John K Berntson is an old computer geek with delusions of authorship.  He is both Libertarian and libertarian and believes that, all things considered, the world is getting better every day, despite setbacks here and there.

John is married, with two adult-ish stepsons and works in the family home heating business on Long Island.


From the first entry of this blog:

So, why am I blogging?  Complete self-interest, of course.  I need the practice.

You see, I used to write a bit more, depending on my mood.  Wrote some fiction, wrote some letters, wrote some press releases.  Got pretty good at it.  Thought I might be able to make a living at it some day.  It is still possible.  And this is the best time to get started.  The whole publishing business is in upheaval.

You don’t think so?  Go to a bookstore.  I did today – my wife and I went to Barnes and Noble.  As has been reported elsewhere, much of their shelf space is either gone or is being used to sell trinkets, not books.  Pride of place: their collection of Nooks, B&N’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle.  They have seen the writing on the wall; most books that will be sold in the future will be electronic.  Sure, real books will survive, probably forever, and most people will continue to buy them, but most of what they buy will be electronic: cheaper, easier, faster, and far more portable.  Take your Kindle or Nook with you wherever you want to read and not only do you have a couple of dozen novels, but also any magazine or newspaper subscriptions you might have.  If you really have no life, you can also load them with PDF documents from work.

I knew the Kindle was the real deal as soon as I saw it advertised.  Sure, ebooks have been around for some time, but you can’t take a computer to the couch, hammock, or toilet and expect an enjoyable read – not even with a laptop.  But the portability and flexibility of Kindles, Nooks, Ipads, and other tablets make it possible to read them anywhere, comfortably.  I understand the young people can even read for enjoyment off a smartphone.  This is an absolute game-changer.

Please understand, this does not portend the end of the publishing industry nor the end of books.  But it does mean an end to the monopoly practices of the publishing companies.  The barriers to entry are being lifted – right off the floor and out the window.  Amazon and B&N want content for their e-readers – as much as they can get! – so they will let you publish for free.  Set your price and split the proceeds with them.  No need to send a manuscript back and forth for months, then wait nearly a year before the book hits the shelves, it can now happen overnight.

So, that is some of what this blog will be about: my attempts to publish.  I have a back-list – if you can call unpublished works a back-list.  I have about a dozen short stories, a novella, and two novels that I would like to sell.  They are, naturally, of variable quality.  One of the short stories, in particular, does not so much finish as it just ends, suddenly.  Need to fix that.  Oddly, though, quality of writing is not my major concern; I have enough ego to think that, when I have a good idea, I know how to write it.

Naturally, when I have some of my stories published, I will have to start writing more.  Been meaning to for years.  There is a big yellow school bus and two baby raccoons waiting for me to give birth to them and I don’t think they will wait much longer.

There is much that I will need to learn, on the technical end and the business end.  Part of this blog is to be the basis for my website, where I will market my independently-published tripe works of art.

Meanwhile, I may give my opinion on news of the day, though not often, or on trends that I see and technological or social changes.  After all, look at the title of this website: while it refers to one of my “back-list” novels, it also refers to a quest for leaders.  While many in the freedom movement – of which I was once a part and may one day be again – believe that a free society needs no leaders, I have come to quite the opposite conclusion.  A free society needs leaders more than any other, but it needs leaders that lead with ideas and morals, not with threats of force.  Some of those leaders may not exactly be people, they may just be great ideas.

So, that’s it, really.  Crude attempts at publishing, followed (hopefully) by less crude attempts at publishing, interspersed with thoughts, ideas, and the occasional tired cliche’.  Hope you stick around for it.

John K Berntson
Vanguard Headquarters
Somewhere on Long Island

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