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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #16  
Old 02-19-2017, 07:48 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

A thing about having written articles on the subject is that your name is not totally new to readers. Often the author is someone totally unknown to readers because he has not published articles prior to his book release. When that happens you have an unknown springing into a world of readers who are saying, "who is this guy?" Take DiBenetto, he was not known in striper fishing. AT the time he had been an editor in one of the big NY mags and he toured with well known striper writers along the striper coast as a basis for his book. He was so well informed that he never contacted Mister Smarty. I guess he limited contacts to people that had been in the striper surf more than 35 years - an intentionally facetious remark on my part.

It is an unintentional effect for me to view all new writers as interlopers. It seems to me that these "new kids" don't know how to hide their failings by putting up pictures of surfcasting in the daytime or fishing in the striper surf in pattern leather street shoes. I say if you don't have dirt under your fingernails catch your wife while gardening and get some. At least dress the surfcasting part if you want to sell your drivel to editors who know even less about our craft. You are a day late and a dollar short if you don't have night photos. Incidently, the subject of editing should be covered in some other of my rants less influenced by my evening Scotch.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Frank,

There are so many bad fishing books out there, and perhaps they even make money for someone, but the good ones remain and always rise to the top. I just dumped a bunch of old fishing books.

Mr. Smarty's are still on the shelf.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:29 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

There were less striper books when I started. This gave me a huge advantage. But today book stores are closing down big time. The Barnes and Noble chain has reduced their number of stores nationally to a fraction of what they once were. I was lucky that when I started the striper market was wide open. I see the decline in sales from when I published my first book to the more recent ones. Now there are so many striper books out there that the market is watered down. Take "Eastern Tides" and "Twenty Years on the Cape" for an example, two books with very similar themes produced 20 years apart. The early one sold well but the subsequent title, "Eastern Tides", which is a way better book, struggled. I have come to limit my writing to magazine articles with a pair of book manuscripts graying in my hard drive. The fire in my belly for book authorship is gone. It is a combination of personal success in other endeavors and the viewing of a crowd of poor ideas, many self-published, along with publishers who can't find qualified editors.

Having been in the outdoor writing racket for 47 years, my BS Meter lights up when I have to work with an editor who was never a writer himself. Had he been in the business I would have at least had some exposure to him. For example, the editor who fired me on Cape Cod over the dog thing was an experienced hardware store clerk.

Book authorship was good to me when I started but it devolved during my time forcing me to go ashore ahead of a sinking ship.
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:03 PM
SALMONMEISTER SALMONMEISTER is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

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There were less striper books when I started. This gave me a huge advantage. But today book stores are closing down big time. The Barnes and Noble chain has reduced their number of stores nationally to a fraction of what they once were. I was lucky that when I started the striper market was wide open. I see the decline in sales from when I published my first book to the more recent ones. Now there are so many striper books out there that the market is watered down. Take "Eastern Tides" and "Twenty Years on the Cape" for an example, two books with very similar themes produced 20 years apart. The early one sold well but the subsequent title, "Eastern Tides", which is a way better book, struggled. I have come to limit my writing to magazine articles with a pair of book manuscripts graying in my hard drive. The fire in my belly for book authorship is gone. It is a combination of personal success in other endeavors and the viewing of a crowd of poor ideas, many self-published, along with publishers who can't find qualified editors.

Having been in the outdoor writing racket for 47 years, my BS Meter lights up when I have to work with an editor who was never a writer himself. Had he been in the business I would have at least had some exposure to him. For example, the editor who fired me on Cape Cod over the dog thing was an experienced hardware store clerk.

Book authorship was good to me when I started but it devolved during my time forcing me to go ashore ahead of a sinking ship.
I like both books, Frank...nicely written. Why do you think/say E.T. is "way better"?
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:59 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

"I like both books, Frank...nicely written. Why do you think/say E.T. is "way better"?

I was a better writer 20 years later. For instance I engaged in character development and paused more often to develop scenes. Early years I said Norman said; later I would just ad "you bet" to the dialogue and the reader then knew it was Norman talking. The geography was more encompassing because it took in TWO areas of the striper surf -- Cape and RI.

Of course why things happen is always going to be speculative. We may have a different class of reader having changed over a period of 20 years. And, as I said above, striper books have flooded the market by the publication of Eastern Tides where in 1989 there were few; it was a time of greater thirst for striper books way back. I wish book acceptance were more pure but often times it is not about the book at all. Rather it can be about editing, distribution, and any number of unknown social influences. While we seek answers we often have no clue why things are what they are.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:57 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

To write a fishing book, whether instructional or otherwise, one needs to know two things, how to write, and how to fish. The how to fish part is entirely subordinate: if you can't write, it doesn't matter how good you are.

I don't want to seem like I'm blowing smoke up your XXX, Frank, but the writing part is why your books will endure: it's what really matters. The knowledge-of-fishing part is a cherry on top, but it's largely irrelevant. Fishing methods will change, and the how-to stuff will become dated, but the stories, and the written word, will endure.
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:00 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I love to look for mistakes in surfcasting books. A favorite and common misstep is not have any night photos. C'mon, very little effective surfcasting takes place in the daytime. Way back there was a popular book with a daytime surf scene on the cover but the copy inside was all boat fishing. The more recent striper books are actually more realistic than the old-time ones. There is some good writing available on the subject today which was rare in the old days.
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

The answer is. know your subject, have hands on experience and be able in words to paint a picture of the happenings in the reader's mind.
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

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Originally Posted by Chris Garrity View Post
To write a fishing book, whether instructional or otherwise, one needs to know two things, how to write, and how to fish. The how to fish part is entirely subordinate: if you can't write, it doesn't matter how good you are.

I don't want to seem like I'm blowing smoke up your XXX, Frank, but the writing part is why your books will endure: it's what really matters. The knowledge-of-fishing part is a cherry on top, but it's largely irrelevant. Fishing methods will change, and the how-to stuff will become dated, but the stories, and the written word, will endure.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I may have a unique perspective as someone who never had a formal education in Creative Writing other than cringing every time my 4th grade teacher asked me to write a 500 word essay/theme for homework. I kept asking her why I had to underline verbs and circle nouns Anyway my entrance to writing about fishing was through the encouragement of the late Tim Coleman, who was editor of the Fisherman Mag. He needed writers and asked me to write about anything fishing related and he would take care of the editing. I did this for a few years, learning the trade as I went. Eventually I picked up a copy of Strunk's Element's of Style. Looking back at my early work still makes me want to edit. Even with my book I tend to be my worst critic when I read it, so many things I could do better. When I first tried to get it published through Burford and others I got plenty of rejection letters. No publisher wanted a book of memoirs. Then the advent of information technology took over the publishing world allowing someone like myself to self publish. I had help along the way but there was no longer a barrier to getting my work "out there". But once "Surfcasting Around the Block" was published I had to learn how to self promote. This was another learning curve. Now 60 I've taken writing as a pleasurable experience, something I really enjoy. Making some mad money is great but not my entire reason for doing it. To me its just another passion, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had two passions in my life.
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  #26  
Old 02-21-2017, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

you guys really haven't lived right, since your volumes can't fetch a listing price of over $5000 (and notice they don't offer free shipping)


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Bright Waters, Shining Tides

Kib Bramhall

Published by Vineyard Stories, 2011
ISBN 10: 0982714661 / ISBN 13: 9780982714669
New / Hardcover / Quantity Available: 1
From Ergodebooks (RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.) Bookseller Rating:

Available From More Booksellers 1 NewfromUS$ 5,519.42
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View all 1 copies of this book
Price: US$ 5,519.42
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Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.

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Old 02-21-2017, 03:46 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Rob, Bramhall is our "Tin Boat". He posts all the time. Now that I know the copy he gave me is worth five big ones it leaves the book case and I have to put it in the safe. It is a nice book. Five Gs? I could spend a month in Panama for that.
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I never could figure out how those large price tags show up on the online sites from time to time. Happens to "rare" books, and I'm not sure if the book really exists at that price, if the site is "trolling for the big one", or if someone actually thinks that particular issue of that book is really of value.

One example was a Kenny Abrams book that I have... was on Amazon for $20, then then next week up to $300+ (the exact amount is irrelevant) then later on in the year back down to $20 or so. I know this comes from individuals putting up their own, used, copies. But the (unanswerable) question is who had it listed for the exorbitant price in the first place?

And I knew Kib posted here, I just didn't recall the screen name!
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:47 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

There is something fishy (oh boy) about these book pricings. I have seen this sort of thing before. What is it about Internet activity that makes for an "anything goes" environment? Years ago we had a member complain bitterly that he paid for one of my books but never got it. When I answered to him that there was no record of his payment I never heard from him again. He was hustling me. People are shameless about what they do on the Internet. They wouldn't steal in the real world but screwing ya on the Internet, that is okay.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:37 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

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I never could figure out how those large price tags show up on the online sites from time to time. Happens to "rare" books
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Originally Posted by Francis Daignault View Post
There is something fishy (oh boy) about these book pricings.
The deal with books is not really any different than it is with furniture, paintings, or other stuff: rarity is what drives the price.

Take a look at high-class art: paintings by the Picassos, Renoirs and Vincent "Vinnie" Van Goghs of the world have exploded in value in the past 15 years. This is because the supply is so small: Picasso produced something like 1,800 painting, Vinnie 900, etc. (the other driver of the runup in the market is political: the mega-rich are putting their loot in art because they think that art will be harder for government to confiscate. But, as usual, I digress).

With books, condition is another issue: the difference in value between a book in mint and near-mint condition can be substantial. And condition adds to the rarity factor: it's not common to find a book that's 80 or 100 years old that's in like-new condition.

An old girlfriend of mine gave me a very nice gift once, something that I still have: a first British edition of The Long Goodbye, which is probably my favorite Raymond Chandler novel. I was floored by this, until I saw something in very small letters on the back: the dust jacket was a reproduction, not an original. This means that instead of being worth many thousands of dollars, the book was (and presumably still is) worth something like 75 clams. It's still a nice book, and the lack of the original dust jacket doesn't make it mean any less to me, but it's not something I could hock for gambling money.

I don't want to blow smoke up your ash twice in two days, but I have contemplated getting one, or maybe even two, of the Mister Smarty Canon signed, and putting them away. I haven't done it because I don't want to seem ghoulish, but I virtually guarantee that your books, especially the signed ones, will be worth more, perhaps a lot more, in the future. I don't know if legacy means anything to you, but yours should be secure, and one could make a worse wager than going long, as the Wall Street pinheads say, on the Frankenbooks. They will probably be worth a lot in the future.
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