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Author Topic: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?  (Read 1127 times)

Offline Pasoleati

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This might be a suicide here but I do wonder why the extreme fetishist interest in books on projects and prototypes of insignificance while there are tremendous gaps in English-language literature of major significant aircraft? For example, there are no really good books with latest research on the e.g. Bf 109, Ju 87, He 111, any Italian and French WW2 aircraft or on any Japanese WW2 aircraft. There are no true bibles (the closest aircraft monograph bible is Spitfire the History) on F4U, SBD, F6F, F4F, SB2C, P-40 to name a few.

The question is that shouldn't the energies and resources of authors be first dedicated to produce a truly complete book on the Bf 109 rather than Bachem Natter? It is akin to a situation where a biography of Hitler or Stalin is far less detailed than a biography of an unknown NSDAP clerk or a party secretary typist in some obscure Siberian village.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 02:05:08 pm by PaulMM (Overscan) »

Offline GTX

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 11:41:11 am »
I think both are needed though suspect the reason comes down mainly to individual interests of authors plus market realities (gotta produce something that sells).

That said, I have been toying with the idea of doing the definitive P-40 book for sometime.  It would be more of a retirement project though and thus more of a personal interest thing (and something to keep me from annoying the wife too much  ;)) than a commercial project.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 12:20:16 pm »
This might be a suicide here but I do wonder why the extreme fetishist interest in books on projects and prototypes of insignificance while there are tremendous gaps in English-language literature of major significant aircraft? For example, there are no really good books with latest research on the e.g. Bf 109, Ju 87, He 111, any Italian and French WW2 aircraft or on any Japanese WW2 aircraft. There are no true bibles (the closest aircraft monograph bible is Spitfire the History) on F4U, SBD, F6F, F4F, SB2C, P-40 to name a few.

The question is that shouldn't the energies and resources of authors be first dedicated to produce a truly complete book on the Bf 109 rather than Bachem Natter? It is akin to a situation where a biography of Hitler or Stalin is far less detailed than a biography of an unknown NSDAP clerk or a party secretary typist in some obscure Siberian village.

Aviation books are primarily written because someone is interested in the subject, rather than for financial gain. Noone gets rich writing aircraft books.

Personally I'm not really interested in operational histories, but in technical development. Asking the question on a forum for people who like unbuilt projects is probably not the best location however.


Ultimately if you want to see a definitive book on the Bf109, go write it yourself. it'll take you many years, cost you a fortune in research, probably be 1000 pages long and you'll probably struggle to find a publisher for it at the end. It'll cost a fortune to print, cost lots to buy, and sell in small numbers.
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Offline Schneiderman

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 01:40:45 pm »

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Yes indeed, what Paul says. What merit is there in telling potential authors what they SHOULD be writing  ;)



Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 02:09:46 pm »
I'm not saying it wouldn't be worthwhile from a historical perspective to have such a book on the Bf109. Important plane, deserves a great book. There's no 'definitive book' on pretty much every aircraft.
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Offline martinbayer

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2019, 10:09:14 pm »
I'm not saying it wouldn't be worthwhile from a historical perspective to have such a book on the Bf109. Important plane, deserves a great book. There's no 'definitive book' on pretty much every aircraft.

Absolutely true - personally, I would much rather like to have a large number of perhaps not quite definitive or even somewhat precursory books on a wide variety of types and even concepts than only a few extremely exhaustive ones on just a small number of mainstream designs, especially keeping in mind that new material is still being unearthed fairly continuously, so trying to write the "ultimate" tome on any design is likely a rather futile exercise at any point in time.

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Offline Arjen

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 12:08:58 am »
I think both are needed though suspect the reason comes down mainly to individual interests of authors plus market realities (gotta produce something that sells).

That said, I have been toying with the idea of doing the definitive P-40 book for sometime.  It would be more of a retirement project though and thus more of a personal interest thing (and something to keep me from annoying the wife too much  ;)) than a commercial project.
A book on the P-40 - yes, please :)

Offline Pasoleati

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 08:30:00 am »
Aviation books are primarily written because someone is interested in the subject, rather than for financial gain. Noone gets rich writing aircraft books.

Personally I'm not really interested in operational histories, but in technical development. Asking the question on a forum for people who like unbuilt projects is probably not the best location however.


Ultimately if you want to see a definitive book on the Bf109, go write it yourself. it'll take you many years, cost you a fortune in research, probably be 1000 pages long and you'll probably struggle to find a publisher for it at the end. It'll cost a fortune to print, cost lots to buy, and sell in small numbers.

Paul, I don't speak German, so your idea of "write it yourself" is a bit off and frankly as an argument the "write it yourself" idea is childish.

I am also mainly interested in technical side of things with no interest in operational chronicles. And that is the main problem with many books on major types: they attempt to cover everything and that leads to superficiality in all aspects. The Spitfire The History wisely left the operational chronicling out allowing it do cover the development in detail.

Another good example of the above-mentioned problem can be found in comparing 3 books from Classic: He 162, He 111 and Ju 87. The He 162 volume is excellent and gives very detailed treatment of development and technical issues while the He 111 and Ju 87 try to cover everything and end up being quite useless for anyone not interested in operational chronicling.

Are you suggesting that a 1000-page book on Luftwaffe paper planes would sell better and be cheaper to buy than a 1000-page book on the Bf 109 assuming the latter would concentrate on technical development?

Offline Pasoleati

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 08:33:19 am »

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Yes indeed, what Paul says. What merit is there in telling potential authors what they SHOULD be writing  ;)

What merit is there for an employer tell the employees what should they work on? Those who buy books are employers and those who write books are employees. Without buyers few books would be ever published. Your attitude is quite arrogant.

Offline Arjen

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2019, 10:33:56 am »
If you care so much about what books should be written, write them yourself. The one arrogant person here is you.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2019, 11:03:28 am »
No, those who write books are not employees. Not usually anyway (1). People write books because the subject interests them. Now, writers need to live just like everybody else, so full-time writers tend to pay attention to market demand. Some even work on commission and create any book you want.

In our corner of the hobby though, many writers are hobbyists with a day job. They write what they like, and accept tiny print runs in order to share their interest with others. If you ask nicely, maybe someone will consider writing your dream book, but don't count on it.

Somewhat similarly, I have extended my model building hobby by creating the occasional 3D printed part, which I've made available for sale. But the only pieces I'll make are ones that interest me. I don't take commissions. I tried that, and my hobby quickly turned into a job. That's a development I didn't want.

So, you are not in a position to demand anything. Ask nicely, and you may get someone's interest. Offer a pile of money and someone may take you up on your offer. But don't expect others to spend their free time creating your dream when they could be pursuing their own.

In closing, I'll offer a different point of view. A definitive book on the P-40 may not have been written, but there are hundreds of pages of P-40 material available (Amazon.de has at least 28 books on the P-40). The same goes for all major types. For the unbuilt projects we like, that number is usually 0. What we've collected here on the forum is in some cases the sum total of public information on a project. So a writer tackling unbuilt projects can break new ground, instead of just rehashing what's already been written and maybe filling in a few gaps. And that's a far more satisfying endeavour.



1: yes, I know there are exceptions. I'm one: I'm a technical writer, employed to write user manuals.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 12:43:23 pm by Hobbes »

Offline gatoraptor

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2019, 08:51:36 am »
If you care so much about what books should be written, write them yourself. The one arrogant person here is you.

That is a horrible attitude to have, and quite despicable.  I have ideas on books I'd like to see written, but I don't have the time, money or resources to do it.  There are professional writers out there whose job it is to write the books, and they are the ones who are equipped to do so.  Calling someone "arrogant" who is not equipped to do so is entirely the wrong thing to say to somebody; I'd consider it an insult.

I should add that I have tremendous respect for the guys who do write the books, a number of which post on this forum.  Thank you for all your hard work, because I can imagine the "blood, toil, tears and sweat" that you have to go through to produce such excellent works.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 08:55:22 am by gatoraptor »

Offline Schneiderman

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2019, 09:29:53 am »
Employers? Employees? What a curious analysis of the relationship. If that is what you truly believe it is no wonder you are so disatisfied with the lack of books on the subjects you list.

Offline robertino

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2019, 12:16:59 pm »
why not
Secret projects are always more interesting than mass production
eg 109 has a "little one million" book and about Natter or Arado 555 pairs of articles

Hitler, Stalin, Tito, Mussolini are always more interesting than Hans, Boris, Jovica, Andrea, ;D ;D

I am currently writing a book "luft-panzer 46" (work title) :-X

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: Should authors concentrate on projects or major aircraft types?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2019, 10:12:04 pm »
If you care so much about what books should be written, write them yourself. The one arrogant person here is you.

That is a horrible attitude to have, and quite despicable.  I have ideas on books I'd like to see written, but I don't have the time, money or resources to do it.  There are professional writers out there whose job it is to write the books, and they are the ones who are equipped to do so.  Calling someone "arrogant" who is not equipped to do so is entirely the wrong thing to say to somebody; I'd consider it an insult.

I should add that I have tremendous respect for the guys who do write the books, a number of which post on this forum.  Thank you for all your hard work, because I can imagine the "blood, toil, tears and sweat" that you have to go through to produce such excellent works.

There's a fundamental misunderstanding of how aviation book publishing and writing works today. Tony Buttler makes a living as a writer, but most of the aviation writers I know don't. Its a hobby, a passion, and rarely even pays the writer back the costs incurred to research it, let alone make them money to live on. Therefore, to a large degree, the books that get published are on topics that someone decided to research for their own interest. Publishers aren't deciding "we can make lots of money by publishing a book on American Airlifter Projects, lets commission someone to write it". Someone with an interest in a topic approaches the publisher and says "I've been researching this book for 5 years, are you interested in publishing it?".

Therefore, you can't just expect 'the definitive book on the Ju-87' to be published because you'd like to read it, or even because there's a gap in the market for it. Someone who loves the Ju-87 needs to say "I really want to write the definitive book on the Ju-87", and put in the years of effort needed to write it.

If that one person is you, then great, get started. There's plenty of knowledgeable people here who can help. That's how I wrote my book. I wondered 'is there any more to know about the P.1121?" and after more than 7 years of research and about a year of writing / photo editing / graphic layout, it was done.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 10:13:50 pm by PaulMM (Overscan) »
"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
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