Inside the business of writing "science"

Monday's efforts are all about moving EarthFort's efforts to write a book forward.

Monday I will make 2 trips for research. One to the Benton County public library in an effort to see what is commonly available to the local public in terms of information on soil and also to OSU library to see some of the older information available on soil.

I expect this will give me a handle on the marketing section of the proposal, giving me local and historical evidence in support of the book.

Here comes the more dry, writing business type information:

I do not charge for research time unless it has been insisted upon in the contract as a precursor to writing the book. Why not when it is obvious that it is pointed toward the proposal effort?

Research is never straight forward. There are many opportunities to go on tangents. Those tangents may or may not provide useful information to the effort, but if I charged for 6 hours of research time, and only 1 hour provided useful information for this particular effort, that's 5 hours of time literally wasted for the customer even if I use that information for some other purpose later on.

I would like to see if I can replicate the fashion in which someone from the local community not familiar with electronic/internet research into soil would go about trying to gain information the book provides. This will not only give the book a marketing edge, but also provide a few hints on what people may look for in this book that are not necessarily what I anticipate.

Writing science based books is not like writing science fiction. In sci-fi, I am either pushing the story forward with support from science, or I am basing the story around a specific science concept. This means I can fudge it. I can push the boundaries, I can even outright boldly lie as long as the reader is happy.

A science based informational book has to convince the reader to trust them even if they are NOT happy with the answer by using information that is solidly backed up by evidence. I have to be very careful where I step, which means it can be a finicky process. The proposal more so than the actual book, because for the actual book, I have access to a true expert and I can monopolize that resource all I want. The proposal not only has to convince someone that the book is a good idea, but that it is truly necessary, even integral to a range of communities. The proposal has to convince publishers that THEY have to be the one to put this book out. My job is to anticipate questions, objections, and potential rivals to this information. This isn't easy. It's about a hundred times easier to actually write a book. Luckily, I enjoy the challenge.


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