I have never provided full details of the book publishing before.
I will flesh it out a little here.
The first version of the book was from Lulu. Sheridan had done a poor publish of it.
I was probably the only person in the world that bought that copy. Sheridan took it down shortly after I bought it.
After a number of years, and futile discussions with Sheridan about publishing, I thought I'd force the issue. I did a revision based on that copy, and published it using Amazon KDP.
I sent copies to Sheridan. It looked really good. I included the cover drawing Sheridan had commissioned an artist friend to draw.
Sheridan then said I only had half the book. We talked about transmitting the latest version of the book to me, but Sheridan had massive computer problems.
In addition, someone had tried to help him by inserting photos into his Word document. This made the Word doc too big, and it wouldn't open any more.
Sheridan had a pdf though of that version. He gave me the pdf. I transcribed it to Word chapters. He gave me the photos that are in the book. I resized them and selected based on Sheridan's direction. I changed them to B/W (originally color) and optimized the pictures for contrast/brightness.
Sheridan and I had massive arguments about editting. He used an old style of complex phrases. He had turned off his Word spelling and style checker because of his extensive use of slang and vietnamese terms. He had misspellings of common characters and place names (inconsitent).
I fixed all that and did minor editting based on suggestions from Word.
We had arguments about some racist language on picture captions. I reverted to exactly what Sheridan wanted. He considered it "truth"
There was one chapter he gave me, that in hindsight he said should be left out. He was back and forth on this. It regarded a personal detail of one character. He said it probably didn't add character development. But then, anyone who has read the book would say "character development" and what matters or not, is in the eye of the beholder.
It's crazy to me that Sheridan insisted it was a literary documentary of the Vietnam War, when it was clear to me that it was a memoir. But it's his book, so I let his description of it and his motives stand.
Sheridan was very nice when I visited him. I visited him in person twice, one with my wife. I fixed his computer once.
One time when I was in Alaska, in a small town, I had been out of cell phone contact for a week. My phone rang on the streets of Talkeetna. Excitedly I answered, wondering who it could be. It was Sheridan, ranting about some imagined wrong I had done, or CIA or FBI thing..Or rant about 377.
I liked the guy. I saw mementos of his travels in his small apartment. He was very gracious. He was proud of his book and bought copies from Amazon to distribute to his acquantances. He didn't even get to use the author's discount.
In short, Sheridan's life and story is more rich and more real, and deserves a little more respect than the rantings of someone like Blevins.
Did I do the right thing by Sheridan? I think so. The nice thing is that the book he always wanted is there for anyone to read. He always thought of himself as a good writer. He always wanted to have written a good book. I think he has. Sure it's not very everyone. But it's Sheridan.
Sure I have questions. But I let them rest.
The Amazon version of the book is easily twice the pages of the Lulu version. I had to go to 7x10 format to get the book in a reasonable number of pages. Every page Sheridan wrote is in there, except for that one chapter. And the photos. The book weighs 2.4 lbs and is over 1" thick. I joked with him about difficulty in getting it to fit in something Amazon could publish, and he said he had a paperback version of War and Peace, so it had to be possible.
EDIT: I do miss Sheridan and am sad thinking about how he died, presumably alone. I spent many years in email back and forth (argumentative) before this book episode. So I guess it felt like there was some connection that was longer than the book period. Sheridan's life was complex.
I've always wondered about the people he refers to in his book. I posted a photo of Sheridan surrounded by other members of the Saigon Sport Parachute Club, from back in the late '60s, in VIetnam.
I always wondered what they thought of him. I liked the photos were Sheridan smiled, best. I think he had a richer life in the past before we all got to know him.
Was he more sane in the past, more social?
I don't know. Honestly, I think that reflects badly on me, but in truth, it was mostly about him and where he was in life, constraining human interactions.
EDIT: I just checked the historical reports in KDP on sales at Amazon. There have been only about 22 copies sold. I paid for a couple copies I sent to Sheridan and others for review before the last (3rd) edition was finalized.
So for all of Blevins ranting, it's really funny what a small thing the reality is.