Hello dear readers. . . this is my first blog post and like millions before me, I feel that I’m throwing my thoughts and words out into the void. What do I have to add to the great and democratizing cacaphony known as the blogosphere? I guess experience. I’ve been at this book-writing business since 1982 and have observed many changes over the years. I’ve also garnered useful insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to writing and publishing a nonfiction book.
During the years that I taught book-proposal writing at UCLA’s Writers Program, my students often asked what makes for a bestseller. Damned if I know! Nearly thirty years ago, my first publisher, Eleanor Rawson, told me that this is a quixotic business. You never know what’s going to catch the public’s imagination. I didn’t want to believe her back then, but in fact she was right. I am often astounded by the books that become popular while other much more worthy works fall by the wayside, never to be read or appreciated. Nevertheless, I do know what makes for a good nonfiction book, bestseller or otherwise, and I will be sharing some of my insights and experiences with you in this blog.
If possible, I’ll also bring you along as I develop a book, sell it, and then write it. It’s an adventure with great highs and lows. Still there’s nothing like the moment the finished product arrives at your door all dressed up in its shiny new book jacket. It feels like having a baby. And for a first-time author it is a life-changing event. You can never go back to the state of never having published a book.
Many of my partners have called me a midwife. I like that. My grandmother was a midwife in pre-World War II Poland. She was a wonderful person, and I enjoy being in her company. But instead of children, I help my partners gestate and give birth to their ideas. And in the end, we all celebrate with wonder and awe the emergence of a new book.