saw in many cases you mentioned this), and perhaps some basic maps (or reference to an star atlas), and the sky quality.  This would be super helpful to beginners like me.


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#17 desertstars

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 08:43 AM

I' m guessing that deserstars has given you your answer, but I'll say for myself that I'm more interested in reading about someone else's observing experiences rather than their reports. 

I looked at the examples linking in the post used to begin the discussion, and the writing style does trend toward telling a story, rather than a simple recounting of object after object observed. Using those existing reports as a basis for such a book sounds promising indeed.


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#18 Spaceharald

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Posted 03 April 2023 - 03:44 PM

Thomas,

I would absolutely buy your book! Your observing reports have been a huge inspiration to me in trying to observe challenging DSOs with small refractors.
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#19 Doraemon

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Posted 03 April 2023 - 05:11 PM

Perhaps you could also include a chapter about Zeiss refractors.  I have read your posts in the Classic Telescope forum and I know that you are the main expert in these telescopes.  I think there is very little info available in English.  


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#20 7Soeurs

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Posted 04 April 2023 - 08:37 PM

Thomas - I would also buy your observing notes in a book format. You have inspired me over the years to go out and view the sky even when the weather was not cooperating. — I think Cloudy Night members would be very interested in your observations and financially supportive of your work. Dave


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#21 Rich_W

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Posted 06 April 2023 - 08:17 PM

As well as Amazon Kindle Direct, a couple other solid self publishing options would be Draft2Digital and Ingram Spark, and there are others.  Self publishing these days is very doable and a much better route than the "vanity publishers" of old. Good luck  with the project, I too would find it very interesting. 


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#22 desertstars

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Posted 06 April 2023 - 11:07 PM

As well as Amazon Kindle Direct, a couple other solid self publishing options would be Draft2Digital and Ingram Spark, and there are others.  Self publishing these days is very doable and a much better route than the "vanity publishers" of old. Good luck  with the project, I too would find it very interesting. 

I've found Draft2Digital to be very easy to work with. One upload and you've reached all the outlet that compete with Amazon: Kobo, Barnes&Noble, iBooks to name just a few.


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#23 StanH

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Posted 08 April 2023 - 05:20 PM

The publishing site I have used since 2007 is lulu.com.  Thus far, I have put my observations into six volumes with each one a certain date range.  I have made printed copies for myself.  PDF versions are available for free to download, but I think you have to have a lulu account to do so.  More recently, I divided my observations into different categories:  NGC & IC, supernovae, galaxies, etc. just for e-versions. It hasn't felt right to charge anyone, especially after having to re-edit them many times to fix typos and some identification errors.  This is all more for my peace of mind to have someplace to store them.


Edited by StanH, 08 April 2023 - 05:24 PM.

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#24 Corcaroli78

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Posted 12 April 2023 - 04:00 AM

Hi Thomas,

 

A book with your observations would certainly has a place among my books.

 

I am personally very interested in the narrative of the observing sessions with a personal touch, because it connects with our own experiences: how was the weather, the setup, the sounds, and even your mood!. The fact that most of your observations have been logged with the 63 mm Telemator enables many enthusiasts (like me) to challenge ourselves. Hand sketches and BW would be a plus!

 

Carlos


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#25 HenrySpence

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Posted 20 June 2023 - 11:48 AM

Hello! To be honest, I don't think I have enough experience to provide some advice, but I think that publishing such a thing is a great idea. I'd really like to add something like this to my collection. I'm writing small papers myself, but now it's more like an analysis of already written publications from different years and the comparison. But I do hope to publish something I wrote, but I need more experience. And I don't know how useful it would be to use, but here is one tool https://fixgerald.com/ which helps me a lot with writing. If you want to publish something, then the usage of a plagiarism checker is a must. I use it each time, and I don't even publish something yet, just to be sure that in case I'll know that I wrote everything okay.
Anyway, I wish you luck with everything, and I hope that the whole process will be successful.




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