Welcome to “The Military Guide” blog!
Five or six years ago a bunch of early retirees on Early-Retirement.org observed that retired military veterans should be able to retire more easily than most people. After all, an ER’s biggest challenges are inflation and affordable healthcare. Military retirees have a COLA pension and TRICARE. So where are all those military ERs?
About that time my spouse pointed out “Nords, you have a book in you.” I like to write, and this seemed like a good focus for my efforts. Heck, how hard could it be to publish a book?
During the last five years I’ve collected a wealth of references and gained a whole new perspective on the issue. I’ve worked with over 60 veterans to write about the military ER conundrum. Many of them contributed their own stories while others suggested topics and offered their editing/proofreading services.
As we wrote (and rewrote) the book, another “problem” occurred to me: retiree authors have a fundamental conflict of interest. They’re getting royalties to write… but if they’re retired, why are they getting paid? Or even worse, are they getting paid because their retirement’s not really working out? Worst of all, would readers take retirement advice from a retiree who needs to be paid to write it?!?
The answer seemed clear: a retiree writer shouldn’t get paid to give retirement advice.
We decided that in return for permission to publish everyone’s contributions to the book, the royalties will be donated to military charities. If you contribute to the book (even if we just use your sea story) then you get to pick a military charity to receive a portion of the royalties.
Since that decision, this book has officially become a labor of love. I’m not playing money games. The royalties will come to me, I’ll pay the income taxes out of them, and the after-tax remainder will go to my Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. We’ll send the checks to the charities from there at some suitable allocation and schedule. If we decide that it’s easier to give it all to one charity then I’ll just sign the royalty rights over to them and skip the whole tax-paying step.
Note that I specified “after-tax profits”, not “net profits”. I’ve funded this book since I wrote the first outline. I’ve paid for the paper, the ink, the phone research & interviews, the postage for a pile of publisher query letters, and this URL’s domain name registration. I’m paying for the galleys that will be reviewed by the loyal proofreaders & contributors, I’ll pay for the first editions that will go out to those people, and I’m paying for the worldwide book tour… especially if there’s good surf near those locations.
I think SamClem of Early-Retirement.org bought me lunch at the Hale Koa’s Koko Café while he was slicing an early draft to ribbons. Bob Clyatt, author of “Work Less, Live More”, bought me another lunch and graciously invited me to his home. But I’d still pay money for the privilege of hanging out with those guys, and I won’t get any other personal compensation from this project other than the warm glows of project accomplishment and paying it forward. And, of course, the pleasure of getting to know all these contributors and their stories.
Last month I sold the manuscript to Ron Krannich at Impact Publications, a great guy who has no trouble making up his mind when he sees a good idea. (For you other aspiring authors, this appears to be rather unusual in the publishing industry.) The best part about Impact is their huge distribution channel into the worldwide military exchange stores, and another great feature is their innovative “pocket guide”summaries.
Ron’s been ominously quiet since he received the full manuscript, but eventually he’ll take a deep breath and then get me started on the editing process. It’ll probably be another 8-12 months before bindings hit the street. In the meantime, we’ll be using this blog (and Early-Retirement.org) to work through the publishing process, make the decisions, and spread the buzz.
I’m computer-literate, and I even have degrees in the field, but this is my first blog. I’m going to keep tinkering with the settings here as I work on the book. If I’m not blogging in the optimal manner then I’m pretty confident that you’ll let me know. It happens all the time over at Early-Retirement.org…