There I was, looking for information on climate-related science projects for an article, when I happened on several very interesting – but not for the article, which turned out to focus on variations on creating a greenhouse effect.
Items found include:
• Yale F&ES Project on Climate Change, which offers a number of downloadable reports and publications
• The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences, a booklet offered by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program CCSP)
• The US National Phenology Network volunteer program to monitor plants and animals in order to gain an understanding of the effects of climate change.
Possibly of interest to writers who cover the environment, as well as for school science projects, homeschool use, and members of the general population who are interested in the topic.
Another audience is crucial to consider as you compose your book proposal—the editor(s), agent(s), and marketing staff who may read the proposal.
You may be so fortunate as to actually know the person or people for whom you are writing. If so, your task will be easier.
If you are writing for an audience you don’t know, it may help to try to characterize him, her, or them to help you focus your writing for this audience. But how do you do this for people you don’t know?
Who’s your audience?
Especially during an economic downturn and at a time when print publishers are trying to figure out what’s next, conceiving and presenting a book proposal that is likely to garner a large audience could be the difference between being published or not.
I think about this in two ways:
1) Writing for some large group – e.g., teenage girls, people who use the Internet, non-native speakers of English
2) Aggregating a number of groups to make a large group – e.g., word buffs + humor addicts + trivia hounds
Consider audience, too, when choosing a title. If you already had a title, consider whether it needs tweaking with your new ideas about whom you’re trying to reach. Since subtitles are popular these days, consider referencing your target groups in the second part of your title.
Additionally, clarifying your audience may change your ideas about which publishers are most likely to have an interest in your book. Recheck your list, if appropriate.
Easley Blackwood, Jr., pianist and composer, was my instructor for an independent study course in composition when I was in college. He once told me that there were two ways to approach any art: one was having made as full a study as possible of all of the details, including what others in the field have done; the second was naively, leaving one free of influence, but also free of what might turn out to be essential knowledge.
If you’re writing the kind of book for which there is competition, at some point, you need to both analyze the genre and also see what your competitors are up to in order to speak to this point in your book proposal.
Of my published books, some have been proposed by the publisher, and I competed with other authors for the opportunity to write them; some have been proposed directly to me with no other authors competing; and some have been based on original ideas of my own, written up in convincing proposals that led publishers to decide that my ideas were worth investing in. This series will provide suggestions from my experience for various elements of your book proposal.
We’ll start with tips to help you figure out how to represent the competition in your book proposal so that you can explain how your proposed book will compare, contrast, and extend the field.
The general concept of a list, I think, connects it with the mundane and a style that is art-less. To-do lists, laundry lists, shopping lists, and wish lists are useful, but not something that we usually invest any craft in—they’re functional, not artful.
Yesterday evening, lists came to my attention because of the incessant posting of one particular follower to one particular Twitter account, the owner of which had invited responses. I stopped following, but also started thinking about other lists, ones that I have actually admired.
It’s impossible to assess the impact of childhood experience, of course. But one of the bits of childhood that made a strong impression on me (which I can judge by my strong memories) was not only having children’s books but having children’s books that were exquisite.
This is partly by way of contrast:
We call it waiting because we don’t find it valuable in and of itself (if we did, we’d assign a different name): it’s time that doesn’t have its own meaning—a holding place until the real event starts.
These days it’s often possible to avoid waiting—we carry cell phones and lap tops and PDAs to chase the waiting time away or turn it into time with a purpose. But there can still be odd moments when we’re unprepared for the wait, or get bored with or need a break from whatever we brought along to do.
Last week I had an unexpected wait when someone had to excuse himself temporarily from a meeting. After wearing out the other options, I took a look in the magazine rack. Among magazines featuring recipes and decorating ideas, I didn’t expect much of real interest or use. But I got a surprise.
Authors of fiction start their creative process in various ways. Some tout character, some setting, some plot, as the jumping off point for their writing.
In this regard, I suppose that I am of the “eclectic” school, because my creations grow from different starting points at different times.
And inspiration comes from a variety of sources.
Writing in a wide range of genres shapes my reading. I’ve written trade books, textbooks, a children’s opera libretto, poetry, search engine optimized articles, software content, picture books, and am planning a fantasy quintology. Or pentology. We’ll see.
I’m also a reading clinician, which has led me to give a lot of thought to how texts offer meaning to readers and how readers go about understanding texts.
So welcome to my blog. Here I’ll record some of my discoveries, observations, and thoughts about reading. I prefer dialogue to monologue, so feel free to add your thoughts on the topic of the moment.
(n.b. This is a rebuilt version of the blog originally located at http://melizabe.blog.uvm.edu —moved here for a clearer URL connection.)