I caught the writing bug as a graduate student when a professor published my master’s thesis in his periodical. The next decade or so, I published dozens of research articles in academic books and journals. I got pretty good at writing scholarly articles, but I also realized that other than professors and grad students nobody else read them and that academic writing is incredibly boring, both to write and to read.
That’s when I decided to continue writing about nonfiction subjects close to my heart (youth and family issues), but this time by self-publishing nonfiction for readers who could use what I wrote in their everyday lives (parents and professionals).
I had an idea for writing a short book for parents of delinquent youth. I knew that most of them had no clue what was going on with their kids or how the juvenile justice system worked. I knew a lot about both, and I’d tell them what I knew in easy to read and understand terms.
I developed a format for the publication and began the grind of writing, re-writing and begging colleagues and friends to act as my nonfiction editors by critically reviewing and proofreading it. I got a printing quote for the 20-page booklet, plus a sales letter, and spent the better part of a month typing mailing labels, stuffing manila envelopes with copies and toting them to the Post Office for distribution to 4,500 family court judges and chief juvenile probation officers.
Juvenile and family courts in 47 states ordered 50,000 + copies of What Parents Should Know About Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice, William Gladden Foundation Press, 1983.
That’s how I learned to publish nonfiction.
Over the past 30 + years, I’ve authored, edited and published hundreds of nonfiction titles about youth and family issues.
Very seldom have I been bored!
Writing, editing and publishing nonfiction affords me a way to pursue my personal mission to educate parents and professionals about issues that affect young people and their families.
Where academic writing may have influenced theory, nonfiction allows me to share information with the people who can use it to change lives.
It gives me a voice.
Why do you write nonfiction?
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