Kristin Ohlson: The Soil Will Save Us


Kristin Ohlson
Rodale Books, March 18, 2014, hardcover, $23.99
ISBN: hardcover, 978-1-60961-554-3; ebook, 978-1-60961-555-0

Ohlson reports:

I had written an article about a Cleveland chef for Gourmet magazine, and stayed in touch with him over the years. He was a locavore pioneer, very active among farmers and ranchers, and a great source of article ideas for me.

One day he told me that many farmers were now paying attention to healthy soil, and monitoring the growing amount of carbon there, and even making the connection between increased soil carbon and decreased atmospheric carbon. I was interested.

Kristin Ohlson

I wrote an article for Discover magazine about the scientists involved in building soil carbon through more careful land use, then wrote a book proposal with the help of Jennifer Lawler, who does a class on this through the Freelance Success website. I already had an agent, and she was great about helping me whip the proposal into better shape.

Three publishers were interested. Rodale made the winning offer. I had a pretty tight schedule for turning the book around. Much of the research was done through phone interviews, but there was some travel to interview and observe in Vermont, North Dakota, Zimbabwe, and Australia.

When it came time to actually write the book, the material veered away from the outline in the proposal more than slightly. I think that has to happen because some things turn out to be not as interesting as you think early on, and you discover so many new things as you work. I had to work quickly, and am grateful that Rodale has a vigorous team of fact checkers.

Contact info:

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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 had known before you started your project, or done differently.


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Mar. 26, 2014

Advance Copy

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.

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