Wings are Handy Things - How you can help

Wings Are Handy Things
and other flights of fancy from the Ukulele Entertainer

by Ralph Shaw

Crowdfunding appeal for the creation of my latest book.

What is the book about?
The work is a specially edited collection of my eNewsletters written between 2015 and 2023, compiled into a hugely entertaining, engaging and enjoyable read.
As with my first two books, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with my book designer and editor to produce something lovely that stands up against any books offered by publishing houses in terms of both writing and quality. For examples of my work, visit my Blog page.

When will it be published?
It’s currently undergoing design revisions and proofreading and should be ready for late spring 2024.

What will the money be used for?
Self-publishing is expensive — the money will go towards paying the editor and book designer who also worked on my previous two books. Should this campaign raise more money than the costs of production, any remainder will support ongoing monthly costs of the Ukulele Entertainer eNewsletter.

What can you do to help?
There are four ways for you to be involved with this project.

  • Option A: Donate to support the Ukulele Entertainer Newsletter & book
  • Option B: Donate towards the book
  • Option C: Get your name in the book
  • Option D: Write an inspirational piece to go in the book — see yourself in print!

See below for more information and how to donate.

All payments are made via PayPal’s secure server. Payments can be made with major credit and debit cards — you don’t need a PayPal account.

Wings are Handy Things cover

Option A

Donate to support the Ukulele Entertainer Newsletter & book

You get to click on a simple PayPal Donate button and contribute the amount of your choice. I will respond by email with a personal and warm thank you. (Even without the creation of the book, many readers of this newsletter would be surprised at the dizzying monthly amount I pay to the Constant Contact email service that makes sure my emails get delivered to where they are supposed to go.)

Option B

Donate towards the book

For $50 you will be making a significant contribution towards the publication of my book, for which I will be eternally grateful. Of course, you will receive a personal thank you from me via the medium of email.

Option C

Get your name in the book

For $100 your name (or a person named on your behalf) will be printed in a section near the front under a heading such as: “This book would not have been possible without the support of the following…”

(Your donation and name must be received by November 8th, 2023 to be in the book. Send the correct spelling of your name to

Option D

Write an inspirational piece to go in the book

For $250 you can be immortalised in print by answering the question “How has making your own music changed your life?”
(Please write your answer in up to 150 words and send by email to by November 8th, 2023 for inclusion in the book)

This is a chance for you to inspire others with your personal musical story. Your piece will be printed as part of the book’s final chapter, “Keep On Strumming!”

Every piece will be reviewed by my editor (trust me, everything I write gets tweaked!), so don’t worry if you are not confident about your writing skills.


How come there is no option for me to get a signed book?
After looking at the cost of international airmail, it does not make sense to have books sent to me and then flown to far-flung places around the world. The jet fuel burned for me to hurl my books through the air at great speed will surely not do the planet any good either. Ultimately, my books will be printed by Amazon and, whatever you may think of this company, a major plus point is that when you order a book it will be printed and shipped locally from the country where you live.

Do I need to have read the first two books for this one to make sense?
My books can be read in any order. The pieces are self-contained and perfect for randomly dipping into. They don’t need any knowledge from previous works to be enjoyed fully.

Why are the donation amounts in US dollars?
This may seem odd since I am known as a Canadian performer who is currently residing in the UK. However, most of my readers are in the United States, so that’s the international currency that I settled on. I hope this will seem fair to all my readers in Australia, Europe, Canada, the UK or wherever you may be. Currency conversion at the current rate will be made automatically before you pay.

I am a regular reader of the Ukulele Entertainer eNewsletter. Why would I want your book repackaged in book or e-book form?
If you are happy with the email experience, then I urge you to make a small donation and leave it at that. But there are numerous reasons why owning the book is preferable. It can be passed to friends and left in your music case or lying around on a coffee table, to be dipped into at your leisure. It makes a handy reference copy, for finding topics through the detailed contents pages or back-of-the-book subject index. As well as the addition of some brand new, previously unseen material, the editing and sequencing of the pieces makes for a very different experience to the random release of the eNewsletter pieces.

International Praise for Ralph Shaw’s Books

“Fantastic all-round guide to the right way to approach playing and performing. Covers a very wide range of topics and full of great anecdotes of Ralph’s career.”

Bernard de la Coeur

“Ralph Shaw’s book The Ukulele Entertainer is THE ukulele book to read! It is filled with great morsels of uke and life wisdom, with laugh-out-loud humour.”

Daphne Roubini, founder, Ruby’s Ukes Ukulele School

“Ralph offers ideas that will improve your ukulele performances for large or small audiences.… He had me laughing so hard my wife wanted to know what I was reading.”

Daniel M. Gurney

“A genuinely entertaining and inspiring book from a man who matches both descriptions. Recommended.”

Reader in the UK

“Ralph Shaw’s book is light-hearted but imparts useful information on performing and playing the ukulele. The advice he gives carries forward to other instruments too. A great gift.”

Player in the US

“Ralph is always a joy to talk with, learn from and see perform. His books are just like listening to him talk. Recommended reading.”

J. Abbott

“This is a must-read for anyone who loves the ukulele, hates the ukulele, is ambivalent about the ukulele, or has never heard of the instrument. All others should opt for War and Peace.”

Douglas Reynolds, director, Reno Ukulele Festival

“You cannot go wrong with this book for musical instruction or simply for entertainment. And he’s a wonderful writer!”

Alan Parker Thornton

“Very easy read, both entertaining and informative. The author’s enthusiasm fills you with a desire to improve.”

Reader in the UK

“The humor and love for the ukulele shines through in the book. Once again, he imparts useful tips and stories as a player and performer.”

Reader in the US

“Ralph shares some of his performance tips, advice and personal ‘on-the-road gig stories’ in this very entertaining, candid and hard-to-put-down book.

The practical advice he lays out will benefit anyone interested in taking the stage whether it be to sing a song, strum a tune or recite a poem. Great book, get it.”

Gerald Ross, UkeTone Records

“A most useful book …full of very helpful and practical advice for persons hoping to make their first public performance. The book is full of solid down-to-earth advice. Invaluable.

Player in the UK

“Excellent book…great read for all ukulele maestros!”

Reader in Canada