Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Questions about my Book

Here are the top ten questions most frequently asked about my book:

1. Can you reserve a copy for me in case you run out? No need - I can have as many copies printed as I require due to the incredibly customer-oriented Bryan Babcock at Allan Graphics. Printing will be kept ahead of the demand.
2. Can you sign my copy? Yes, just email me at mile179kingston@yahoo.ca and I would be pleased to do so, or write me a note on your order form.

3. I can't print the order form. What should I do? The order form makes it much easier for me to process your order. But don't tug all your hair out if it's just not working. What I really require is your mailing address, number of copies and method of payment. Unfortunately, Blogger software doesn't support pdf's, so I had to post the flyer and order form as jpg's.
4. Can I pay by PayPal? Unfortunately, I'm not set up for PayPal.

5. How can I pay? Canadian customers, cheque or money order. US customers, USPS International Money Order. International customers, please email me for total cost including shipping. If these options don't work for you, email me and we'll try to work something out.
6. Do I pay extra for shipping? No. Prices shown on my blog include free shipping.

7. What about the impending Canada Post mail strike? I've suspended outbound deliveries. I'm holding the packaged books until the strike is settled. I don't like the idea of customers' books being lost/misplaced while Canada Post gets its internal house in order. The moment the strike is settles, the copies will go out. I am still receiving orders and packaging them.

8. Can I buy the book at my Local Hobby Shop? So far, I'm handling individual customer orders, and that is keeping me very busy. If you're a customer of an LHS near you, and you'd like them to have the book in stock, simply ask them email me at the above email address - this will likely happen before I contact them. I am offering reasonable dealer terms.

(OK, that's only eight questions, so here are two more of my own.)

9. Is this book affordable and is there value for the money? I believe so, and I trust you will too. I've been committed to making it affordable. No hidden charges, no fluff, no pesky handling fees, and tons of content. I like to call the book "data-dense". I welcome your feedback once you've seen the book - I'll be posting feedback on this blog in the sidebar.

10. Where can I get more pictures like the ones in the book? As always, stop by my other blog, http://tracksidetreasure.blogspot.com/ for a never-ending parade of posts and a plethora of photographs of CN, CP, VIA, and just about anything else on the Canadian railway scene.

Interestingly, no-one has asked too many questions about the content of the book. This may be due to customers reading this blog over the last seven months, and following the process as the book came together. It could also be due to the dearth of information on VIA elsewhere, especially over the entire life of VIA Rail Canada as an entity separate from CN and CP, leading to some pent-up demand for more data and information than is currently available. Regardless of this, I'm pleasantly surprised with the demand so far, and I humbly thank you all, both those who have expressed interest as well as those who have already ordered. Highball!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Now Available

Trackside with VIA: The First 35 Years. I'm pleased to announce that this book, seven months in the making, is now available. This was a very enjoyable project to work on, and I trust it will be of use to VIA enthusiasts everywhere. Please see ordering information in the right sidebar.

Above you'll see colour scans of the front and rear covers. Below are three low-resolution scans of sample pages to give you an idea of what the inside of the book is like. Each era of VIA that I profile leads off with a description of VIA operations, equipment and a description of some of the trains I observed, plus some representative photos I took during that era. Here is one such page, which is from the 1996-2000 era, during which HEP2 cars were in service, and Rens were on the horizon. Click to enlarge:
This page is from the first era in the book, which some have called the transition era. This page represents the first runs I observed of the Canadian on the Kingston Sub. Each era has corresponding tabs in the margin. These consists are all original, previously-unpublished material. Click to enlarge:
One more scanned page - this is from a description of some of the trips I was able to take on VIA, again with some representative photos. Also included in this section are consists of trains I rode and observed, iterations (routings) of the Canadian and Super Continental, followed by rosters and paint transition data. Lots of information here to round out the book! Click to enlarge:
I'm excited to be able to share these sample pages of the book with you. I hope that you like what you see. It's self-published, but professionally-printed, and it's unlike any other book you've ever seen. I'm always interested in any feedback or suggestions you might have. I'll add it to the sidebar at right. Please email me with any questions you may have about the book or ordering: mile179kingston@yahoo.ca

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Order Form

Click to enlarge:
This order form can be saved and printed from you computer. It's optional - if you'd prefer not to print the form, please include the information from the form with your payment.


Here's a flyer with more information on my book. This flyer can be saved to your computer, sent to a friend or family member, or printed. Click to enlarge:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ready for Departure

Just got word this morning about a delivery to be made later today! If all goes as planned, the Victoria Day weekend will include some announcements to be made on this blog, on Trackside Treasure and on Yahoogroups.

Like the Canadian at Calgary in November 1980 (above) - VIA unit removed for servicing, CP units ready to head west. Highball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thanks to Jason

I thought it would be cool to have a foreword written by someone else. Now, who to ask? Someone knowledgeable about VIA. Someone who is perhaps the uberVIAphile of VIAphiles, the Dalai Lama of the LRC, the Renaissance Man. Someone who's done much to promote accurate modelling and the history of VIA. Who else but one Jason Shron, President of Rapido Trains Inc.

Jason graciously agreed to write the foreword. Now, a foreword precedes everything else in a book, i.e. beFORE the WORD. But I asked Jason to write his before the book was completed, because I was trying to be proactive, and because I know Jason is an international businessman, who's just as likely to be jetting off to check production of Rapido's fine products in China as he is to be taking a day-trip with his family to Cobourg or somewhere else in VIA's Corridor. So he hadn't actually seen the words.

I really appreciated Jason's contribution, and it's given pride-of-place in the book...Page 1. Like my book, Jason's foreword covers the gamut of VIA's operations, history and equipment succintly, and it's a great lead-in to what follows. You know, kinda like a Rapido "Oh, So Steamy SGU" leading off the head-end of a VIA train.

Highball, Jason!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's it Worth?

What's it worth to be in the open Dutch door of the Canadian, enjoying the fall colours and the blue and silver consist forward to the power and rearward to the Park car? Priceless.

I've had as many book-related questions about price as I have about content. I've committed to keeping it affordable from the project's inception last October, and I believe I've kept that commitment.

Now that printing and postage costs have been finalized, the price will be:

$25 to Canadian addresses (shipping included)
$29 to US addresses (shipping included)

International customers, please email for price including shipping to your country.

If you order this book (watch for the green blog background - it should be happening soon) I trust that the cost-to-contents ratio equals value to you.

Update: I just received the final proof copy today, including the extra photos. I'm very pleased with the result and trust you will be too.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cover and more photos

As part of the final proof, here's a cover shot. In addition, I selected 15 more photos to add. As I've already written, this is not a picture book. But the photos have reproduced so well that I thought it would be great to include some more.

Whatever magic Bryan is able to work with these photos, they cover the entire gamut of VIA operations, and they really add to the information presented in the book.

I'll be announcing pricing in the next few days. It will be affordable. Highball!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Proof, the Whole Proof.

I burned the late night oil last night. It all started with a knock on my door. It was Bryan with the proof copy that he'd just finished, and I am very pleased with the work he's done. There are a couple of minor text edits, and white space to fill with more photos. Memo to self: must include a Flexliner photo. At 2330 hours (a little earlier than the last Cavaliers, shown above in January 1990) I put the proof down for the night.

Coming in at a meaty but manageable 114 pages, the book has a good heft to it, while still keeping shipping costs reasonable. Next task is to set pricing and get some mailers ready.

As you can see in the sidebar, this project is now governed by signal indication. So the background is red - watch for it to turn green which means I have a stack of books ready for shipping. A true highball!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Going Without Knowing

This is my last post. For awhile. Waiting for my book proof to return from the printer, I'm going to indulge in the freedom that is blogging. Reflecting on this book project, I realize that like Abraham, at many stages I've been going without knowing. That is, embarking on a journey without reluctance and without questioning, trusting in the journey itself and where it might lead, like the track stretching out westward from the cab window of 6507 in 1982.

Considering content and page count, I decided to include everything and let the book take shape as it would. That resulted in 95% of all the VIA trains I've seen in 35 years being included. (Not a bad result.) I decided not to impose any self-limitation, letting the book grow organically.

The narrative of this book encapsulates my VIA experience, from trackside as well as onboard. I've included trips I made west on the Super Continental and the Canadian, perhaps self-indulgently, but also to give readers an idea what the pre-HEP Canadian experience was like.

More self-indulgence: recording all my VIA sightings together in one place. No matter where, the trains I observed as I observed them, plus additional detail so it makes sense to the reader. As I wait, I'm given to wonder where the next stage of the journey leads. We'll all find out together once the ink hits the pages. Waiting for the Highball?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

39 and Holding

Here's 6439 "third eye" holding its place at Belleville station during train 57's station stop.

Right now I'm also in a holding pattern while the book proof is finished. Like the travellers behind 6439, I'm anticipating the journey, since getting there is half the fun. Promotional material is taking shape, and I'm anticipating doing everything I can to get this book into readers' hands.

I'm receiving lots of inquiries about when and where. Answers: soon and here. I will be permanently posting ordering information in the sidebar as soon as I have it. I'll also include this information in a post.

While you're waiting, peruse the hopefully humorous information I've added to the sidebar. Thanks to those who've contributed comments, even my wife. Patience - while waiting for the inevitable...HIGHBALL!