cj#855> re-2: my book & publishers

1998-10-18

Richard Moore

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From: •••@••.••• (John Trechak)
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#854> re: my book & publishers

I agree that you have the makings of a great book. But as a publisher-editor,
I also think the publishers' suggestions you have been given are excellent.
Thank you for sharing.

--John Trechak, Pasadena, Calif.

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Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998
From: John McLaren <•••@••.•••>
Organization: Advocates Ink
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#854> re: my book & publishers

rkm:
 > I'm in contact with a publisher, and the editor is working with me to
 > develop the material.  They want the material to be developed on a more
 > bottom-up, example-based manner.  My style has been to present conclusions,
 > and then add the "evidence" to provide "proof".  This is how things are
 > done in math and science.  They want something that draws the reader along
 > and "shares the experience of discovery".  Examples leading up to
 > conclusions.

  > This seems like a major challenge, but it also makes sense.

I doesn't make any sense to me. Such books are the bane of my of
any intelligent reader's existence. Your editor would do better to
think of him/her self as a publicist or run-of-the-mill journalist,
whose main aim is to capture the interest of readers who can't
distinguish between an episodic work of literature and argumentation
or exposition. It all depends which comes first: what you have to
say, or what you have to sell. An intelligent reader has only
determine whether s/he has time to winnow the chaff just to uncover
the argument.

Good luck in getting your message across. You'll need it.
Alternatively, try J.K. Galbraith's publisher.

Regards

John
McLaren

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Dear cj,

I appreciate the above feedack.  I myself am of two minds.  My policy so
far has been to write for people who are relatively well-informed, which
makes writing much easier and makes articles shorter and perhaps more
useful to those audiences -- as John McClaren suggests.  With such
audiences one can assume that "corporate rule", for example, is a familiar
concept, even if there are disagreements about what it means, how
well-organized it is, etc.

For a more general audience, one needs to provide more background material
and more visceral examples.  The book would become longer, and there is a
danger the forest (the main points of the book) would be lost in the trees
(all the background material).  But if the book could reach general
audiences without losing its main points, then the book could be of greater
immediate social value.  In my fantasies of being a successful writer, I
think of Rachel Carson's "The Silent Spring".  By reaching large audiences
with a radical understanding of environmental dangers, she helped spark a
shift in public consciousness, and did much to enable the environmental
movement which followed.

What she said was probably already available in specialist journals, but by
widely and cogently publicising the information, it was given social and
political potency.  Previously existing experts were then able to speak out
in a new way, and find wider audiences.  What had been _known before could
then be _said publicly.

What I'm planning to do is pick one chapter and try to rewrite it, as best
I can, so that it is more generally accessible and persuasive, without
losing its focus and impact (such as they are).  If I can succeed at this,
then the book would have a better chance of producing a "Carson effect", of
shifting public consciousness in various ways, of opening up public debate
about globalization, democracy, elite power, and radical social change.

If I can't succeed in such a rewrite, and I may simply be the wrong kind of
writer for such a project, then I suppose I'd revert to the original plan
and try to find a publisher who is willing to publish a book aimed at a
narrower audience.  In that case whatever social value the book offers
would come indirectly, by influencing other writers who are able to reach
larger audiences.  Such a "delay" is of course very costly, given the rapid
consolidation of centralist elite power.

That's the theory, and I'll be starting on the rewrite next week.

Further comments would be welcome.

What I'd _really like, would be to partner with a well-published co-author
who could do this kind of rewrite better and faster than I could so I could
focus on completing the original manuscript and on making sure the
strategic points are adequately made in the final book.

rkm

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Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998
From: Dave Moore <•••@••.•••>
Subject: cj#854> re: my book & publishers

rich,
        dave moore here.  how about this for chapt 3's title:

chapt 3.   evolution of capitalism.  from economic freedom to global
domination, by way of the corporation.

it fits the catchy format you've used for the first 2 chapter
titles/descriptors.

just a thought,
dave

---------------

bro' dave,

you could be right... my previous title for chapter 3 was: "Evolution of
capitalism: from competition to elite tyranny, by way of Wall Street",
which is closer to your suggestion.

The change was mainly to get something about the environment into the Part
I TOC ("finite Earth") since sustainability is so important to the rest of
the book.

rkm

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