Sergio Pistoi: DNA Nation

Cover: DNA Nation

Cover: DNA Nation


Sergio Pistoi
Crux Publishing, October 18 2019, Paperback: $13.99, Kindle: $6.66
ISBN-10: 1909979902; ISBN-13: 978-1909979901

Pistoi reports:

DNA NATION is the first book to address every aspect of direct-to-consumer genomics and its impact on research, society and identity.

Millions of people have already spat into a tube and got a read of their DNA online. These tools are the genetic equivalent of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter; they also bring new opportunities and dangers. Do these applications work? What can we tell by reading our genes? What happens if things go wrong and the data is misused or the trust abused?

Sergio Pistoi

Sergio Pistoi

The book is based on my experience as a molecular biologist and a science writer. I wrote it after reading my own DNA and I tried to keep a practical, witty angle suitable to a broad audience.

The project started in 2012 when I published a book in Italian, Il DNA Incontra Facebook (DNA meets Facebook). The title looked so far-fetched that a few bookshops shelved the book under SciFi! The book won a major award in Italy and spawned invitations to events and conferences. The intense speaking activity enabled me to gather feedback and refine my narrative.

Following the advice of an editorial consultant, I put together a proposal for a new book in English building on my research instead of trying to sell the translation rights, which I owned. After many queries I finally landed a UK agent who was thrilled about the proposal and helped strike a deal with a publisher. We opted for a digital-first approach, which is more flexible than the traditional model and brings more royalties to the author.

My advice to new authors is to never despair: it takes months or years of hard work to find an agent and get a deal. Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to invest time and resources to build an author platform on social networks, perfect your proposal, and improve your presentation skills. Being recognized as a brilliant speaker brings many opportunities to promote your title at events. Speaking engagements fueled by your books can even become a bigger source of revenue than the royalties.

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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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January 8, 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.

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