Lou Holtz


As you are aware I write books about Kansas History. The process of finding subjects that are not well known or almost forgotten is a very interesting process for me. And then writing the story by taking a lot of bits and pieces and create a story that is my own is a challenge. That is because there sometimes are few ways to tell the story in a different form than some of stories before. I also have the publisher telling me that my stories read like a Wikipedia story. Well they do have a format that is readable.

I want my readers to get the information and enjoy the process. But the world of publishing is a real attitude changer. So I have to be on my guard to keep my attitude sharp even when I am getting bogged down in frustration.

Some of my success stories end up being those that have been acquired by huge companies and so the people that I deal with are not so ready to give me all the things that I need. In fact I am really ticked at the big companies that you cannot get a live person to talk to. Computerized phone systems are a bane to the writer that is trying to find out information, get a photograph, or just the person that I need to talk to. I generally do not know who I have to put in the extension number for. And sometimes the 0 does not mean operator anymore.

These companies also are very suspicious because the media has everyone doubting that what you are doing is really legitimate. They are always on the look out for someone who wants to do a derogatory story about the company.

After several days of trying to get someone to reply to my questions I have to be on my guard to always be nice and get the request through the hesitation. How many people actually write about their company? That is why I am doing it. The stories are close to being lost.

My patience has been tried lately because I have to submit the rough draft so the person that I am dealing with can explain to corporate what I am doing. This has been very irritating but I have gotten some facts corrected that I did not get through my original research. I made a mistake on my last book and I feel terrible. That bad information was from sources that put the wrong information out in the first place and families are very hard to get in touch with to verify facts when the subject was famous and is dead.

So I have changed my attitude considering that an embarrassing mistake was avoided. That still does not make me happy with sloppy journalism that seems to be the order of today.

I call myself a Historian not because I have a sheep skin on my wall but on the fact that a historian who did, told me never to not consider myself to be one. I try to find all the facts and never try to create a story that is politically correct. And those credentialed historians who insist on trying to change history, I believe, that they should turn in their sheep skin and get a job that does not try to put politics into a historical revisionist mode.

No matter what you do the attitude determines if you do a good job of it.

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