FacebookLink-Joe Cuhaj
Publisher: Falcon Guides
Edition: 4th Edition
Release Date: September 2, 2014
​Pages: 320 Pages
Price: $22.95
​ISBN-10: 0762787295

ISBN-13: 978-0762787296
I then decided to try one more CD-ROM. I would put my love of hiking and my experiences with the sport into a guide about section hiking the Appalachian Trail again with photos, videos, the works.  This time I wouldn’t publish it myself. I would submit it to publishers and let them get the word out.

 Up to this time I had another hobby – rejection letter collecting. As is the case with many writers when it came to getting that first book published it was an uphill battle but I went ahead and submitted this new CD to publishers despite my track record. 
This is where it all began. Well, actually, I had been writing since high school with mixed success penning articles and short stories. Then of course I did plenty of writing during my radio career (copywriting, news copy, and my own comedy bits). But the story of how this all began is quite…odd.

Actually getting my first book published started in the 90s when the Internet was still finding its footing and people would buy “CD ROMS” to get information. For example, you could get the entire Encyclopedia Britannica on a CD with articles, photos, audio, and video.

This was in October 1998. I marketed it myself and son-of-a-gun, it was a hit! With that success I began another project. I also enjoy listening to shortwave radio. I loved tuning the dial to pick up radio stations from the smallest countries in the world. I decided to create a new CD-ROM for SWL’ers (shortwave listeners) called “DXLog” that featured monthly station schedules, maps of transmitter locations, audio copies of interval signals, and lots of information on the stations themselves. It was also a hit winning rave reviews from several hobby magazines. 
A friend of mine suggested that since my radio career had ended and I was now a software programmer that I should create my own CD ROM. He suggested doing one as a guide to collecting the Beatles since we were both fans of the band. It would be a combination price guide and how-to guide with audio, photos, videos, etc. So I did and “Beatlepedia” was born.
I submitted the proposal to 20 publishers. Immediately my rejection letter collection grew by 19. The 20th publisher, a little company out of Virginia called Beachway Press, called me.

“Joe,” the voice crackled over the phone. “There is so much out there about the A.T. that we can’t use your project. But have you ever thought about writing a book about hiking in Alabama?”

“No,” was my answer. “But I am now.”

And with that the first edition of what was then called Hike America Alabama was born and was it ever an experience to write. GPS units were too expensive for me to buy one so it was written the old fashioned way – measuring wheels, pedometers, compass, pencil, and topo maps. 

The first edition was released by Beachway in the fall of 2000 then re-released soon after Falcon Guides bought the small company. The book was re-titled, Hiking Alabama. Both the original and re-release were huge hits (thanks to all of you).

The second edition came out in 2003 and as I’ve said before, I wasn’t happy with it, and neither were many readers. I wasn’t allowed to re-hike the trails which had changed dramatically since the first edition. This was in 2004-2005 when 5 major hurricanes barreled through the South. Even though many trails had been re-routed of even permanently closed the editor just wanted me to update contact information for the hikes. Not good.

In 2007 Falcon contacted me to do the third edition and finally wanted me to re-vamp the content. Since then the book has been back on track and I think the 4th edition is the best by far.

 Hope you like Hiking Alabama and it serves you well. Cheers!

Hiking Alabama: The Backstory