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“Who says you’re an author?” started an unending journey

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

The first person to ask me that question did so a few years ago when I proposed to publish a book with a collection of my best newspaper columns.

The newspaper company’s regional executive wasn’t teasing. He had orders to make sure that his newspapers each published a book at a reasonable cost that sold at a considerable profit.

Newspaper revenue was in a steady decline and the corporate owners demanded that we find new ways to generate new profits. That revenue slippage forced many newspapers out of business, including the three I published .

The decision not to publish a book of my personal columns happened when the corporate brass realized that most of their instant books didn’t turn a profit.

But I knew in my heart that dozens of my commentaries had resonated with many readers who urged me to put them into a book. With the help of my old boss, I negotiated with the newspaper company to sell me reprint rights to my columns for republishing in book form.

As a result, “The View From My Keyboard” was published in early 2019 by the Jesse Stuart Foundation, Inc. It sold out of the first two printings and a second book of my commentaries will be published later this year by the JSF.

That publisher also asked me to write a chapter in an anthology of crime stories in 2018 and then picked three of my stories from the book of columns for a Christmas anthology in 2019.

Another piece from my first columns book appears in a “great teachers” book published recently by the Idaho State University Press. I wrote about Wilma Mobley, the wonderful high school teacher who taught me how to type.

The last person to ask me about being an author was a literary agent in New York City. I sent him the manuscript of my unpublished novel entitled “In the Shadow of War”. Somehow, he didn’t like it. Four others agreed with him.

Yep, my exciting, heartwarming novel remains unpublished. At 78, I hope you get to buy a copy while I’m still above ground.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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