Don Reed: California Cures

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Cover: California Cures!

Cover: California Cures!


Don C. Reed
World Scientific Publishing Company, April 27, 2018, $78
ISBN-10: 981323136X; ISBN 13: 978-9813231368

Reed reports:

I felt frustrated by how little the general public knew about the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Even scientists showed little awareness about a program offering $3 billion in new research funds.

After I listed some of CIRM’s many accomplishments, World Scientific Publishing agreed to publish my second book on this topic. The first was Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond.

My original agent, Fred Hill of San Francisco, had died, but his partner, Bonnie Nadell of Los Angeles, took me on, and after that it was just normal work.

My structure was simple: Find a disease and somebody fighting it, and tell a story illustrating the struggle. I discussed 35 disorders and diseases, including “bubble baby” disorder, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, ALS, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, and epidermolysis bullosa.

One thing that kept the process fresh for me was using the outside world to make a point. For instance, when talking about blindness cure research, I talked about Michael Strogoff, a novel by Jules Verne, in which the czar’s courier was blinded but regained his sight.

What would I do differently? Learn to develop and maintain email lists. Study marketing from the beginning. I bought about a hundred (literally) books on the business aspects of writing, and studied them. I should have started that process long ago. One last tip: write every day. If you do, you are a writer: if not, not.

Contact Info:

Buy this book now in the ScienceWriters bookstore. Your purchase helps support NASW programs and services.

Don Reed is vice president of public policy at the Americans for Cures Foundation, founded and chaired by Proposition 71 author Robert Klein.

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

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.


Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 150 books and online resources to help you craft your book proposal, find an agent and funding sources, negotiate your contract, learn about self-publishing, publicize and market your book, and more at

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor,

May. 16, 2018

Drexel Science and Health Communication Concentration