Q&A: Going from Book Proposal to Published Book

Academic writer Megan Moreno, MD, publishes for parentsWhen adolescent-medicine physician and longtime academic Megan Moreno, MD, embarked on writing her first book for parents rather than professionals, she was excited to jump in, if not sure of exactly what to expect from the process. Her book, Sex, Drugs ’n Facebook: A Parent’s Toolkit for Promoting Healthy Internet Use was released October 1 from Hunter House. Here are some of Dr. Moreno’s words of wisdom to other authors making the transition from speaking to their particular industry to the larger lay audience.

StyleMatters: What did you enjoy most about this book project?

Dr. Moreno: Creating the book proposal [to pitch the project to publishers] was one of my favorite parts—from deciding the content to organizing it into chapters. I enjoyed taking this conceptual idea and a dream that I had and deciding how to operationalize it. To me, that was really exciting.

StyleMatters: Was there something about this whole process that surprised you?

Dr. Moreno: In the field of academic publishing, deadlines are very rigid, whereas I found the deadlines to be more soft in mainstream publishing, at least for this particular book. That meant that the publication date for my book shifted back from the original plan, which taught me to adjust expectations and have some extra patience!

StyleMatters: How did you decide which publisher to go with for your book?

Dr. Moreno: Late in the process of shopping the book around, after we had clear interest from Hunter House, the door opened for further review of our book proposal at one of the big-name publishers. I had to decide whether to delay the whole process in hopes that we might gain their interest, or keep moving ahead with a sure thing. In the end, I decided to proceed with Hunter House because my team and I had a clear window of opportunity to get the book written right then and it wasn’t worth the risk of losing that valuable time. I was also excited by the personal attention that Hunter House offered to us and their enthusiasm for bringing the book to market.

StyleMatters: Looking back, would you do anything differently?

Dr. Moreno: I haven’t given the decision [to go with Hunter House] a second thought. I really appreciate the way that they gave my team a lot of creative license with the interior photos and the cover design. We wanted to make sure we had a neutral cover that didn’t overinflate the dangers [of social media], and we had the freedom to do that with a smaller publisher. They were also great about accommodating my desire to acknowledge all of the other team members who contributed, by putting a note at the end of each chapter. I’m not sure a larger publisher would have been so willing.

StyleMatters: Do you have any wisdom, advice, or words of support for other authors in the process of trying to get their own book written and published?

Dr. Moreno: One of the biggest things I learned through the process is that just because you know how to write in a certain voice or in your field doesn’t mean you know how to write a book for the mainstream. It’s really two different languages. Having someone [like a book editor] to help you learn that new voice can be really important.

Also, I had thought that writing the book proposal would be like an appetizer to the main course of the book. Instead, it was a lovely process in and of itself, and everything flowed from the front end of creating that book proposal.

Last, I would encourage other authors to align their expectations: Publishing deadlines may not be set in stone. It helps to have patience as your publisher finalizes all the little details of publication that you may not be privy to. The publication date will eventually come!

To learn more about Dr. Moreno’s book, click here. To learn more about hiring a book editor for your book proposal, contact StyleMatters at info@style-matters.com

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