What I'd Wished I'd Known Before I Published
Writing a book is hard (at least for me it is). Trying to find a publisher is even harder. Like so many things in life, the key is persistence. It's not a guarantee of success, but it sure improves the odds. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. I spoke to an author who found a publisher on her first try! That was certainly not my experience.
I found that in the face of rejection, you have to somehow find the inner strength to overcome your self-doubt and keep on trying. Like I said, it ain't easy. But success is possible. I'm an example. My first full-length book, Einstein Relatively Simple, is about to be published. (I still can't believe it.) It's for those who always wanted to understand Einstein's ideas but perhaps never thought it possible. (Shameless plug.)
The road to publication was long and difficult. Here are a couple of things I wished I had done to make it easier:
1. Listen to the experts — At my first book fair, I was told by a literary agent and a bookseller that my manuscript would have its best chance with an academic press. But I was stubborn — I wanted to try for an agent and major New York publisher first. After lots of rejections, I found an agent. She was unable to find a publisher. They praised the writing but not the market. So I turned to academic publishers on my own. After more rejections and two "almosts", an academic publisher said yes. I thought I would burst with joy.
I should have taken the advice of the experts and queried academic publishers first. It would have saved many months of time and heartache.
2. Listen to your reviewers. – Early on, I asked (begged) some friends, two physics experts, and a published author to critique drafts of my book. Several told me the book was too long. But I couldn't bear to "cut my darlings". Two years later, an editor advised me to cut the book by a third. I did this with the help of my wife. I then began to receive serious interest in the book — resulting in a publisher.
As an author you have to evaluate criticisms from draft reviewers and decide for yourself what to change. But chances are when someone tells you your book is too long, it probably is.
My wife urged me to seek academic publishers first, and to cut the size of the book. That's another lesson learned: always listen to your wife!
Ira Mark Egdall is also the author of the eBook Unsung Heroes of the Universe and a popular science writer for DecodedScience.com. He is a retired aerospace program manager with an undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. Mark now teaches lay courses in modern physics at Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University. He also gives entertaining talks on Einstein and time travel. When not thinking about physics, Mark spends his time playing with his grandchildren and driving his wife of 45 years crazy.
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company (February 24, 2014)
Genre: Popular Science
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
Einstein Relatively Simple brings together for the first time an exceptionally clear explanation of both special and general relativity. It is for people who always wanted to understand Einstein’s ideas but never thought it possible.
Told with humor, enthusiasm, and rare clarity, this entertaining book reveals how a former high school drop-out revolutionized our concepts of space and time. From E=mc2 and everyday time travel to black holes and the big bang, the book takes us all, regardless of any scientific background, on a mindboggling journey through the depths of Einstein's universe.
Along the way, we track Einstein through the perils and triumphs of his life — follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights — and chronicle the audacity, imagination, and sheer genius of the man recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern era.
All knowledge begins in wonder.
In June of 1905, former high-school drop-out and lowly patent clerk Albert Einstein published a paper in the German Annals of Physics which revolutionized our understanding of space and time. What came to be known as the theory of special relativity predicted a strange new universe where time slows and space shrinks with motion.
In that same journal, Einstein proposed light comes in discreet packets of energy we now call photons. Along with Max Planck’s work, this insight sparked the quantum revolution. This in turn set off the greatest technological revolution in human history — enabling the invention of television, transistors, electronic digital computers, cell phones, digital cameras, lasers, the electron microscope, atomic clocks, MRI, sonograms, and many more modern-day devices.
Einstein’s follow-up article in September of 1905 proposed that mass and energy are equivalent. His famous equation, E = mc2, came to solve one of the great mysteries of modern science — how the Sun and stars shine. Some four decades later, Einstein’s breakthrough ushered in the atomic age.
In December of 1915, Albert Einstein — now Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Berlin — surpassed his already staggering accomplishments. In the midst of the turmoil and hardships of World War I, he produced his life’s masterpiece: a new theory of gravity. His audacious general theory of relativity revealed a cosmos beyond our wildest imagination. It predicted phenomena so bizarre even Einstein initially doubted their existence — black holes which trap light and stop time, wormholes which form gravitational time machines, the expansion of space itself, and the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago in the ultimate cosmic event: the Big Bang.
Not since Isaac Newton had a single physicist attained such monumental breakthroughs, and no scientist since has matched his breathtaking achievements. In recognition, TIME magazine selected Albert Einstein above such luminaries as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi, as the “Person of the Century” — the single individual with the most significant impact on the 20th century.
Albert Einstein has long since passed from this corporal world. Yet his fame lives on. His discoveries inspire today’s generation of physicists — providing stepping stones to a new understanding of the cosmos and perhaps someday a unified theory of all physics. His brilliance, independence of mind, and persistence continue to be an inspiration to us all. He remains the iconic figure of science, whose genius transcends the limits of human understanding.
I wrote Einstein Relatively Simple to tell Einstein’s story — to hopefully provide the non-expert a clear, step-by-step explanation of how he came to develop both special and general relativity. My goal is a book which is comprehensive, fun to read, and most important, understandable to the lay reader . . .
So come explore how an unknown patent clerk came to develop a new theory of time and space, how he came to supplant the illustrious Isaac Newton with a new theory of gravity. Along the way we will examine the mind of Albert Einstein, who preferred to think in pictures rather than words, follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights.
To quote one of my students; “You’ll never look at the universe the same way again!”
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2 Ebooks (Open Internationally)
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