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Auzzee 08-31-2012 08:07 AM

Reading material.
I have often been misled by the jacket notes on books dealing with sailing and cruising. "One couple's delightful adventure tackling the elements. A humourous, yet poignant trip through life with many twists and turns....."etc

Most of these cruising tales are of the we-went-here-and-did-this, then-we-went-there-and-did-that, and-we're-brilliant, genre. They are embellished log books written to make a few dollars. There are exceptions, but most are generally poorly written and dull and the only reason why many are read, is because we can't believe they are that bad, and therefore expect they must get better.

But, I continue to get conned.

Today I was following a link and it took me to a $2.99 book which I could download to my Kindle and it is entitled '25 Things Every Sailor Needs (and why)'.

Now, I'm a sailor and when I am told that one circumnavigating Lance Gettler has written this book for me, I look at the price and think...why not?

Well, here's why not.
First it isn't as it is described, a book. It is a simple list. A total of about 2100 words, which is about three and a half standard pages of a Hal Roth sailing book.

I read it in just less than 3 minutes.

Okay, lets look at the content. I will reprint a little from the comment I left on Mr Gettler's website:
"A more well developed list could probably have been prepared by any 12 year old Girl Guide or Scout, and if this is an indication of your sailing worth, I can only surmise that you are a fraud".

I shall leave it at that except to say, don't waste your money on this tripe.

gts1544 08-31-2012 09:49 AM

You've got to get over sugar coating things and tell us how you really feel!

Seriously, again I probably shouldn't encourage you, but I thoroughly enjoy your posts.

Auzzee 08-31-2012 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by gts1544 (Post 35163)
You've got to get over sugar coating things and tell us how you really feel!

Yeah..I know I sometimes come over as wishy-washy. I'l try to be a little more definite;)

Auzzee 08-31-2012 11:29 AM

On another front, I have just received my copy of the latest Cruising World magazine from the US. I'm not sure when it was published, but when it arrives here by elephant, I guess it has been on the shelves in the civilised world for a week or so.

If you take a gander at page 18, you will see my lead letter under the title 'On Mind-Blowing Happiness'. You would think that after a lifetime of professional journalism, I would be immune to the by-lines. But, each time something of mine is published, I still get a kick out of it.

When it impresses the likes of Fatty Goodlander and the editorial staff at CW, it's even better.

Happy, happy, happy!

The Sailing Podcast 09-01-2012 09:15 PM

The Kindle market is hot at the moment as people look to make money from ebooks. If you are a writer then you should look at writing for Amazon. Good resources at Smashwords — Ebooks from independent authors and publishers and eBooks The Smart Way, by Pat Flynn.

Lance Gettler 09-30-2012 04:59 PM


I'd like to thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately this is one of those situations where you ended up with a book that was well below your level of expertise and not intended for you. As the title implies, it is a list of 25 things every sailor needs. Someone with your expertise undoubtedly knows 25 basic items every sailor needs. The book was aimed toward the newbie sailor looking for a starting point & I'll concede that it wasn't the greatest thing I've ever written, but fills a specific need.

I would like to clarify a few things - and speak to your labeling me a fraud and calling into doubt my seamanship & worth.

1. You didn't pay $2.99 for the book; it is priced at $0.99 of which I get a 1/3. I'm certainly not getting rich off of it. It is a little longer than you stated but that's splitting hairs, and I'm curious exactly what type of novel you think you're going to buy online for less than a dollar, or given that you’re a writer, how much you publish for $1.
2. I'll be glad to offer you a refund (though I suspect you're the single refund I had last month). I'd also be glad to offer you a free copy of any of my other books. I suspect my book of Q&A's about sailing around the world in 13 months, 2 handed, onboard a 41' ketch, which includes 90 pictures, would be more your speed. If not, perhaps I can send you my book about a 55 day non-stop passage my brother and I did from Auckland to Seattle last year aboard a 40' sloop? Admittedly that one is a bit of a glorified log book with a bunch of pictures. Oddly enough, that is the sort of thing I get asked for the most.
3. I run my blog website myself but can't seem to find your having commented there. It's in case you went to the wrong site. Before you bash me for my nickname – believe me, the name was given tongue–in-cheek and not as a proclamation of my ability. I became known by the name because I'm from Iowa, and had never sailed before buying a boat (sight unseen over the internet 11 years ago) and then setting off on a circumnavigation with my brother. Neither of us had ever sailed more than 35 miles before leaving, hence people calling me De Captain tongue-in-cheek. Feel free to bash me on that point. I deserve it. We weren't qualified to sail around the world and really had no business doing it.

Given that any 12 year old girl scout could prepare a better list, I'd be very curious to see your list of 25 things you'd recommend a new sailor to have which would differ from mine. I've never sailed with other captains. I'm an entirely self-taught sailor from Iowa so it is entirely possible that I'm taking the wrong basic items with me. I am willing to learn.

I will agree that if you’re an experienced sailor, you shouldn't waste your money on my “tripe”. If you’re not and you’re looking to go sailing and don't know what you should pack, then maybe.

As for calling into question my seamanship and calling me a fraud all I can say is:

I've circumnavigated 2 handed in 13 months aboard a 41' ketch;

I've lived aboard in the Caribbean for 11 years, worked on multiple boats, sport-fished professionally, refit and delivered many boats around the Caribbean;

I've got over 40k nm offshore as captain, including 3 Pacific crossings. I've got multiple >5k nm >50 day non-stop passages as captain including 6200nm non-stop from Auckland to Seattle, in winter;

I've never gotten anybody killed, never had anyone injured aboard a boat I was on, never damaged another boat, had any run-ins or problems that I couldn’t overcome.

Feel free to think what you want about my seamanship and ability as a sailor. I'll be the first to admit I've never had any training & I don't know what I'm doing.

Oh – and I drink way too much.

FWIW I see you're going to be in Mexico soon. I'll be flying into Puerto Vallarta to move a custom Bieker 55' racer/cruiser to San Francisco in two weeks. If you're in the area, all the booze you can drink is on me.

Auzzee 10-01-2012 03:18 AM

In my critique of your written work I had a couple of issues. First it was directed at sailors. Second it was being promoted as a book. Perhaps if it had been directed toward prospective sailors as a handy leaflet it may have been a more honest sell. Indeed I did pay the advertised price of $2.99.

To be fair, I said "If this is an indication of your sailing worth, I can only surmise you are a fraud". That was a qualified statement. Indeed, it appears you have significant experience so I modify my statement to say that it is obviously not an indication of your sailing worth. Still, as a 'book', touted as being essential reading for all sailors I feel it does your public reputation no great favours.

It remains a very expensive leaflet with little to recommend it to sailors.

However, if our paths cross in Mexico as I hope they do, I will pay for the food, you pay for the booze and we can together spend time observing the local talent.

Best wishes.

Lance Gettler 10-04-2012 02:55 AM


Originally Posted by Auzzee (Post 35673)
Indeed I did pay the advertised price of $2.99.

I scanned the sales reports from Amazon for all of my books for the last 6 months and no books were sold for $2.99.

I've double checked the advertised price on and the advertised price is $0.99. I also checked all of their foreign stores and when the currency is converted the advertised price on all sites is within a few cents of $0.99.

Exasperated I emailed Amazon's kindle department and got this reply:

Hello Lance,

I can confirm, that your title "25 Things Every Sailor Needs (and why)" is offered for $0.99 on

If your customer is browsing in the Kindle Store from a location outside of the United States, he may see a price higher than what you listed on the KDP website.

All items available in the Kindle Store are listed in U.S. dollars (USD). The availability and pricing of titles in global Kindle Stores may vary by home country or region, including taxes and other operating costs.

I hope this information helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


Kindle Direct Publishing

Everyone else can rest assured that if they'd like to read about things every sailor needs they can do so for less than a dollar.

Auzzee 10-04-2012 03:42 AM

Rest assured, your pamphlet is still being advertised at $2.99 as I type this response. Cruiser Log is a global site, Amazon is a global entity..the US is not the world! I bear you no malice but still suggest that in the small part of the world where it is available for 99 cents, it is still vastly overpriced.

If anyone doubts my original critique, they can purchase the 'book' and post their own impressions. Take a gander at the following link giving the price and the date of purchase.

mausgras 10-05-2012 11:50 PM

Without taking sides in your earlier discourse I am getting very pee'd off with price gouging by Amazon.

1. Why do kindle versions cost nearly as much as the print version when there are no printing costs
2. Why is there a price differential between countries? There is no import duty on electrons that I am aware of?

Auzzee 10-06-2012 11:52 AM

I agree. While I am a total fan of the whole Kindle set up, I find the 'delivery cost' would not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the download. Computers don't recognise distance and while different carriers may charge extras for 3G delivery, it would still seem difficult to justify the cost.

The cost of printing is hideous. The effort in sub editing printed work is substantial. The cost of digital editions is far less and the sub editing is often very poor indeed.

SCUBAKiwi 10-07-2012 01:47 PM

From China, "No pricing information available"

Endurance 10-07-2012 09:17 PM

Auzzee, are you and Lance engaged in some form of marketing ploy here, because now I want to see if this is tripe or not!

On a serious note, when is this drink, food and talent-watching party occurring? Much more important stuff........

One of the most talented soccer players ever, George Best, was asked what he had spent his money on.......the reply was something like "drink, fast-living and bad women........the rest I just wasted". Sadly, he did drink himself to death at a young age.


Lance Gettler 10-08-2012 02:42 AM


Originally Posted by mausgras (Post 35753)
1. Why do kindle versions cost nearly as much as the print version when there are no printing costs
2. Why is there a price differential between countries? There is no import duty on electrons that I am aware of?

Good questions and I'm trying to get further clarification from Amazon. I'm not very happy with them if I set the price of something at $0.99 and they are selling it for 3x that much without my knowledge. I'm awaiting further clarification from them.

Here are a few things I have learned over the past year of publishing with them:

Specifically they have 6 different stores. They have their .com,, .de, .fr, .es, and .it stores each catering to different regions. Amazon lists in your reports when and in what store any books were sold.

I've checked prices on each of these different amazon sites in the past and they are always within a few pennies of the price on the .com store. Given this information I assumed that the .com store has the same price regardless of where you view it. Amazon has recently specified that India is part of their .com store (same pricing) but says nothing about pricing in Asia.

With regard to their pricing I can understand that they have the same transaction cost whether a book is digital or dead tree so there is really no difference to them in that respect.

They have spent a lot of money getting the whole system setup, allowing free downloads and subsidizing some of the device cost (at least initially) to get the whole thing going.

One thing I found interesting which most people probably don't know, unless you've published on kindle, is that Amazon charges the author a "delivery fee" which is directly related to the size of your book (This doesn't apply for $0.99 books). The longer your book & more pictures you include the higher the fee. They also limit the file size and I've had to cut photos from a book before because a book had too many ( had to cut it back to about 90 pictures) and what I pay for the delivery fee is a sizable chunk of the royalty.

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