Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inside the Self-Published Book--Richard Cutler as Case Study

It was over a year ago that Richard W. Cutler contacted me about his new book, I Came, I Saw, I Wrote: A Risk-Taker's Life in Law, Espionage, Community Service, Start-Ups, and Writing.

The author of Greater Milwaukee's Growing Pains and Counterspy had written a memoir. The manuscript was pretty much done, but the new book certainly incorporated aspects of the other books. After all, his war career was pretty much about intelligence, and his law career was highlighted by working on regional issues. Sometimes the issue was about municipalities working together, and sometimes (as in the 1950's, when Cutler faced down Zeidler over the annexation of nearby towns), it was about municipalities working separately.

Just to reemphasize how bookselling is about diverse ideas (that I think we have a chance of selling), I made arrangements for Cutler's new book the same week I brought back in Mayor Zeidler's memoir, which we hadn't had in stock since the transition to Boswell. But I jump ahead here.)

We talked about the options for the book. It was my thought that a book on how Cutler's training during the war affected his post-war law practice. I had rigged up this whole gimmick in my head--Counterspy For Success, and could imagine it being a hit with just the right business publisher.

Only one problem. That wasn't the book that was written. And I hadn't read it yet, so I didn't know what was in it. One day I will write a post on reading unpublished manuscripts.

After looking at several options, Cutler decided to produce the book himself. There's really great talent in the Milwaukee area, and he took advantage of it. The book was printed by Burton & Meyer, marketing efforts are being coordinated by Luminaries, and the cover shot was done by Deone Jahnke.

The book chronicles Cutler's legal career, mostly in the firms that consolidated to become the modern Quarles and Brady. Not only was he involved in the creation of the current makeup of the cities and villages of Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties, he was helped in the purchase of the Milwaukee Brewers. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Cutler was the son in law of Edmund Fitzgerald, the man the ship was named for that sank in the 1970's. I feel just steps removed from Gordon Lightfoot.

I heard the event at Next Chapter was very successful. Did you miss it? We're hosting Cutler on Thursday, April 29th, at 7 PM. (Thanks to Kirk for noticing that I wrote the piece as if the Mequon event hadn't yet happened. I wrote it several days ago and wound up moving it).

The book retails for $19.95 and is available at both bookstores. We've also posted it on a popular website, using their marketplace program.

More in the Journal Sentinel.

No comments: