Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors. All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise. Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews. Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.
My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.
Tell us about it, Bob Megantz:
Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?
Bob: I am a musician and audio engineer, and I have a great interest in tube guitar amplifiers. I found no reliable, accurate information in published books or magazines on the topic. In fact, I found lots of misinformation, so I wanted to produce a clear, correct, and concise resource for interested musicians and equipment designers.
RARA: What titles have you published to date?
Bob: Designing and Constructing Guitar Amplifiers. This is the only self-published book I have written. Two other books I wrote (How to License Technology and Technology Management: Designing and Implementing Effective Licensing Programs) were published by Wiley.
RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?
Bob: I currently sell directly from my Web site and through Ebay, and indirectly through several vendors and through the Amazon Advantage program. Most of my books are sold through Amazon. I advertise in two guitar-related magazines (Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar), and participate in several related forums.
RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?
Bob: Several useful related resources are listed in the bibliography. There is a great deal of useful information on this topic available on the Web. If you are referring to resources useful in marketing my book, Amazon has been the most useful (and also takes the biggest cut).
RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?
Bob: Fulfillment. While fulfillment services are available, they are expensive (and labor-intensive), so I have been handling fulfillment myself. I make many trips to the PO.
RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?
Bob: Write about what you love. Don’t worry about commerciality while writing. I say this because writers will in all likelihood gain modest (at best) financial rewards. Figure out for whom you are writing, and ways to contact those people. If you want to sell books, promote and advertise. The world will not beat a path to your door.
I’ve been involved in music and electronics since the 60’s, when I electrified my ukulele. My parents had a Magnavox record player, whose ceramic cartridge plugged into the amplifier via a RCA jack. I bought a contact microphone from the local electronics store, attached it to my ax, plugged in to the Magnavox, and counted off “Memphis.”
That seemed to get my parents’ attention, so they bought me a Heathkit shortwave radio kit for Christmas, along with a Weller “pistol-grip” soldering iron. I assembled the radio, attached the antenna, turned it on, and it started howling. I couldn’t get it to work right until I resoldered every joint in the radio.
By this time we’d moved to Jersey, and I started buying my own equipment. First up was a Lafayette amplifier, which, if I recall correctly, used two 6BQ5’s in its push-pull output stage. I connected the amplifier to the 12” speaker in the console TV in my bedroom, and plugged my uke into the phono input. I had no idea why it sounded so bassy…
I upgraded to electric guitar in ’67, when my folks bought me a used Fender Jazzmaster. I joined a band with my friends, but I needed an amp, so I emptied my savings account and bought an Ampeg Gemini II at the local music store. Luckily, it included the dolly, since I had to push it all the way home.
I took that rig to Cornell University, where I studied Electrical Engineering, including a couple of courses on electronic music taught by Robert Moog. I also took every music class I could, and worked part time as an electronics technician at the Cornell Synchrotron. My guitar never sounded quite right to me, so I started by changing the speaker in the amp, and then, in ’70, I sold the Jazzmaster and bought a Gibson ES-335, which I still play today. The Ampeg went next, first for a Marshall Major, then a long string of other amps.
After graduation I headed out to Santa Barbara, where I worked for a couple of years testing integrated circuits for Burroughs. I was still playing in bands, and I started building my own equipment, both amps and speaker systems. I then moved to San Francisco, where I eventually ended up working at Dolby Laboratories as an audio engineer. I learned much of what you will read in Chapter 1 at Dolby.
In the last decade or so I have been taking a more orderly and comprehensive approach to amplifier design. I began, like most designers, by repairing and modifying various Fender, Ampeg, Marshall, and other designs. Later, I began constructing new amplifiers, first using existing units, such as Fender Bassmen, as platforms, and then designing and constructing all electrical and mechanical parts of the amplifier. Each amplifier was used in performances with various guitars, speakers, and effects systems.
This experience has provided the basis for the book you are about to read.
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