posted June 15, 2004 04:07 PM
Within this wonderfully eclectic group of space enthusiasts, there are many who will have given serious thought to writing a book one day on their particular facet of interest. Early last year I was appointed series editor for a set of eight books on the social history of space flight to be published by a very reputable American university press, and given a mandate to seek out suitable authors for these books. I have admittedly gone about this task with little fanfare, but I have discussed the project with many people of my choosing, and received submissions from several. My responsibility as series editor is to seek out and work with any potential authors who wish to submit a proposal, to discuss their completed proposal with them, and to submit it together with my thoughts and recommedations to the chief editor at the university press. At this point of time, I am pleased to say the first three books in the series are now securely under contract, with a fourth submission accepted and contracts about to be exchanged.
I have decided it is now time to widen the parameters a little, and with this in mind I want to invite submissions from interested people within collectSPACE, but only those who who know they have the ability, perseverence and background to complete a book for this series. As mentioned, this series will deal with the human face of the history of space exploration, and consequently they will not be overly-technical, so the authors must be willing (and comfortable) to conduct personal or telephone/email interviews with people, including astronauts, relevant to their particular book. The fact that you will be writing a fully-contracted book and under a timetable will open many doors that may be closed to those who are simply researching for a possible publication.
I will furnish any prospective series author with a letter of authority to proceed from the university press, confirming me as Series Editor on their behalf.
The four remaining books for which I hope to secure authors are:
(1) The history and development of the space shuttle, which will take in the prototype test drops and first flights, and end with the loss, and aftermath, of Challenger.
(2) A second shuttle book which will take the reader through to the loss of Columbia, and the hoped-for return to flight missions.
(3) Satellites, space probes and planetary exploration of the two principal space nations, and later participants. The human element is essential, so planners, developers, scientists, specialists and controllers will have their stories told.
(4) Mir and the ISS - a look at both space stations, their construction, and the crews that occupied them.
Any potential author should have a good, solid writing and investigative background, and while the authorship of any previous books is not a prerequisite (in fact I am trying to encourage new spaceflight authors), I must be able to determine that they are capable of completing a well-constructed, completely factual and impressive book, and to be able to complete this task within about a two-year period.
I am seeking serious applications only, so if you feel you might qualify, and would like further information on how to put in what is a fairly comprehensive submission for one of the above books, then please contact me through my email address, which is attached by symbol above this post. I will send you a more detailed outline of this project and each of the books in the series, and what you would be required to submit in your proposal. Please contact me personally - do not indicate your interest by posting on this forum. However I would be pleased to respond to any general questions from forum readers, although forgive me if I do not reveal too many further details of the series at this time.
Financially, you will be offered a sizeable advance against initial royalties, and rising royalties beyond. As far as overall remuneration is concerned, it is a fairly standard publishing industry contract, with no catches and no hidden clauses. While these books are being produced as part of a series, each is intended to stand alone, in its own right. Two of the books now being written have co-authors, and if you feel you have something to offer as a possible co-author rather than a full author then please let me know. If any former (not current) astronauts are well known to you, you might also want to consider asking them to become a technical co-author with you.
Many thanks to all,