Rectangular photo of Rebecca Boyle’s office bookshelves showing works on the moon, the Solar System, tides, cosmology, and astronomy. Photo credit: Rebecca Boyle.

Rebecca Boyle—Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are

Cover of the book Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are by Rebecca Boyle, showing the title above a nightscape where two coyotes bay at the luminous moon.

Our Moon

OUR MOON: HOW EARTH'S CELESTIAL COMPANION TRANSFORMED THE PLANET, GUIDED EVOLUTION, AND MADE US WHO WE ARE
Rebecca Boyle
Random House, January 16, 2024
Hardback, $28.99, eBook, $13.99, Audio Book, $28
Hardback ISBN-13: 9780593129722
eBook ASIN: B0C2PF3RTV
Audio Book ASIN: B0C4BYYQC4

Boyle reports:

This book was inspired in part by my reporting on the formation of the Moon, which is a hot debate in planetary science, and even more so by my lifelong love of the Moon.

I feel the Moon is often taken for granted, even in astronomy, which is my primary beat as a science journalist. I wanted to tell its story, especially through the lens of modern efforts to return to the Moon’s surface and make money.

Portrait photo of Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca Boyle
Photo by Randall Kahn

I developed a proposal with the help of my wonderful agent, Laurie Abkemeier, whom I met through a good friend after he published his first book. The proposal took a few months to write and revise, but it paid off. I was thrilled that Hilary Redmon at Random House bought it in a pre-empt.

I used part of my advance to fund my reporting, including travel throughout Europe and the US. I also spent a ton of time in libraries. During pandemic shutdowns, I spent money on Abebooks. I have a background in history, so I tried to find primary sources for my conclusions. Sometimes this involved things like reading translations of Sumerian cuneiform script, which was fun.

Before I started working on the book, I wish I had known that writing a book was, for me, nothing like writing a series of magazine features, but instead a complete restructuring of my writing life and mind. It was much more difficult and much more fun than I anticipated. The research and writing was the best part, so far, and I hope to do it again.

I wish that I had known the Covid-19 pandemic would happen while I was trying to write my first draft, because I would have asked for a longer extension of my initial deadline. That said, I truly would not have done anything differently.

I went through the pandemic and then had a surprise baby while working on this book. While difficult at the time, I think juggling all those very different things helped me clarify what mattered—in my life and in this book. I am proud of it all and would not change a thing.

Contact info:


NASW members: will your book be published soon? Promote it by submitting 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.

See https://www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines.

View Advance Copy archives at https://www.nasw.org/member-article/advance-copy.

Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 200 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 https://www.nasw.org/article/write-book.

View the recording of a recent Advance Copy Virtual Business Chat, A Primer for Authors on Book Publicity. NASW member login required.

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor, llamberg@nasw.org.

Follow @LynneLamberg on X (Twitter) and @lynnelamberg.bsky.social on Blue Sky for news about science/medical books, writing, and NASW authors.

Banner image adapted from original photo by Rebecca Boyle.

January 17, 2024

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 www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

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