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In some cases, critics give bad reviews because they "fail to absorb the book," he says.In other instances, a reviewer might be simply mistaken about the science.
"It's not so much for publicity, but more for communicating ideas--which is what popular science books are really all about." --A. Before visions of fame and fortune begin to orbit your mind, consider that Hawking's megasuc-cess--while always a possible payoff of the effort of writing a book--is rare for any genre. Professor of Science, usually relies on one of two methods.
Quite simply, I love to write." Says Gould, author of Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (New York, W. Ferris, who does not do research and considers himself a writer rather than a scientist, offers some inside, objective advice: "Scientists need to appreciate the time factor, as well as the fact that writing a mass-market book is most likely harder than what they're used to writing. Try your hand at a short essay and determine if it's enjoyable for you to take complex information and make it informative for, and entertaining to, nonscientists. Determine if you have an ability to use metaphors or other literary techniques, and most important, if you enjoy the process. Write up a proposal, consisting of an overview of what the book will cover, an outline, and a couple of sample chapters. Get a good literary agent who is willing to help you shape the proposal and take the book around to publishers. Once you get a deal, make sure you schedule the appropriate amount of time to do the project. During the writing phase, communicate with your agent and your editor about any problems or difficult passages. Hazen, who is also a professor of earth sciences at George Mason University, says that the most effective approach is to tell stories.
"They need, too, to understand that there's no way the general reading public can really understand a concept unless [the author] can put it in clear, simple language." Indeed, writing a mass-market book is an experiment of sorts in a laboratory very different from the one to which scientists are accustomed. Says Hazen, who is also the coauthor, with George Mason physics professor James Trefil, of Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy (Doubleday & Co., New York, 1991): "People like, and can relate to, and are entertained by stories.
This is not some celebration of how great a guy you are, and it's not a two-week vacation in Hawaii." Ronald K. He offers this advice to avoid burnout from lengthy book tours: "Watch or listen to the shows the publicist has scheduled for you, and be selective.
Siegel, a psychopharmacologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, received much media attention from his book Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise (New York, E. Know that radio call-in shows can be done over the phone from your office. With so many scientists entering the world of mass-market publishing, maybe you're thinking about writing a book for a popular audience or have been approached by a publisher about doing so.