So, I Wrote a Book

Photo credit: Sarah Scicluna. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Sarah Scicluna. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

So, I wrote a book. It’s called The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers, and if you’re the sort of person who enjoys reading this blog, I have high hopes that you’ll find it useful and interesting.

What was I thinking?

Scilogs Book SIDEBARI’ve spent the past three years writing about the practical aspects of science communication, on this blog and elsewhere. Somewhat to my surprise, a lot of folks were interested in what I had to say.

It occurred to me that, if what I was writing really was useful and informative, maybe I should write a book about it. My goal was to pull together a handbook that offered some guidance to people who have an interest in what I do – engage in public relations or media relations to promote research in a meaningful way. I wanted it to be concise, honest and packed with both basic information on how to do this job and tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

Having never written a book before, I had no idea how to go about it. But with guidance from friends and acquaintances, I pulled together a book proposal and ultimately sold the idea to the University of Chicago Press. A periodically frantic period of writing and editing ensued, and now the book’s scheduled to come out in early August. (Shameless plug: you can order it now.)

I have no idea what people will think of the book, but I’m optimistic that they’ll like it. The one thing I do know is that it’s the best book I could make it. I also know that, since submitting the final manuscript, I’ve already thought of several things I’d like to add. And I wish the title were catchier. But I suspect those concerns are not unusual for authors once it’s too late to change anything in a book.

I’m also optimistic that people will actually read the book. In the past couple of years I’ve been contacted by folks from universities, magazines, non-profit organizations and other places that have questions about science communication. I don’t always have answers, but I love their questions. They help me think about science communication – its challenges and opportunities – in new ways. And that generally gives me new ideas for how to do my job more effectively.

If you read the book, please let me know what you think. What makes sense? What’s useful? What is it missing? What do you think I got wildly wrong? I really want to know.

One Other Thing

Regular readers of this blog have likely noticed that I haven’t written much in the past couple of months.

One reason for that is that I recently took a new job, still at NC State University, as research communications lead for the university. I’m still adjusting to my new role and responsibilities, but hope to settle into a more regular routine in the near future. But the biggest reason for the blogging dry spell is that I just feel tapped out for the moment.

I only write when I feel inspired to share something, or question something, or advocate for something that I think is either interesting or important. For whatever reason, that inspiration simply hasn’t been forthcoming recently.

I have a number of obligations to attend to over the next few weeks that will keep me, for the most part, away from my desk. But I’m planning to return to blogging – with gusto! – before the summer is out.

Thanks for reading, and please do let me know what you think of the book.

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6 thoughts on “So, I Wrote a Book

  1. Jennifer

    I think this is a fabulous idea, and I’ll be buying a copy of the book this week! Congratulations on your new gig; NC State is lucky to have someone with expertise of this importance.

    Like

  2. Elizabeth W.

    Congratulations, Matt! I just ordered and look forward to reading it! Also, look forward to the return of your blog posts. Congratulations on the new post at NC State, too!

    Like

  3. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] The Book for Science Bloggers (or Anyone Thinking About Starting a Blog) › Communication Breakdown

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