Business name: Foster Travel Publishing at www.fostertravel.com
Book Title(s): I have 19 books on my Amazon Author Page. My three recent favorites are Minnesota Boy: Growing Up in Mid-America, Mid-20th Century, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, and Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time.
Social Media Links: I am active on four social media beyond my own blog. They are:
How did you come to do what you’re doing today? I grew up in Minnesota, did a Great Books program at Notre Dame, and came out to Stanford University with a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to do a PhD and teach Literature in the University. However, at the end of my studies, I published two literary books and decided on a life of creating my own books rather than teaching. My first book, from 1970, a memoir of growing up in Minnesota, has recently been republished as Minnesota Boy: Growing Up in Mid-America, Mid-20th Century.
Can you describe a typical day in your life? I live a quiet life in my condo in Berkeley. I get up each morning, eager to start the day. I am active from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., but my day is never strenuous. I get an hour of exercise in every day. I have terrific nutrition, anchored by a spinach salad at lunch. I drink chilled Chardonnay. My day is joyful. When I am not “in the office” at my condo, I am “in the field” doing my travel research.
What do you most enjoy about what you do? I like the “control” over my books that my new “indie” (independent publishing) trajectory allows. I am not now limited by my “traditional” publishing partners, though I have had 16 “successful” traditional books. For example, one of my traditional publishers said of one of my past books, “We like it as a printed book only. We don’t want to bring it out as an ebook.” I am not limited now by what I consider neanderthal thinking.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? Socrates helped me by suggesting that I ask each day, “Who am I?” Job guided me when he alerted me that things don’t always go well and lamented, “Why does this bad stuff happen to me?” Ben Franklin delighted me, an agnostic, when he said, “Wine is proof that God loves us.”
What is your latest book about? I have been known for my travel guidebooks. My latest major work in this area is Northern California Travel: The Best Options. I am always a bit restless and asking questions, such as “What is a book?” so this is a conventional print-on-demand book and an ebook. But it is also a “book as a website,” with the 30 chapters as 30 articles. The website book may become its most viable form in the long run.
What inspired you to write your book? I love getting out in Nature. I love Human Culture. Northern California is an inexhaustible subject for me. I have been watching the territory for a few decades. The more I have seen the outside world, the more I love being here in Northern California, based in Berkeley.
Can you describe your writing process? I write and then I refine. I do an original capture of a subject with my notes and with my camera. It all comes together in articles and books, such as my Northern California Travel book. Then I may get a major assignment to “re-work” the material. For example, Answers.com recent hired me as their San Francisco Expert and I have done 80 short articles for them. See this on Answers.com.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? I have just had my first book translated into Chinese and released in China. That is my Northern California Travel. You can see that I have 10 five-star reviews now on Amazon China for the book. Good things may happen. In addition, they are translating my travel literary book Travels in an American Imagination. We must continue to adapt our books to the language and forms that real live people want to purchase. For example, my Travels in an American Imagination is also out now as an audiobook, opening an entirely new audience.
What’s next for you? I’ve been participating in the “indie” publishing revolution for about a decade and have decided to do a book on indie publishing. It will be out by July 1, titled An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Life as a non-fiction author is not an easy life. An author must cultivate a resilient attitude. As an author, you are a digital athlete in life-long training. Good things will happen if you persist. For example, I have a travel app called San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide. One day someone at Apple managing the iTunes App Store decided to declare my app a Staff Favorite. Suddenly, a thousand apps sold, and I earned $1 per app or $1,000. Good things will happen for the non-fiction author with a steady long-term vision, enthusiasm, and ongoing attention to promotion.