Written by Donna Lander | 2016
Sparkling, crystal clear, effervescent, mineral rich, pure: these words describe and bring to life the essence of the water bubbling and flowing out of the deep, rich earth of Arrowhead Springs, California. These beautiful springs of San Bernardino County were a hidden treasure until the 1850’s, according to Mark Landis, author of Arrowhead Springs, California’s Ideal Resort, A Comprehensive History of The Sanitariums, Resorts, and Spring Water, at Arrowhead Springs, California. Once pioneers and settlers traveled west and began establishing communities in Southern California, these waters became well known for their exquisite taste and medicinal qualities. This treasure, valued and safely protected by Native American peoples over the centuries, turned into a commercial enterprise that endured over a process of years. The actual use of these incredible waters may not have been commercialized at all had it not been for the natural symbol which highlights and directs people to the specific source. Among the mountains towering above San Bernardino, a natural formation of quartz, covered by light vegetation and distinctly shaped as a sharp-tipped arrowhead, points downward toward the springs.
Mr. Landis points out that this natural landmark, the discovery of the mineral spring water, and the resorts that develop as a result of this infamous water, interconnects with the development of the San Bernardino Valley, the mountains, and the general Southern California region. He crafts a historical, fact-based story of the history of the region in a manner both enticing and fascinating. As a native Southern Californian, he has always been interested in the history of the area, but it isn’t until the 1980’s that he begins to seriously develop his personal interests. His fascination with railroad history begins a journey, which leads to investigating mining operations, ghost towns, and abandoned railroads. By 2001, a fellow hobbyist who works for the San Bernardino County Sun Newspaper, introduces him to the Editor who suggests he write a piece for the paper on some of the information he has gathered about his hobby. The Editor is impressed and offers him the opportunity to write a monthly column about the history of the local area, which covers the largest county of the world, San Bernardino County. Over time, Mr. Landis categorizes his historical column into information that covers the San Bernardino valley, mountains and the desert. Due to the success of the column in the Sun, he meets other people, historians and scholars with like interest and hobbies as himself, many who have written books on local history.
Desiring a new challenge in life, Mark interviews and discusses with these colleagues about the process of authorship, and ventures to begin this amazing adventure himself. Investing in Adobe Creative Suite products, he uses online tutorials to teach himself how to use the publishing tools Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator in order to compile, arrange, and lay out the text and illustrations he has been gathering over months and months of research. The idea for the book comes from the natural source of materials he has been gathering, which turns out to be a popular topic in the San Bernardino area. The topic is not only popular, but has also yet to be prepared and presented in a one cohesive manner, which becomes the perfect equation to produce a successful historical book.
Mr. Landis thinks through and ponders deeply how he wishes his presentation to appear. He describes this project as a hybrid “coffee table-deep dive history book.” Because of its unique type, Mark creates a product that is pleasing to the eye, with a format that catches attention and directs the facts pointed like an arrow in a flowing current of information with silky smooth easiness and adventure. He wants his photos to tell the story better than the words could ever express. He spends numerous hours preparing the photos and captions, as well as the printed material on the pages to capture the beauty of the natural springs, as well as disclose the individual stories of lives from the past! He focuses to a fault on the documentation of the facts to be historically accurate with the hopes and aspirations that others will use this book as a resource for research, information, stories, etc. Pleasingly, Mark finds that the title comes easily, as it naturally jumps from the description of the resort described in the Arrowhead Springs Literature and label of the Arrowhead brand water. With his almost finished product, he now is on the search for a reputable publisher for his treasure.
As he did before, our first time author quizzes his friends and colleagues about the publishing processes they have faced, and makes inquiries about the details involved. The advice they provide in both the major publishing and self-publishing arena answers many details and directs him toward self-publishing. Applying his newly acquired knowledge of publishing tools, he grinds out the details, fine tunes the editing, and then searches financial information. Pleased with his progress of completing the work in approximately ten months, he finds self-publishing will fulfill his needs financially, pricing to sell reasonably for his market customers and providing a reasonable profit. Through investigation online and recommendations of acquaintances, Mr. Landis discovers TSE Worldwide Press and TSE Worldwide Press, in turn, discovers another author fulfilling his dream! The overall experience and work throughout three months’ time results in fruitful cooperation, exchange of ideas, creative input, corrections, changes and revisions. The final production and printing is completed by the end of 2013. It is perfect timing to market the historically finely crafted literary piece in celebration of the 150th anniversary for the first commercial use of the Arrowhead Springs Resort. And perfect timing it is, as Mark promotes his book to historical societies, civic community groups such as Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary Club, and others, libraries, school districts and his own website.
Promoting his literary piece is by far Mr. Landis’ favorite aspect of writing his book. To see the interest of others in this specific portion of California history, the quality of questions, the excitement in the voices of listeners and inquiring readers gives him a thrill. But the most gratifying of all is the request to sign and personalize a copy of his book for a customer! However, nothing quite compares to that most memorable moment when the anticipation is finally fulfilled. The gratification and remarkable joy he experiences when he sees and holds his very first, hard-bound, completely polished and finished self-publication Arrowhead Springs California’s Ideal Resort, A Comprehensive History of The Sanitariums, Resorts, and Spring Water, at Arrowhead Springs, California is beyond explanation.
As he holds the book in his hands, the obstacles, once so prominent in his mind, flow away and wash out of his mind. All the time it takes to restore the photos to the perfect resolution and colorization he desires, the many hours of studying and learning the software, the writing and rewriting, editing, fact-checking, proof-reading, proof-reading and proof-reading again, now become worth it all! The worry and anxiety over small details and subtle changes are now finished. The only change he wishes he could have made was to find TSE sooner in the publishing process.
In looking back, did his dreams come true? Did Mark’s vision for the book become the reality he imagined it to be? In his words, “Yes, the vision became reality because I knew what I wanted it to be.” All the work prior to writing and assembling prepares the foundation: from the smallest decision of comparing and evaluating other similar type books, to more significant decisions, such as selecting the paper, preparing layout formats, adjusting the coloring, approving the overall style, and so many other multiple decisions and tasks.
These decisions and tasks will do him well in preparing for the future projects at hand. Mark Landis hopes to see himself able to retire in four to five years and devote himself fully to the research and writing which gives himself so much gratification and enjoyment. Through this journey, his decision to self-publish has been affirmed as the best way to get the job done, and also the most effective. He has a project in mind and is in the beginning stages of gathering information and documentation for his second piece. Mark offers this advice to anyone ready to pursue his dream of writing a book: “Be prepared to do the work yourself because it is the most practical and cost saving decision. Force yourself to learn and push through the tough times.” This advice would serve any person well when looking at the “mountain” ahead of himself. Just as one is refreshed when drinking from the bubbling, crystal clear, mineral rich Arrowhead Mountain Springs, let each be refreshed from reading Mark Landis’ book, Arrowhead Springs California’s Ideal Resort, A Comprehensive History of The Sanitariums, Resorts, and Spring Water, at Arrowhead Springs, California.
For more details or to place an order, please visit https://landispublications.com/.