A Contract With…

Good News Everyone!


The other day I put my signature on a contract to publish The Book!! Some of you might know about my somewhat unusual book project. It is a graphic book, written and drawn by me, all about science. Please tell your friends about it, especially the ones who think that the standard popular science book is not for them. This is very much not the standard popular science book, precisely because I want to broaden the range of people who read about science. The graphic book form has been stunningly underused in my field (physics) and I want that to change.

I used to say “graphic novel style book”, but because of the (well known) problematic naming convention for the form, I’m trying to stay away from that term, because people get confused about what the book is. (Not a novel, for example.) Anyway, it is a highly unusual project that I’ve been excited about for some time, and blogging about from time to time. The last year has seen me doing less on production and more on trying to explore the publishing world to get it in print. (I really do mean printed on actual paper, or I’d have explored other options by now: The self-publishing world has matured interestingly, I’ve discovered in my researches.)

That venture into the world of dealing with publishers turned out to be a huge adventure I ought to write a book about… All I will say here is beware of pitching too original an idea to traditional publishing people. If they can’t immediately narrowly classify it, you’re pretty close to doomed. Adding actual science (as opposed to just the whiff of science) typically makes things worse.

Happily, I can report that there are one or two creative and gutsy people out there willing to take the time and really listen, and to walk with you on an unusual path, since I managed (eventually) to find one, after digging really deeply. The amazing Alice Oven, a Senior Commissioning Editor at Imperial College Press “got” what I was trying to do and convinced her people at the Press that this was a worthwhile project to do, even though the format is way out of their comfort zone. I thank them all for that. (That it is a small, non-US, mostly academic press is probably not an accidental combination given the nature of the book.)

The book is due in 2017 (ish) and I’ve made a page where you can learn more about the whole project (and see samples) here.



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180 Responses to A Contract With…

  1. Ricky says:

    How do you manage being a physics professor, doing research, drawing, showbiz, gardening, caring for a newborn baby, writing a book, AND satisfying the wife?? You must be superman!

  2. Mary Cole says:

    Brilliant news.

  3. Mark Peifer says:

    A second child, due to be born when the first is approaching two. However, this one will likely lead to sleep deprivation before rather than after birth. Congrats!

  4. Nick says:

    All this good news is just wonderful! I love the concept of this book. One question, though, will the ideas discussed in the book be more on a technical level, or have a more casual air to the them?

  5. Clifford says:

    Hi Nick,

    Not sure what you mean… Maybe I have both elements of what you mean. Most conversations have elements of the more casual and the more detailed. So will the conversations in this book.


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