LuAnn Merrill Otte retired in 2005 after 30 years at Autolite/Honeywell in Fostoria. Since then, the Hopewell-Loudon graduate and youngest of eight children has embarked on a new career - author.
She wrote "Journey of Life," a self-help book based mostly on common sense and faith, as well as personal experiences.
"I thought about this for years, but I started specifically writing about 10 years ago," Otte said.
The book is written in down-to-earth, conversational language. Otte omitted page numbers and paragraph indents in keeping with a train-of-thought format. She said she would consider her effort successful if it only helps a few people.
"It's living life and ... what I believe can work to help people. We have to help ourselves first before we can help somebody else," Otte said.
At the outset, she planned to submit her work for the contents of a "Pocket Book," but by the time Otte was ready, the company was only publishing magazines. After doing more research, Otte was apprehensive about the time frame and cost of the publishing process. She also worried about sending a manuscript through the mail, as some companies wanted.
Late last year, Otte spoke to a friend in Chicago who had self-published a book through Create Space. The friend recommended the company, so Otte contacted them and ended up with a contract. The company guided her through the process and allowed her to choose the book's cover design.
"Purple petunias are something I plant every year, so it was perfect," Otte said.
Now a resident of Delaware, Ohio, Otte has two daughters and two grandsons in Seneca County. She chose to do her first book signing in Bascom during the community garage sales and arranged to do another this weekend, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Paper and Ink in downtown Tiffin.
"My hardest part was
putting myself out there. ... you make yourself vulnerable," Otte said.
To prepare for her employment, Otte took classes at Tiffin University and Terra and various other training the company provided. Her responsibilities included IT coordinator and later employee trainer. For about 10 years, she was part of the company's organizational development office until that department was dissolved. Then, she went back out on the factory floor as a platinum welder.
Otte considers the book an extension of the years she spent coaching employees in employee involvement, total quality and similar concepts. Some of the observations and advice she shared with the workforce have ended up in "Journey of Life." The core message is to stop making excuses and take charge of one's own life.
"Life is tough. It's become more complex. You have to look for the good," Otte said.
Otte now is working on a collection of poetry and a longer book, "Home Thoughts II." The latter is to be a sequel of the original "Home Thoughts," which her grandmother and great-grandmother published in 1986. Otte said it is to include poems and stories from members of the family.
The softcover "Journey of Life" sells for $10.95.