Beach Dunes

April 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off on Beach Dunes
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Glorious

I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent walking on beaches, but I have to believe it must be in the thousands. Yes, thousands. You see, I’ve lived near or on the ocean for all but six years of my life, and that means I’ve trekked beaches in New England, Middle Atlantic states, the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, there’s all those hours visiting exotic places in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia when I was either on business or vacation, and could always find time for a little beach walk. Oh, and then there’s those cool beaches of California, Oregon and Washington. So, in a very informal and non-academic way, I am kind of a dune expert.

I love beach dunes, especially Florida beach dunes. So, I want everyone to know what dunes are and how important it is to protect them. Listen up.

Beach dunes one time may have been part of the ocean floor when the oceans covered the land. Others are created by wind and storms depositing sand high up on the beaches. In this sand are organic matter (read plant life) which embeds in the sand and begins to grow. Plants sprout and capture more sand and more organic matter in an ongoing process which results in a larger and healthier dune. While Nature can take away what it has made, it also can replenish through its cycle of strong winds and onshore storms which dump large amounts of sand and organisms.

Man, however, is another impact force on dunes, and we can be better stewards of what has been provided us.

By staying off the dunes and not picking or destroying dune vegetation, we can protect the dunes. By planting approved dune plants we can enhance the dune vegetation, which will attract more organisms from the wind-blown sand. By convincing local and state officials to protect the dunes, we can assure that government offices are doing their part.

If you love the dunes, or the beach, or the ocean, or Nature at large, do your part. Get involved and take action. Maybe we’ll cross paths!

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It’s Alive! It’s Alive!!!

July 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in News, Perspective, Radio Show | Comments Off on It’s Alive! It’s Alive!!!
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The Ocean Publishing blog, that is. We realize that we’ve been a little more than remiss in keeping up with regular posts on here but things are going to change–starting… now!

Starting now, the OP blog is made alive again. We’ll be posting one or more times a week, writing about topics that range from environment/conservation, publishing industry trends, and then stuff that’s more about us, like Cover to Cover radio show updates and Ocean Publishing news.

A lot of stuff has been happening lately and we can’t wait to share it all with you in future posts. In the meantime, one thing to definitely keep an eye out for the launch of an all-new Cover to Cover site. Getting up a comprehensive central hub for Frank’s books/publishing-based radio show is incredibly overdue but the site we’re cooking up is sleek and modern and coming out great. We’ll let you know when it’s finally live and we look forward to hearing your feedback for this and every topic we pose in the forum.

Good to be back, folks. We’re excited about getting back to the swing of things and hope that you keep coming back for discussions with us.

Associations – Worth the Fee?

October 6, 2009 at 8:10 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Associations – Worth the Fee?
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In tough economic times, everyone seems to draw back from spending money. Sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Save what you don’t need to spend because the economy is so challenging and business is getting tighter.

Generally speaking, unless books are required for classes or business purposes, most books are bought with discretionary income. They are impulse buys, not necessities. Well, maybe they are “necessities” for some of us who just can’t live without a book in our hands or on our e-readers. But, for the most part, books get bought with money that is left after the bills get paid.

So, if the book publishing industry is being adversely affected by a down economy, it seems logical that publishers would take a second or third look at all outflow of money to make sure it is being spent wisely. Logical. Very logical. To a point.

I’ve been a member of the Florida Publishers Association and the Independent Book Publishers Association for over six years. Both of these associations have given me untold benefits over the years. I’ve gotten an education about publishing unlike anything possible in grad schools. Real life, hands-on education and experience have been shared generously by members of FPA and IBPA. One cannot get that sitting in a college classroom. Sure, the principles are taught there, but the experience? Not often.

My memberships in these two associations have meant the difference between success and failure for me. Lessons learned from one-on-one talks, networking, seminars, newsletter articles, Publishing University, online courses, conferences, and so much more have proven to me beyond a doubt that my membership fees are worth every cent and much more.

In fact, I think my dues should be higher! That’s right, higher. For what I have gained from membership in FPA and IBPA would have cost me thousands of dollars had I been able to obtain it through college courses or other sources. When most associations are charging members $300, $500 or more for membership, these two associations charge a pittance in comparison.

Now, more than ever, is the time to be a member of an effective publishing association. Now, more than ever, is the right opportunity for publishers to pull together to share, support, educate, and network for our mutual benefit. The best place to do that for maximum results is in an association of like-minded people.

When my memberships in FPA and IBPA come up for renewal, I won’t have a moment’s hesitation about re-upping. For me, it’s simple. I get so much from my memberships that I would be foolish not to renew them. Right now, more than ever, is the right time to get involved, stay involved, and gain as much as possible from them.  And, it is the best time in the world to give back to those associations by being active, helping out where I can with what talents I can share.

Are associations worth the fee? You bet!

www.flbookpub.org

www.ibpa-online.org

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

September 11, 2009 at 6:12 am | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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An incredibly large garbage dump has formed in the northern Pacific Ocean at what is called the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a clockwise movement of ocean currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. Millions of pounds of trash, most of it plastic, floats around and around, forming perhaps the largest dump in the world, estimated to total 100 million tons of human-made and human-disposed trash.

Actually, there are two separate but connected trash dumps known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch, estimated to be twice the size of Texas, floats between Hawaii and California. The Western Garbage Patch is found east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone, which also has large amounts of trash within it. 

Plastic makes up most of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is understandable when one considers that plastic makes up some 90% of all floating trash in the world’s oceans. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton in the oceans by a ratio of six to one. About 10% of the world’s plastic production ends up in the oceans, with the majority of it sinking to the ocean floor, and some making it to coastal beaches. And, as we all know by now, plastic does not biodegrade, but it does photodegrade. This means that a piece of plastic willl be broken apart into many smaller pieces, which will remain in the ocean for years, each one breaking down into smaller pieces. These small bits of plastic end up inside marine life and birds, resulting in death and injury to thousands each year.

To learn more about this huge problem and what is being done about it, visit:

 http://www.oceanfutures.org/of_blog.asp

http://sio.ucsd.edu/Expeditions/Seaplex/

http://www.projectkaisei.org/

Interns Make Sense

September 3, 2009 at 7:02 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Interns Make Sense
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I am a big believer in the value of internship programs. In fact, my fifth intern started his program with Ocean Publishing this Wednesday and I am already impressed with his interest and ambition.

Intern programs benefit both the person doing the internship and the organization providing it. As most intern programs do not offer paid compensation, those willing to intern are clearly motivated beyond the allure of money. They seek learning and experience, and are willing to work for free in exchange for an education in the practical world of their chosen field.

My previous four interns all gained significant knowledge and experience by working in my book publishing house. Each of  them has shared that what they learned, both from daily education sessions and opportunities to use their creativity and brain power, gave them a greater sense of achievement  and confidence than they had imagined possible.

I think the key to a successful internship is to have a daily routine of teaching points for the intern. I spend 30-45 minutes at the start of every day talking about a different subject about publishing. I give the intern a personal notebook on the first day to use for all the materials I hand out and for notes made during the day. By the end of the internship, this very full notebook becomes a permanent reference for whatever direction the intern takes in his or her career.

In return for the daily education, I receive an incredible benefit from the intern. One of the best advantages for me is to have fresh ideas about everything we do. While we run our operation with certain systems in place, it is refreshing to have someone ask, “What if we did this differently, like maybe changing all of our paper to a greater percentage of recycled content?” This is invaluable for any organization which wants to remain vibrant and focused. Plus, interns can handle a wide variety of tasks if they are trained correctly right away.

If you aren’t now offering an internship in your business, do it. Young people will gain great knowledge and experience. And, as important, your organization will benefit in ways you have not yet imagined. All it’s going to cost you is a little time every day to share what you know about what you love — your business.

Associations and Economic Downturns?

August 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Associations and Economic Downturns?
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Unless you’ve been in a cave for the past two years, you know that our economy, and that of the world at large, is in a very bad place. As the US Government ratchets up its spending and borrowing for a multitude of programs that are supposed to save us from economic disaster, the book industry continues to suffer along, greatly affected by cunsumers’ fears about spending what little discretionary income they may still have.

As an independent book publisher, I know what is happening out there in the economy. I see it every day when I look at sales results and wholesale orders. The numbers are down sharply.

Customers who formerly bought large quantities of books with each order are buying fewer copies and ordering less frequently. Individual orders on our web site are off by 50%. People are afraid to spend. This is a very tough time for everyone, well, maybe not so much for those we read about still getting big bonuses paid for from stimulus money. But, that’s another story for another time.

During this tough economic time I believe it is more imporant than ever to belong to a professional association. It’s not the time to save the little amount possible by not paying the membership dues. It’s time to spend it and get the most out of it you can!

I’m an independent book publisher and I belong to two professional associations, one at the state level and one at the national. I insist on getting as much from both of them that I can in order to maximize my company’s potential for success. Florida Publishers Association has a dynamite monthly newsletter that I devour voraciously. Its tips, leads, hints, contacts, how-to’s and more are worth the price of membership alone.

Then there’s the Independent Book Publishers Association, what I consider to be the penultimate in professional associations. This organization has given me more support, education, direction, friendship, advice, counsel, and yes, love, than any other organization I have ever joined.

So I say again to those of you who think you’re being smart and not renewing your association memberships or not joining a professional association so you can save a few dollars, you are making a major mistake that will cost you thousands of dollars and untold hours of labor. Smarten up. In stormy waters it’s the wise captain who refers to charts, the wisdom of seasoned sailors, and always has time to plan, prepare and execute a proper course. I know. I am both a sailor and a publisher, and I know the value of my association memberships. Every day.

Helping a Friend with His Memoir

July 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Perspective | Comments Off on Helping a Friend with His Memoir
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It’s hard to believe, but almost eight years ago I helped a long time friend write and produce a memoir about his life up through retirement from the Air Force in 1966. We’re talking about someone born in 1918, so he was a young 48 years at retirement and a spry 83 when he wrote the book.

My role, beside bugging the hell out of him to write the manuscript, was to edit and arrange layout, typesetting, and printing. Even though this memoir was strictly for family and friends, it was my first effort at making a book, and I loved it.

I had met Manny when I was a young Air Force captain in 1970, and we’ve been best friends ever since, despite the 26 year age difference. We’re peers; having had some of the same military and life experiecnes, believing in God and country, and knowing that good always trumps evil. Manny and Bernice, his wonderful wife of 66 years, are my best friends.

Manny’s first memoir (and I say first because we just finished his second) was a huge hit with everyone. But, they lamented, “It stops in 1966 and you’ve had so many exciting experiences since!” Well, now they can read about Manny and Bernice, and their family, from 1966 through 1987, when Manny retired again. I bet you’re thinking, “What about the period from 1987 to the present?” Manny assures me that, if the Good Lord is willing, he’ll pen the final phase.

I have to tell you, working with Manny to produce these two memoirs for his family and friends has been a cherished experience for me. We worked hard and long to make two good stories, but one of the most interesting parts of these times has been that he and I have never disagreed over a single item. Just as we have in life, our work together on his memoirs has been a time of respect and admiration. What more could one ask? A fun experience and a great time!

Thank you Manny and Bernice for sharing so much with me. I am better for it!

Flying for Manta Rays

June 20, 2009 at 8:59 am | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off on Flying for Manta Rays
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I recently had an opportunity to fly along the northeast Florida coast to to do surveys of manta rays. The aircraft flown, an AirCam, is a rather unique bird designed originally for Nat Geo to do herd counts in Africa. It’s a twin-engine, high wing, tandem seat lightweight aircraft that takes off and lands on postage stamps and can cruise at 50-70 knots.

Flying east from our grass strip home base, the view of the coast line was spectacular, with Matanzas Inlet, residences, Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic all in sight at once.  Then we were out over the ocean and banking north a half mile offshore.

Immediately I could see cownose rays below as they moved around as singles or groups of 10 or more. But no mantas. Then I saw an occasional sea turtle, lending hope that this nesting season would improve from the low nest numbers I knew were being repported by the Turtle Patrol.

At the entrance to St. Augustine’s harbor we banked right and headed back south, this time toward our southern end of the survey plot, Flagler Beach Pier. As we approached Matanzas Inlet I spotted the first manta rays of the flight. Three mantas were headed north, right under our right side, on our course line a half mile offshore.

Then, it was as if a gate had been left open and there were manta rays everywhere. We saw singles, threes and fours, and larger groups. We marked their locations on the GPS and recorded them by size and number so we would could submit a report of our findings. As we approached Flagler Beach the mantas gave way to large numbers of cownose again.

Heading back from Flagler Pier, this time one mile offshore, we encountered less cownose and a fair number of mantas, especially as we neared Matanzas Inlet. North of the inlet we did not see any mantas and only a few cownose, with an occasional sea turtle. We turned south at St. Augustine channel and flew direct to Matanzas Inlet at 1.5 miles offshore.

With the weather building to the south, we decided to close out the survey and return to base. One thing I didn’t explain is that this aircraft is an open cockpit, no canopy. While this makes for fantastic photography, it isn’t fun when the weather turns wet or cold.

Just another fun day in this adventurer’s life on the coast.

BookExpo America 2009

June 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on BookExpo America 2009
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Well, once again I proved that I can’t be everywhere and do everything at once. BookExpo America (BEA) proved that, after all, I am human.

I had planned to blog every day at BEA so we would have a running commentary about my activities, but a hundred different interruptions, mostly in the form of human beings, changed all that good intention stuff. Reality was that I had so much to do and so little time that I hardly had a chance to eat and go to the bathroom. In fact, the first two days of BEA I didn’t do either of those things until the show was over for the day!

Here’s my typical day during BEA: out of the hotel room at 6:30, breakfast by 7:00, work on office stuff until 8:00 when associates from IBPA arrive, depart for BEA by shuttle at 8:30, work the IBPA membership booth or members’ book display all day until 5:00 (My role was primarily to enlist new members and assist people to find and consider books in our display.), dinner with associates, work til 11:00, crash.

I had very little time for my own planned activities of seeking out potential sponsors for my radio show about publishing and visiting with distribution types to increase Ocean Publishing’s national exposure. Only on Sunday, the third and final day, did I have the opportunity to move around the floor a little.

Overall, BEA was pretty good for IBPA and me. We took in a bunch of  new members and I met with a distributor with whom I likely will sign on. I visited the Arabian Pavilion and was impressed by the size and sophistication of some of their booths. I met with representatives from the Arab Publishers Association, which I think should be considered as an affiliate candiate of IBPA, and with spokespersons from Sharjah, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. With publishers from around the world wanting access to the US markets, IBPA could be of assistance, and those worldwide interests might help US publishers gain access overseas in new markets. An interesting possibility.

One of the best benefits of being at BEA is the opportunity to visit with friends from around the country. I had a chance to meet up with Rudy Shur (Square One), Victoria Sutherland (ForeWord Magazine), Lloyd Jassin (Copylaw.com), Norman Goldfind (Basic Health) and a plethora of other folks too numerous to name.

One more person I visited with was Kathleen Go, a former intern who now works for a NYC publisher as an editor. She worked with me for over four months two years ago and it was so enjoyable to link up, even for a few minutes.

Now, it’s back to the realities of business: dealines, meetings, telephone calls, emails, yada, yada, yada. There’s always next year, though!

Publishing University Wrap-up

May 29, 2009 at 5:47 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Publishing University Wrap-up
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Yesterday was the third and last day of the 2009 Publishing University presented by IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association. And what a great day it was!

For me, there were two highlights: the luncheon program with industry pros talking about e-books; and the evening dinner and presentaion of the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Speakers at the luncheon session described their respective company’s activities in the rapidly expanding e-book sector of the book industry. Neelan Choksi, whose company had just been bought by Stanza, Daniel Albohn, of Sony, and Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, provided a clear picture of the exciting world of e-books. This is obviously a segment of the industry that is undergoing tremendous advances and growth. I am moving all of Ocean Publishing’s books into this format as rapidly as I can in the next few weeks.

The Ben Franklin Awards were great fun for me, especially, and a crowd of several hundred IBPA members and guests who filled the Grand Ballroom of The Roosevelt Hotel. The post-dinner presentation of awards for the best books in 54 categories was my highlight because I love the excitement of the evening. IBPA board members, along with Executive Director Terry Nathan and Assistant Director Lisa Krebs Magno, served as presenters.

Big winner of the night was Palace Press International, which took home five individual awards! Congratulations!

Today I move over to the Jacob Javits Center to attend BookExpo America, the biggest book publishing event of the year. For the next three days I will be working in the IBPA Booth(#2955) to help with IBPA’s membership campaign. If you are attending the show, please stop by and say hello.

More to come…

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