Sorting through some boxes the other day I rediscovered a full box of my Wisconsin’s Military And Civil Medals And Decorations book which I published back in 1987. Those truly were “the good old days” when Chet Krause ran the company with a velvet gloved iron hand. Most of the editorial staff back then were actively involved in the hobby fields that they were publishing in and the company was very concerned about potential problems with conflicts of interest. Established collectors as we all know are always buying and selling and being in a hobby publishing company we often found out about things before most of our readers did. Many of us just quietly ignored the rules and discretely went about our collecting ways. I had been at KP for ten years by then; had learned the basics of book publishing and had always wanted to do a book about Wisconsin Military Medals. I had also just gotten engaged that year which increased the value of my job to me. On the other hand I always found that authority encroaching on my rights felt quite chafing. What could I do? Well first of all Chet was the ultimate collector in my book. He has a Wisconsin Paper Money collection that defies comprehension. He had token collections which were probably second to none, many military vehicles including his own Sherman tank plus a vast knowledge of local, state and military history. Surely he would jump at my idea of a Wisc. Military Medals book.
Taking no chances and protecting my independence I wrote out a scratch copy of the book in long hand and had my medals privately photographed at my expense. Then I walked in to Chet’s office, told him that I was writing a book on Wisconsin Military Medals and asked him if he would be interested in publishing it. If he was not interested I told him that any advice would be appreciated. Thirty days later with no reply from Chet, I took the book to my friend and former KP co-worker, Joe Jones of Jones Publishing. I paid to have one of his staff do the type setting and Joe kindly let me use his equipment after hours to do the page layouts. Dave Heise designed the front cover and Joe made the arrangements with the printer for me. One month later I was able to present Chet with an inscribed copy.
The book is illustrated below. If you want a copy go to: http://www.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=2611076
It didn’t get me fired but I hope it will inspire some of you to consider publishing your own books.