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Baking a Book

Ray Blain is a retired pediatrician and medical consultant. In January, 2024 he plans to publish his latest book with IngramSparks as the printer and distributer. The title is A More Perfect Democracy; Modernizing the United States Constitution for the 21st Century.

When I enter a bookstore or library I find hundreds of treats to pick from as I browse the offerings. I for one had not considered how much time, effort and expense goes into producing the end product until I became a writer for publication.

Like baking a desert, for some types of books there are some recipes available on the internet regarding the combination of ingredients like plot, characters, twists and surprises, but often there are not, especially in non-fiction. In those cases, I and other authors have to research facts, character traits, timing accuracy and outcomes and present them in an appetizing and entertaining fashion so the reader will stay until the end and the goal is achieved without disruptions such as errors in fact, distracting grammar, misspellings and punctuation.

For those of us who do not have a strong education in language arts, learning disabilities, or no training in writing for publication, we must try hit and miss experimentation or hire expert consultants such as copy, plot, grammar and spelling editors.

Good books also require good chapter organization and sequencing. Publishers also have criteria for various genres and they come in a large variety of sizes and ethical standards or lack thereof (that's just one of the many types of mind-fields and minefields you will confront.)

So I spend weeks, months and even years writing multiple drafts of a manuscript, and more time and money revising for the editors, publishers, printers and marketers. Those who are skilled or lucky then face the challenges of finding an agent, developing a market plan and the tasks of social media and book signings, guest appearances (all of which are difficult to get if we're not already well known with a large following) and the cost of government licensing, permits and fees from the city you live in, and up to the federal government.

I have been through these more than once since my first book. My first publisher went bankrupt and was found guilty of embezzling. I then researched the world of self-publishing without professional help and made many trial and error mistakes. For my fifth book ten years later and a lot wiser, I hope, I now offer "A more Perfect Democracy: Modernizing the United States Constitution for the 21st Century."

I contracted for professional help and ended up with a beautiful display inside and out of my suggestions for modernizing, improving and protecting our democracy. These services were expensive but the subject so important that I took the plunge.

If you are a writer I do not wish to discourage you, rather I wish to harden your resolve. If you have a good idea for a book, even if you don't sell 10,000 copies, getting your ideas, characters and plot out there for the enjoyment, education or improvement in your readers' lives, the effort and cost is worth it.

My goal for my latest effort is to promote the need for a Constitutional Convention without politicians and political party officials whom I fear will have self-serving agendas. I would suggest two representatives from each state and one from each U.S. territory to meet and discuss ideas to improve and safeguard the best democracy yet to exist on our planet.

People with political science degrees, constitutional experts and open-minded voters would be the best attendees to craft such a document. This will take funding, leadership and organization.

I offer the ideas in the book as a starting point for such a movement and for crafting the agenda.

~ Raymond Leo Blain

Ray's new book is "A More Perfect Democracy: Modernizing the United States Constitution for the 21st Century."










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