How to Write and Publish a Book with Switzer Fellows (Switzer Leadership Webinar Series)

On May 21, 2012, we hosted a lively and informative panel of published Switzer authors.  Below is a synopsis of their comments and advice for anyone considering writing his or her first book.  Please use the links to access their full comments and advice.  

We're also including two video interviews with authors who could not join us, David Sonnenfeld talking about the texbook market and Sharon Smith on what it takes to successfully market a book.

Eric Jay DolinEric Jay Dolin (view Eric's profile) moderated the event.  Eric's books include the Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges; Snakehead: A Fish Out of Water; and Political Waters, a history of the degradation and cleanup of Boston Harbor. His book Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America (W. W. Norton) was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. His latest book is Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America (W. W. Norton).

Click here to read Eric's advice for all would-be authors.

Eric is happy to send a signed, hardcopy of Leviathan ($27.95), Fur, Fortune, and Empire ($29.95), or the Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges ($39.95), via priority mail, to anyone who sends him a check, made out to him, for $35. He will add any inscription you want, even one he was asked to put in a copy of Leviathan years ago -- "I couldn't have written this book without you."

Thor HansonThor Hanson (view Thor's profile) is a conservation biologist and member of the Human Ecosystems Study Group. His first book, The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda, won the 2008 USA Book News Award for nature writing. His latest book, Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, recently won a 2012 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.  Hanson lives with his wife and son on an island off the coast of Washington State.

Thor also has some great advice for folks interested in publishing, which you can read here.

You can get a signed copy of either of Thor's books by calling his local independent bookseller, Griffin Bay Bookstore (360-378-5511). They keep signed copies in stock, and if you want a special inscription he's happy to stop by the store and do that before they send them out.

Mark ElbrochMark Elbroch (view Mark's profile) is a conservation biologist focused on carnivores, PI of the Garfield-Mesa Lion Project in Colorado, and new Project Leader for the Teton Cougar Project, based in Jackson, WY. He has authored and coauthored 10 guides to wildlife tracking, animal skulls and mammal behavior, including the new Peterson Reference Guide to the Behavior of North American Mammals (2011) and Field Guide to Animal Tracks and Scat of California (2012). His books Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species, and Bird Tracks and Sign both won National Outdoor Book Awards.

Mark recorded his thoughts on a number of topics related to publishing your first book, including general comments, choosing agents and publishers, working with coauthors, academic presses and grants, and writing articles as a first step.

Mark is happy to sign, inscribe and send out the following at book rate (add $5 for priority):

Behavior of North American Mammals, $30
Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks, $18
California Natural History Guides: Animal Tracks and Scats, $30
Mammal Tracks and Sign, $40
Bird Tracks and Sign, $30

Susan ClarkSusan Clark (view Susan's profile) is an educator and facilitator, focusing on community sustainability and civic participation. She is the co-author of All Those In Favor: Rediscovering the Secrets of Town Meeting and Community (RavenMark, 2005). Building on the Slow Food movement’s focus on local sustainability, Susan’s new book, Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community and Bringing Decision-making Back Home, is about improving local democratic engagement.  She co-authored the book with Woden Teachout, it is due out in fall, 2012 (Chelsea Green Publishing).

She shares her thoughts on writing and publishing books here.

Susan's newest book is due out in the fall.  If you'd like to order her previous book about town meetings “All Those In Favor” from and simultaneously email her, she would be glad to inscribe the book (since the order comes directly to her).


David Sonnenfeld on writing for university presses, authoring textbooks, and the new interest in handbooks:

Sharon Smith, author of "The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World", on finding an agent and publisher, and what it takes to market a book successfully:

Additional resources:

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