Sarah Scoles: They Are Already Here

They Are Already Here

They Are Already Here

THEY ARE ALREADY HERE:
UFO CULTURE AND WHY WE SEE SAUCERS

Sarah Scoles
Pegasus Books, March 3, 2020,
Hardcover, $27.95, ebook, $26.23
ISBN-10: 1643133055; ISBN-13: 9781643133058
ASIN: B07VWKZ2QP

Scoles reports:

In December 2017, I read a New York Times article describing a Pentagon program that allegedly studied UFOs. I’d never cared much about UFOs, beyond thinking they weren’t real. I saw holes, conflicts of interest. Most of the sources were part of a company that sold books and movies about UFOs. On assignment for Wired magazine, I began to investigate.

I started following UFO blogs and watching “ufologists” interact online. I found that many were impressive investigators. I identified with them in a way I didn’t expect—and that made me wonder what drew them to this fringe field.

Sarah Scoles

Sarah Scoles

This book is my attempt to find out. I spent time at community groups, moneymaking conferences, and legendary areas like Roswell and Area 51, meeting people and learning how their conceptions of UFOs link up with politics, history, checkbooks, religion, celebrity, science, and trust in scientific methods.

I developed the proposal by picking one location/event/group per chapter, deciding what it illuminated about UFO culture, learning about one main person within that world, and using that person’s story to illustrate the “point” of each chapter.

I had an agent from a previous book. She showed the proposal to the previous book’s publisher, which bought it.

Reporting this book allowed me to interact with people I wouldn’t have otherwise, and to exercise emotional imagination. I wish I’d known how stressful it could be to interact online with the trolls of the community, however. Partly in light of that, I kept the book’s scope fairly narrow. I decided that I wanted to spend a limited amount of time, about a year and a half, reporting the book, and so could not write a comprehensive survey of the whole field but would have to focus on specific events, communities, and parts of history.

This experience showed me that you could spend decades reporting and writing the definitive UFO tome, or you could sharpen your focus and have a book that isn’t about everything but nevertheless says something useful and true. Those are both valuable, just different, kinds of books.

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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.

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Mar. 4, 2020

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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