Adam Rogers: PROOF

Adam Rogers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; May 27, 2014; $26.00
ISBN: 978-0-547-89796-7

Rogers reports:

In 2011 I wrote an article for Wired about a mysterious fungus that lives on whisky fumes, and as a result fell down a booze-science rabbit hole. My filing cabinet and computer were stuffed with journal and magazine articles about how booze is made, where it comes from, and the researchers trying to understand and improve it.

Plus, I was already kind of a cocktail nerd. An infographic about how a distillery works, in a book I’d bought for research, gave me my structure — from yeast to fermenting to distilling to aging to drinking, essentially. Once I had that, I got to report from two of my favorite kinds of places: laboratories and places where they make drinks.

Adam Rogers, photo by Celine Mikahala Grouard

My book contract was super-traditional. I wrote a proposal, sent it to agents, chose one who liked it, and he took it to publishers. The process was both exciting and straightforward: I think the business-side folks liked the idea of a book that might appeal to both science folks and readers interested in booze and food. They also like writers with magazine experience.

The actual writing turned out to be viciously hard. I learned that as a magazine writer and editor, I’m trained to think in 200-word chunks and 4,000-word chunks. Building chapters of 8,000 words as components of a 100,000-word manuscript was a whole other kind of weight to lift, as any experienced book writer would have told me.

Contact info:

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion.

Tell your fellow NASW members tell how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, conducted research, put the book together, and what you wish you’d known before you started your project.


Send info and images to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor,

May 28, 2014

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit for information on submitting your report.

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