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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I'm in the process of compiling an e-book/book on CD from various experienced modelers about model railroading and am curious to know what you'd like to know.

What's the biggest challenge or roadblock you've faced in your layout designs, train detailing/building/repair, or finding the right cars/engines/scaled accessory pieces?

What would be the single most useful piece of information you need to become better at model railroading?

This book is an open slate right now with no set theme or outline, so I'm looking for direction from those who really know what they're talking about with regards to model railroading. I'm looking forward to your input here:

http://members.flycatchergenerator.c...ey.php?nid=208

Thank you, in advance!
 

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hello Bill Zimmerman,
i don't have a habit of filling my email on random forms on the web so my replay will go here. this way it will also be possible to discuss it.

among other topics, i would like to see the following:

1. Room.
in RR modeling room is a premium and i see lots of modelers not utilizing it in most rational way. then again i see work of Russian modelers (who are times and times more limited in space then us. ) who show ingenius solutions of compact, retractable yet full featured layouts and workspaces.
this chapter will explain how to scope opportunity for layout location and how to make it least disturbing to those who live with you.

2. track schema
many, especially beginning modelers, fail to create feasible track schema which results in funds spent on unneded items, boredom and eventualy abandoned project.
chapter will demonstrate concepts of creating schema for realistic operation within limitations of layout area that is allocated to the project. it also can contain trackwork rules explaining such consepts as grade and lurch limitations.

i could go on but i highly doubt book titled "7 secrets..." (whatever subject) can be taken seriously. there are no secrets. there are however concepts. and then why only 7 and not 17, 27 or more advices? you focusing on exact number of concepts will result not in comprehensive guide but cheap cosmopolitan style publication ala "the 7 things you didn't know about dating" and other pulp of 0 value. i see no need in yet another "difference between gage and scale" book in which author treats his reader as if he is an idiot.

there is however a need in comprehensive reference book. while the best publication so far - Track Planning for realistic Operation could definitely be expanded i do not see book with title "7 secrets..." coming anywhere close to this need. Serious book takes serious effort and a lot researching to put together. You saying "Should be ready in a few weeks" means you pretty much going to throw some (7 to be exact) facts together and hope unsuspecting sob will bite.

is this you BTW ??
http://www.billztreasurechest.com/
 

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7 secrets, eh?

1. Put yer wallet back in yer pocket and don't pull it out 'til you've read all 3 volumes of Robert Schliecher's "The Model Railroading Handbook" from cover to cover.

2. Do not plan one inch of track until you know at least 2 nearby modelers with several years of experience between them.

3. Please take up stamp collecting if you have little or no mechanical and electrical aptitude. A free pass is given to anyone who has successfully restarted a TYCO locomotive on their own.

4. Accept the fact that you will loose approximately 40-60% of the resale value of your equipment should you decide that this isn't the hobby for you.

5. Before you lay one twig of scenery, remind yourself over and over again, like a mantra, that the layout shots that wow you now are products of serious time, money and effort over a period of months and years---not daze and weaks.

6. Your first layout must be no larger than a standard sheet of plywood and finished before you; a) go bigger, or b) change scales.

7 You must have the full approval of you spouse and must reciprocate accordingly...i.e. spend $180 on trains means spend $180 on spouse before one spends yet another dime on said trains.

Permission is freely granted to distribute said wisdom to any and all takers...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Anton,

Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it and fully understand your hesitancy to include your feedback on an unfamiliar site. No problem at all...

As for the "7 Secrets" title, I honestly haven't decided on a title, yet (and, you're right, there's no reason to limit the number of chapters or pointers to just seven, anyway). That was one off the top of my head that I'm using for now, but very well could change.

What I didn't want to do, though, was have the proposed title steer the content in one direction or another. I honestly want to provide a book that helps answer real needs/problems and NOT just another fluff book on the difference between gages and scales (a better title would probably help avoid that misperception...). I'm not saying it will necessarily be a lengthy reference book, but it will contain useful and practical information.

So, with that said, thank you for your input. That was very helpful and much appreciated!

If you have any other comments or suggestions, I'm definitely open to hearing your input!

Thanks, again,

Bill
 

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7 secrets, eh?

1. Put yer wallet back in yer pocket and don't pull it out 'til you've read all 3 volumes of Robert Schliecher's "The Model Railroading Handbook" from cover to cover.

2. Do not plan one inch of track until you know at least 2 nearby modelers with several years of experience between them.

3. Please take up stamp collecting if you have little or no mechanical and electrical aptitude. A free pass is given to anyone who has successfully restarted a TYCO locomotive on their own.

4. Accept the fact that you will loose approximately 40-60% of the resale value of your equipment should you decide that this isn't the hobby for you.

5. Before you lay one twig of scenery, remind yourself over and over again, like a mantra, that the layout shots that wow you now are products of serious time, money and effort over a period of months and years---not daze and weaks.

6. Your first layout must be no larger than a standard sheet of plywood and finished before you; a) go bigger, or b) change scales.

7 You must have the full approval of you spouse and must reciprocate accordingly...i.e. spend $180 on trains means spend $180 on spouse before one spends yet another dime on said trains.

Permission is freely granted to distribute said wisdom to any and all takers...
Hey what's wrong with stamps?
I been collecting since I was 10 years old.
Have you ever checked out any of the train stamps?
Nothing wrong with collecting stamps, I got a ton of them.
Miniature works of art they are.:thumbsup:
One of my error sheets I paid $7.80 for is worth over $600 bucks now.:cool:
I got stamps from country's that are not even country's any more.:D

Takes up less room then all my HO and O and N too.:D
 

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Shay ... great tips ... words of wisdom ... funny, but all true!

Sgager ...

I appreciate your invitation to share some ideas, and wish you success with the compilation and book. Some misc thoughts ...

I'm a novice RR modeler ... been modeling other things (boats, etc.) most of my life, but got the train bug about a year ago and have jumped into it pretty heavily. In doing so, I was a complete naive novice ... I had to ask members here to explain why some trains / transformers are AC vs. DC. But, ask I did ... then asked some more, and asked some more. My point here is this ... I think I've learned a lot in the past year, but whatever knowledge I've amassed, it's almost entirely due to the INTERACTION and DIALOG with people like the members here on the forum. I did pick up a few books (Lionel maintenance, Lionel history, etc.) which I enjoyed, but the depth of tricks, tips, under-the-hood knowhow has been learned by doing the touchy-feely thing with gizmos (motors, frames, trucks, etc.), getting stumped along the way, then having guys here actively point me in the right direction and steer me along the way. I've found this method so enormously helpful that I'm somewhat reluctant to delve much further into the published book sector of research. Don't misinterpret that ... I'm all for reading and learning. But it's the interactive aspect of things like the forum that I've found offer more productivity for the end user (especially novice ones like me), and hence, yield more bang-for-the-buck on my end... where "buck" equals TIME INVESTMENT, rather than cash outlay.

So, that all said, if I were to steer you in any way, it would be to devote a section of the book to point RR hobbiests towards places (local clubs, national clubs, internet forums, etc.) where they can dialog with others sharing the same interest and with people who have a wide cross-section of skill levels. In regards to that last point, I think I've learned just as much from asking questions of pros here on the forum as I have trying to formulate my thoughts and understanding of a technical issue so that I, in turn, could offer a response to some new novice here on the forum. You learn both ways, so to speak.

There is one other issue that's important to me (and I suspect many other RR guys) that I suspect is NOT covered very often in existing books and such: researching and promoting the nostalgia end of things. What do I mean by that? Oh, sure, there's scores and scores of books that will step you through the history of Lionel, Marx, American Flyer and the like ... the company, the trains, etc. All good. But what fascinates me is more about the people who have USED the trains that I have (some family relatives that I know about, but more often, unknown past folk who were owners / caretakers of stuff I've purchased on ebay). Who were these people? What got them interested in their trains? Did their kids enjoy them? How many generations might have shared in the joy of watching said train run around a tree at Christmastime? Sadly, for many of my trains, those questions are lost to history and can never again be answered ... at least when looking at the past.

Which brings me to my next point, and my suggestion for your book ...

All of us in the hobby are building legacies and nostalgia for future generations, regardless of whether we think of it our not. Chances are that many of our little toy trains will be around here on Earth far longer than many of us. Who will they get passed down to? Who will use them? Will they share in the same family traditions?

And to answer those FUTURE questions, I think it's important that we all begin to document a bit about the legacies of our trains that we are all building now. Write it down. Stick a few notes inside the loco cab. Glue some photos to the underside of the layout table. Share some project laughs on a "lasting" media format, perhaps like the forum here.

I suspect many modelers focus on enjoying their trains today. Nothing wrong with that. But it might be that a new book with a not-so-often-written chapter about promoting, documenting, and investing in developing a legacy of trains, family, lore, etc for tomorrow's modelers might spark some extra interest, and promote a bridging of knowledge between generations.

My two-cents, anyway...

Good luck,

TJ
 

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Hey what's wrong with stamps?
I been collecting since I was 10 years old.
Have you ever checked out any of the train stamps?
Nothing wrong with collecting stamps, I got a ton of them.
Miniature works of art they are.:thumbsup:
SIDEBAR ...

Hey Ed,

Quick answer is "No" ... I've never seen a collection of train stamps, though I'm quite intrigued. Maybe when you get a chance, you can snap some pics and post some favorite ones here on a new thread? I'd really love to see some.

Hint ... hint ... hint ... :thumbsup:

(Any upside-down train stamps worth a fortune, like the famous upside down airplane stamp?!?!)

Cheers,

TJ
 

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Anton,

I appreciate it and fully understand your hesitancy to include your feedback on an unfamiliar site. No problem at all...
...
What I didn't want to do, though, was have the proposed title steer the content in one direction or another. I honestly want to provide a book that helps answer real needs/problems and NOT just another fluff book on the difference between gages and scales (a better title would probably help avoid that misperception...). I'm not saying it will necessarily be a lengthy reference book, but it will contain useful and practical information.
feedback i have no problem with, i will say whatever i will say anywhere. email however is not something that you really have to know at this point.

Bill,let me ask you ,how do you grade your personal level of experience as far as railroad modeling ? would you say you are seasoned pro?
 

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Hey what's wrong with stamps?
Always like to throw that hook out there, justa see who gets snagged...:D:D:D:D

As for a suggestion, there's more than enough good tomes on model railroading---how 'bout one on the history of a particular scale or brand(s)? There are very few of those that are worth getting.
 

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Bill,let me ask you ,how do you grade your personal level of experience as far as railroad modeling ? would you say you are seasoned pro?
Hi Bill, :)

Anton's pertinent question had also crossed my mind.
Care to show us some pics of your work?

Could give you more credibility... ;)

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
feedback i have no problem with, i will say whatever i will say anywhere. email however is not something that you really have to know at this point.

Bill,let me ask you ,how do you grade your personal level of experience as far as railroad modeling ? would you say you are seasoned pro?

No, I'm not a seasoned pro at railroad modeling - yet. (still got quite a few decades ahead of me to master it, though!) I'm a nostalgic 30-something who has very fond memories of Christmastimes in Scottsdale, AZ at my grandparent's place helping put together S-gage track and pulling out and dusting off a few of the many engines and cars my grandfather had neatly stored on wall shelving in his workroom. I remember getting up at 5:00 in the morning to run the trains alone - before my younger siblings got up. I want that for my kids, too. I need to learn and build my own set.

I'm also a budding entrepreneur at heart and love marketing and creating interesting businesses and products. I'm hopeful that both interests can work together in a fun, new project.

Because I'm not an expert or experienced model railroader, I can't write a book about it - at least, not one of any real substance or help. That's why, after I figure out what specific aspect(s) of model railroading appear to have the most interest, I'll be contacting and interviewing (and compensating) very experienced model railroaders who'd like to contribute chapters to the book (kind of like a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" approach to compiling a book...).

So, in a nutshell, that's the whole story. Hope that better helps explain my intent.

BTW - the "billztreasurechest" site is not me. No idea who that is...
 

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...see my reply above. That should answer your questions...
Sorry to read your answer, Bill. :(

Just going around glomming information off of others about something you don't have enough personal interest to actually do yourself really hurts your credibility...

...because it can make other people feel like they're being used by you just so you can make a buck off of them.


Greg
 

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Sorry to read your answer, Bill. :(

Just going around glomming information off of others about something you don't have enough personal interest to actually do yourself really hurts your credibility...

...because it can make other people feel like they're being used by you just so you can make a buck off of them.


Greg


Sorry you see it that way, Greg. I guess I see it differently than you do. My goal is to compile a book on some aspect(s) of model railroading by contracting/partnering with a few model railroading experts who may be interested in helping their own expert status and credibility in the model railroading community by being included in a successful book on a subject they have a vested and deep interest in.

No, I'm not an expert model railroader. Instead, I bring to the table the effort of putting a project like this together and marketing know-how to sell it to the market niche(s) who would be interested in purchasing it.

I've laid all my cards on the table here. I'm being completely honest with my intent and see nothing ethically or morally wrong with this type of approach - as long as all parties reach a fair compensation agreement. If I can't come to a fair compensation agreement with enough experienced modelers, then this idea won't work. But, I won't know until I try.

I think it's a win-win and certainly doesn't preclude you or anyone else from publishing your own books/e-books, etc. It would simply add another published credibility source you can point people to. The experienced model railroader participants have nothing to lose if it flops (except an hour or two with me on a phone interview), and at least a nominal gain for their time. In our society, those in print are perceived, right or wrong, as credible experts. I'm offering just one more avenue to do that.

So, I appreciate your concern, but think you're judging too quickly and harshly without all the facts. Capitalism can and should be a win-win and I fully plan to make that happen, if others are willing and interested in participating!
 

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Is it me or are we talking about a writing assignment at the beginning of the school year? From time to time we have seen seekers of information for school reports. These question are obvious due to the subject matter and time of year. Achitectural students have been big here in the past looking for sources. If I was interested in books I would write one, but this is more fun.
You could never post this at a magazine forum. Good Luck
 

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what is the scope of planned publication? how many pages and chapters of actual content? (not including glorious forewards ala "when i was a kid a loved railroads...")

...
My goal is to compile a book on some aspect(s) of model railroading by contracting/partnering with a few model railroading experts who may be interested in helping their own expert status and credibility in the model railroading community by being included in a successful book on a subject they have a vested and deep interest in.

No, I'm not an expert model railroader.
...

I think it's a win-win and certainly doesn't preclude you or anyone else from publishing your own books/e-books, etc. It would simply add another published credibility source you can point people to. The experienced model railroader participants have nothing to lose if it flops (except an hour or two with me on a phone interview),
...
Capitalism can and should be a win-win and I fully plan to make that happen, if others are willing and interested in participating!
Bill, i'm less concerned about the professionals you hire for this being compensated or not. but with you not being an expert on the subject i don't see how you will be able to compile a credible book. even if you subcontract part of the work to others. there is a reason why expression "he wrote a book on subject" means top tier specialist. it goes both ways.

Win-win? certainly not. imagine your book on the shelf near the one i mentioned earlier (track planning), how will uninformed buyer know to buy the better option (sorry, i do not see you topping that one at this point)? and chances are yours will be called something like "the best book on model railroading you could ever by" (fr marketing of course) . so your book will dilute and divert at least some from the better option. is this unethical? i think so, but as you mentioned the word "capitalism", i do not think this would bother you. hek, even our president is busy writing kids books these days instead of governing his country...




with that, there is a room for nice structured guide. nothing i seen so far is perfect. but compiling such book takes serious effort, loong time, not 3 weeks, not even 3 month. anything less and it is just another fluff title .
 

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Is it me or are we talking about a writing assignment at the beginning of the school year? From time to time we have seen seekers of information for school reports.
nah, i think this is another entrepreneur who wants to cash in on stupid people who buy "X-number of facts you never new about Y-subject". we see them from time to time here. i think i will start copying my replies to save time when next one shows up in couple month .
 

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Hey Bill, :)

I'm all for Capitalism... so if you can find enough model railroading clients to enter into a financial agreement with you... go for it. :)

I was just expressing my own personal view that a book's credibility is enhanced when the author has a genuine passion for the book's topic.

Greg
 
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