by Craig Stark

27 April 2009

I Taught Amelia to Fly

For somebody who ditched a plane over 70 years ago, there's remarkably steadfast interest in Amelia Earhart. And not near as much interest in Neta Snook Southern, who was indeed Earhart's first flight instructor and was in her own right a pioneer aviatrix of the first order. This self-published book, I Taught Amelia to Fly, is her autobiography, and I suspect she suffered writer's cramp back in the 70s - just about every copy you come across is signed.

In each QMR Book of the Month I try to use the featured book as an illustration of a broader bookselling principle. The principle in this instance is that self-published or vanity publications always deserve a second glance, even though it's understood that many of them have been previously rejected by one or more publishers. It takes only a moment or too to investigate them - and your approach is much more efficient if you assume that they're valueless until you're convinced otherwise. Bad poetry, for example, is identified as bad often by the end of the first few lines of the first poem. Similarly, a single paragraph can flag a bad writer, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. But don't forget that content, textual and or illustrative, can sometimes trump writing quality, especially if it fits squarely into a collectible field - in this case, aviation history and what remains to this day an intense interest in Amelia Earhart. It's $50 and up all day.

You'll see 100 profit-producing books like this every 3 months in BookThink's Quarterly Market Report of Common, Profitable Books, each one presented in a clear format with bibliographic essentials and links to photos. Here is the actual entry for I Taught Amelia to Fly, #84 in QMR, issue #6:

AUTHOR: Neta Snook Southern
PLACE: New York
IMPRINT: Vantage Press
ISBN or LCCN: 0533011612
ISBN-13: 978-0533011612
BINDING: Hardcover

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