A quick question

Is this side of the forums for fiction writers or are there any history buffs that would be willing to take look at bits and pieces of my book for feedback?

 

Here's a cut and paste of the preface to give you an idea as to what my book will be about -

 

"Books have been written about the various facets of the electric utility industry (power plants, transmission lines, etc.) and about the three investor-owned utilities serving North Dakota, but this book hopes to provide a glimpse into the past when almost every town had its own light plant. Also, the timelines of some earlier ‘high-line’ companies that became the foundation of the electric utility ‘grid’ in North Dakota today will also be documented in this book.

 

The author has had a lifelong fascination with electricity and power lines, going back to his childhood days attending school in Devils Lake and Minot. This interest eventually led to a collection of old insulators from power and communications lines. Later on, the author also became interested in taking pictures of old or interesting power lines. A chance conversation with a fellow insulator collector (the late Mike Parker) about one picture led to some ongoing discussion of various power companies, first focusing on their construction standards, and eventually focusing on their history, and this conversation continued until his passing in 2012.

 

The author was soon inspired to research the power companies serving North Dakota, initially focusing on Otter Tail Power Co., since they have the largest service area of all the present-day electric utilities in the state. As research continued on piecing together the timelines for the various towns on Otter Tail Power’s system, information on the towns served by the other two investor-owned utilities was accumulated and, later still, on towns served by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives.

 

However, this book does not cover every single town in North Dakota. All of the towns served by the three investor-owned utilities are included and so are those served by municipal utilities. When it came to the towns currently served by electric cooperatives, it became necessary to develop some criteria for inclusion in order to keep the town list to a manageable size." (470+ towns - from Abercrombie to Zeeland)

 

And a sample town history - 

 

"Egeland (founded 1905) / Otter Tail Power

Peter Filskov owned the local McCormick-Deering implement dealership, and in August 1918, he was granted a franchise to install a light plant. The Egeland Light, Heat, & Power Co. DC light plant was installed in a garage at his dealership. The plant ran from dusk to 11:30 PM and Monday and Wednesday mornings for laundry, and used a special clock to shut down the plant automatically at the end of the day. The residents petitioned the North Dakota Board of Railroad Commissioners in February 1925 to have Filskov run the plant 18 or even 24 hours.

 

After an investigation, the railroad commission ordered the plant to run from 6 AM to midnight, set the rate at 25 cents per kWh, and directed that the generators be repaired so they could run in tandem. Otter Tail Power Co. bought the plant in January 1927 and continued operating it until their transmission line through the area was completed in late summer. The distribution system was then converted to AC and connected to the system in September."

 

I don't have a preview ready of the book yet, as I am heading back up to North Dakota for another research trip later this month to hopefully find more information to finalize as many of the town histories before drawing a line and preparing to publish what I have.

 

Comments

  • I am not sure what you want comments about.  They would have to be exceptionally specific subject history buffs!

     

     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    I believe that non-fiction is also welcome here -- we've discussed some of Jean-Paul's books on Chinese history and the languages of South East Asia, so why not?

     

    With that in mind, might I make some suggestions?

     

    "Books have been written about the various facets of the electric utility industry (power plants, transmission lines, etc.) and about the three investor-owned utilities serving North Dakota, but this book hopes to provide a glimpse into the past when almost every town had its own light plant. Also, the timelines of some earlier ‘high-line’ companies that became the foundation of the electric utility ‘grid’ in North Dakota today will also be documented in this book.

     

    The author has had a lifelong fascination with electricity and power lines, going back to his childhood days attending school in Devils Lake and Minot. This interest eventually led to a collection of old insulators from power and communications lines. Later on, the author also became interested in taking pictures of old or interesting power lines. A chance conversation with a fellow insulator collector (the late Mike Parker) about one picture led to some ongoing discussion of various power companies, first focusing on their construction standards, and eventually focusing on their history, and this conversation continued until his passing in 2012.

     

    I might instead suggest a more streamlined and generalized approach:

     

    "Books have been written about the various facets of the electric utility industry (power plants, transmission lines, etc.) and about the three investor-owned utilities serving North Dakota, but this book hopes to provide a glimpse into the past when almost every town had its own light plant. Also, the timelines of some earlier ‘high-line’ companies that became the foundation of the electric utility ‘grid’ in North Dakota today will also be documented in this book.

     

    The author has had a lifelong fascination with electricity and power lines, going back to since his childhood days attending school in Devils Lake and Minot. This interest eventually led to a collection of old insulators from power and communications lines. Later on, the author also became interested in  and taking pictures of old or interesting power lines. A chance conversation with a fellow insulator collector (the late Mike Parker) about one picture led to some ongoing discussion of various power companies, first focusing on their construction standards, and eventually focusing on their history, and this conversation continued until his passing in 2012. book is a continuation of that discussion.

     

    I offer this as constructive criticism: It is my opinion, for what that's worth, and is intended as a mirror for the improvement of your work, and not as a slight agaisnt it.

     

    First, that books have been written on a related topic has no bearing on this topic. Start with what this book is about. Also, I removed a redundant mention of North Dakota, and a redundant "Also."

     

    Second, the author's fascination with the subject, leading to this book, can be tightened up considerably.

     

    Finally, and this is a likely to lead to objections, I removed Mike Parker at this point. Yes, he was important to how this book came to be, but the place to discuss that is in the chapters proper, and not in the blurb / intro. I would encourage you to mention Mike Parker, and to even focus on his role in this discussion -- to make him a character in the story, to some extent -- but it is important to remember that the book is not about Mike Parker; it is about the history of the power utilities if North Dakota.

     

    No disrespect to Mr. Parker, may he rest in peace.

     

    If I were writing this book, that's the approach I would take. Tighten the loose prose, and streamline the meandering sentences.

     

    These parts, as written, are already very good. You have a proper command of the language, and you know what you want to say. My suggestions are intended to answer the question, "How can this pretty-good book be made great?"

     

    And they are only my opinions, not necessarily objective fact.

     

    I hope that helps.


  • NDLineGeek a écrit :

     

    Books have been written about the various facets of the electric utility industry (power plants, transmission lines, etc.) and about the three investor-owned utilities serving North Dakota, but this book hopes to provide a glimpse into the past when almost every town had its own light plant. Also, the timelines of some earlier ‘high-line’ companies that became the foundation of the electric utility ‘grid’ in North Dakota today will also be documented in this book.


    A history of power utilities in a given state will certainly interest historians as they are curious to know how the system evolved from many small local stations to the current big ones. The history of the United States of America is basically that of the relationships between communities and municipality, town and state legislature, state and federal power. Also I suppose you'll describe how the evolution of technology has helped pass from the local solution to the state one. Who controls power controls the economy to a great extent.

    Lulu is perfectly equipped to publish your book.

  • potejp - thank you for your comments and yes, the book will also have a 'condensed' timeline of the industry from Morse's telegraph to the 1970s.

     

    skoob_ym - I do have a bit of a tendency to meander in my writing so your input is appreciated. I do have two other places in the front matter where Mike gets a mention (the acknowledgements page and also a photo page that follows the preface), so I don't see it as too big a slight to remove him from that paragraph.

     

    And kevin - it may be a very 'niche' subject and probably more suited to an academic paper, but a couple staff members at the state historical society said there hadn't been that much thought given to this aspect of the state's history, and said there probably would be some interest in my book.


  • NDLineGeek a écrit :

    a couple staff members at the state historical society said there hadn't been that much thought given to this aspect of the state's history, and said there probably would be some interest in my book.


    Of course, they would. Once published, your book can't be ignored by the state historical society.

  • I believe that non-fiction is also welcome here

     

    No one said it was not, but that's very tight niche, and I wondered if he wanted comment on the content or on how it's written.

  • And kevin - it may be a very 'niche' subject and probably more suited to an academic paper, but a couple staff members at the state historical society said there hadn't been that much thought given to this aspect of the state's history, and said there probably would be some interest in my book.

     

    I have no doubt there will be, in certain small groups of people. I can see it perhaps stocked in schools and libraries for course work research, but not reaching number 1 in sales  Smiley Happy I would suggest that if it's a unique and very well researched book, it's of the type a high price can be asked for.

  • I do not understand What can teach me

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