I’ve just signed a contract with Adventure Publications (external link). They’re the leading guidebook publisher in the United States. The working title is “A Beginner’s Guide to Rockhounding and Prospecting in the Southwest.”
Just what makes up the Southwestern United States is difficult to say. There are no agreed boundaries for the region. For my book, the Southwestern United States comprises southern Utah, Southern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, the Mojave Desert in Nevada, and the Mojave and Colorado Deserts in California. If one wants a larger area, the greater Southwest may extend to all of Nevada and Utah, this collective often known as The Desert States.
This contract came about after submitting two proposals. The first proposal contained a sample chapter written in an essay style. The working title was “Stories Behind The Stones,” a look at the people of the rock, gem, and mineral trade in the American West. My editor at Adventure liked my writing but told me immediately that their marketing people wouldn’t be able to sell it. There wouldn’t be any reason to bring it to Adventure’s acquisition committee.
The editor and I then talked about what might sell. After many e-mails, we hit on the idea of a beginner’s guide to rockhounding in the Southwest. I then wrote an entirely new proposal. My new sample chapter was written in guidebook style, a complete departure from the essay style I had used before. No more “I’s”, “You’s” or “We’s”. No personal story telling. A rather detached way of writing. Instead of writing, “You should remember this,” guidebook style might read, “The prospector should remember this.” Or simply, “Remember this.”
I also developed a very long table of contents, almost an outline. This was excellent practice for me as it crystallized my thoughts about the book; it gave all my floating ideas a place to land on paper. It now serves as a blueprint for the book.
I’ll write more about my book writing experience as the months go on. My deadline to furnish a complete MS isn’t until mid- 2019 so I should have plenty of time. To further my education, I’ve enrolled in an online geology course offered by BYU. (external link) It’s a university level course spanning 24 lessons. It should advance my understanding and enhance my writing.
More details to follow!
Hacked map from Wikipedia. Book illustrations will be coherent and original.