Last summer, Gary Storck reached out to me for help with publishing his book. He had a huge manuscript and had accumulated so much research and data on the ever-changing cannabis laws, he decided it was time to publish his knowledge into a book. Working together we were able to get Gary’s manuscript The Rise and Fall of Cannabis Prohibition in Wisconsin up and published in about three months.
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Interview with Gary Storck
GP: What made you want to write a book? Did you want to write from the time you were young or was it specific mission or project that inspired you to write and publish your first book?
Gary Storck: I have been writing since my youth and doing a book has been a long-term goal for many years. I took some creative writing classes in high school and college and soon moved up to research papers. A paper I wrote on early breweries in Waukesha County was published in the County Historical Society newsletter in 1984.
What really ignited my passion for writing was my advocacy for medical cannabis. After my first medical cannabis Letter to the Editor was published in 1997, I honed my writing skills writing hundreds and hundreds more letters and op-eds to media in Wisconsin and all over the country.
I first started thinking about writing a book about cannabis in the mid 2000s. After years of working on various drafts, I decided to approach it as a timeline, incorporating research I’d done over the years along with content I’d created. I wanted to get this information out there both as a resource and a historical record. I did not want these stories and people to disappear into the memory hole.
GP: What did you find to be the toughest part about just finishing the manuscript?
GS: Taking the vast pile of research and data I had done and condensing it into the manuscript. Cannabis is a broad topic that can easily go off in multiple directions, and I had a big story to tell.
GP: What would you say were one or two of the biggest things you learned when you came to me for help? Had you done research already into self-publishing?
GS: By the time I talked to you I had looked at self-publishing. Doing it all myself required a big learning curve. I had also sent a proposal to a publisher. My goal at that point was the quickest path to getting it published. Were I to do it over, I would have made this decision earlier in the game.
GP: Now that you have a system set up to publish, do you think having that will inspire you to write and publish any more books?
GS: I definitely have several projects in mind, both written and as a photobook. There are a number of topics related to my first book that I could go into more detail with. I have a large collection of photos extending beyond the cannabis issue and it would be fun to create some photobooks.
GP: What has been the biggest challenge in sales and marketing?
GS: Getting the word out has been tougher than I expected. While I thought releasing the book before the holidays might be a boon for sales, I think it may have instead detracted from it. Another factor may be the target audience likes their cannabis info in smaller bites than a 388-page book. Some may not see the history as not that important, but I think the better informed those who advocate are, the more successful those efforts will be.
GP: What is the best part about being a published author?
GS: It’s a real feeling of accomplishment. While I’ve had letters and op-eds published, a book is something you can hold onto. People, some no longer with us, have been urging me to write a book on cannabis and Wisconsin, and it feels good to have it in print. I overcame a lot of obstacles in pulling this together, including working around a number of fairly serious health issues.