Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Magic Formula for Writing a Good Book for a General Audience

I am writing a book about how our cities will adapt to climate change. I'm trying to write a serious book but a book that people might actually crack open on the airplane or in the shower. The New York Times Book Review shows me what they are "good books" (by their choices of what to review) and what the witty critics have to say. Here is a book that caught my eye. To be gay in the pre-AIDS 1970s New York City is an interesting topic. This author has written a "tell all".

My book won't tell all and this has me thinking. Houston, do I have a problem? In this day and age, what do the words "good book" actually mean? Unlike a Bob Woodward, I do not have a nugget of information that world has been dying to know (who is Deep Throat?) but doesn't know. Instead, I'm a mildly smart man who has a huge number of ideas about our future in the face of climate change and many of these ideas fly in the face of the conventional wisdom. That's all I've got.

3 comments :

Ironman said...

You could always title the book "Ecofreakonomics" - might be worth checking with Dubner and Levitt to see if they're open to expanding the franchise....

Josh said...

Just title it, "Sex." And have pictures of people having sex.

Do you want to write a book, or make a lot of money? Because, with rare exception, you can't do both.

As for the idea, it sounds like you will do alright for yourself, as long as you have reasonable people edit it who can understand econo-babble and help to translate it when you fall too far into it. Unless you are trying to write a text book, in which case, make up about one-third of your technical terms, and name a couple of ideas after either eminent economists or at least the folks who will review your work. It always helps to know your audience.

Judson Parker said...

I hope it comes in a waterproof version so that I can read it in the shower!

Enjoying your blog and content.