Last semester, as part of my graduate coursework in public administration, I took two classes. The Policy Analysis class required a research paper which would evaluate a policy of my choosing and make a policy proposal based on the research. The other class was a self-directed course called Readings in Political Science. That class required choosing a research topic, finding sources and creating a series of small “book reports” on them, and then delivering a final research paper.
A friend sent me a thought-provoking article on Australia’s recent “plain packaging” laws for cigarettes, and I took an interest in municipal water fluoridation after working with author Nancy Addison. The research was challenging, especially since we are expected at the graduate level to do this all with minimal supervision and feedback. But, it was also rewarding to choose my own learning path and to reach the end of the semester with a much deeper awareness of how these policies came into being, both at the local level and on the increasingly complex international stage.
I received A’s on the papers and decided to collect them in this small 70-page volume, Tobacco & Fluoride: Two Essays on Domestic and International Public Health Policy. The book is now available in paperback and in a Kindle version. It sits nicely on the shelf with the essays from the previous semester, collected as Patents & Public Health: Two Essays on Medicine and Genetics as Intellectual Property.
FROM THE INTRODUCTION:
Consider two substances, each with a body of research confirming its toxicity to human beings. People consume one of the substances for pleasure, and the other for its supposed health benefits. The World Health Organization actively bands nations together to reduce the marketability and consumption of the former, yet promotes the latter as an effective health measure. The essays in this book examine the policies governing these two substances: tobacco and fluoride.
Tobacco control policies have gained significant traction as nations around the world evaluate the success of Australia’s recent laws concerning cigarette packaging. Given impetus by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, these policies have met with little public resistance, their sole opponents the companies which manufacture tobacco products.
At the same time, another movement has gained traction: the opposition to adding fluoride to municipal water systems. Though the World Health Organization advocates fluoridation, a growing number of researchers and voters have called its touted benefits into question. Unlike tobacco, the efforts to eliminate fluoride have met resistance from the medical establishment.
What is the future of these two substances, each known to have harmful effects on human beings and yet viewed so differently in the court of public opinion? The two essays in this book will answer that question. Thank you for reading.
In April, I worked with Nancy Addison to produce a Kindle book called Lose Weight, Get Healthy. If you are not familiar with Nancy’s work, this inexpensive Kindle book makes a great introduction to her insightful teachings on nutrition and health. The hardest part about copyediting and formatting Nancy’s books is how hungry I get every time I read them – especially the recipes!
Much like the books on leadership and personal finance I have worked on recently, Lose Weight, Get Healthy gave me a unique opportunity to learn as I worked. It is such a pleasure to work with authors who have vital, important information to share, and to work on books I know will make a meaningful difference in the lives of their readers.
Lose Weight, Get Healthy is now available for Kindle.
We are currently working on a second edition of Nancy’s most famous work, How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian.
Magpie in Flight
Light and shadow create complex shapes on the bold feathers of a magpie in flight in this black and white drawing created with Micron 05 fine point pen, calligraphy pen, and Sharpie marker.
8×10 aspect ratio, from a high-resolution (300 dpi) scan.
Author Nancy Addison will launch her new book this week, Raising Healthy Children: Health and Nutrition Information, Recipes, and Resources. You can now find it in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I came to this project only near the end, but the team has been working hard the last three or four weeks to make important updates and changes before this week’s launch.
I love seeing my customers’ books go “live” on Amazon. Much of my technical work results in intangibles like Excel databases and spreadsheets, and the information inside them is confidential. But a printed book has form and substance, and the information inside is meant to be shared with others to enrich their lives. Working on books is often challenging but always satisfying.
Few things bring me more satisfaction than seeing a customer’s book transformed from a manuscript into a new book in print. This week, you will see a new author on Amazon: Dave Ramsey Certified Financial Coach Taras Collum. His 530-page guide to all the basics of personal and small business finance is called Financial Wellness: A Proven Process to Change Your Behavior and Start Winning with Money.
The full-color cover came to us from graphic designer Laura Orsini of Write | Market | Design. I designed the interior, which means everything from choosing fonts to setting up page size and formatting all the graphic elements for print. Though most of the unfinished manuscript had been edited in 2013, Taras worked with me to create three new chapters and comprehensively update it.
Aside from editing and design, I also help authors navigate the process of setting up their books on the Createspace platform. It is a great platform for self-publishing, but there are many requirements to meet and decisions to make. It can be overwhelming for a first-time author. I know. I was one, once!
But no matter how much support I offer, I always encourage authors to click that very last button to approve the final proof, making their book go live on the worldwide web. The only thing that beats that feeling is when the books show up at your office, in print and real at last.
Now is an important time in human history. Viral outbreaks threaten lives and make headlines. We see new diseases appear and spread across the planet. We map our genetic code. And we now share the planet with lifeforms of our own creation.
A global communication system keeps us informed. But a global system of trade agreements plays a very important role we do not hear so much about. These trade agreements govern, among other things, patent protection for intellectual property.
When a nation accepts a trade agreement treating medicines as intellectual property, it can find itself ill-equipped to confront public health crises like outbreaks of viruses and disease. Genetic material, too, can become protected intellectual property, although the courts of different nations disagree on just what material and how protected it might be. Once the subject of futuristic science fiction novels, the commodification and ownership of human genetic material has become our reality in the 21st century.
The two essays in this booklet address the ethical concerns as well as the practical, administrative realities for the offices and courts where governments make decisions that affect all of us; our health, our genetic code, and our future.
Available as a single 70-page paperback on Amazon for $6.95: Patents & Public Health: Two Essays on Medicine & Genetics as Intellectual Property.
Also available for $2.99 as a Kindle book.
Today we kick off 2015 with a new edition of The Fates of Stars and Other Poems. This second edition is revised, expanded, and illustrated. It contains new poems and ink drawings and over 30 new pages. Now over 100 pages! You can get it now in paperback from Amazon, and we offer a Kindle version, too.
From the Introduction:
The first edition of The Fates of Stars and Other Poems, published in January 2014, enjoyed a number of favorable reviews and sold both in the US and around the world. It collected a cycle of poems from 2012 and 2013 which grew out of sessions with a writers’ workshop. But in 2014, I completed a set of poems which continued the themes of that body of work. This second edition includes them.
While expanding the collection, it occurred to me that I created several poems in a process that may interest readers: redaction. So, some of the poems now sit side-by-side with images of their original redacted versions. These are pages of printed text blacked out with marker so new combinations of words or themes present themselves.
This second edition also includes many ink drawings added as visual complements to the poems. As a lifelong fan of comic books, I like to see words and pictures together. Maybe you do, too.
Finally, in terms of expanding this second edition, I made the pages and the font size larger. While quite successful in its Kindle format, the printed text of the first edition seemed a little too small. Designing the first edition opened the door to some professional work helping other authors in 2014. Those experiences gave me an improved sense of designing a book for print and encouraged me to give The Fates of Stars a tune up.
This afternoon, The Halpin Companies held a book launch for a project we’ve been hard at work on this summer and fall, Alignment for Success. Alignment for Success covers fundamentals of self-leadership and communication that leaders can use to build strongly aligned teams and organizations. It’s an excellent introduction to the coaching methodologies that The Halpin Companies have used to coach business to even greater levels of success for about twenty years now. I’ve worked on a number of projects for them since early 2007, and their leadership principles have profoundly affected me, my work, and my academic career.
Much of what I do for small businesses is confidential. It’s a challenge to tell people what I do, when I can only discuss much of it in the most general terms and can’t really show the final products of my work as a portfolio. So, it’s quite a thrill to be a part of the creation of this book and be able to show it off! Katharine, Bonnie, and I have put a lot of time and effort into this book, and we’re quite pleased with the results.
Working with authors is one of my favorite things to do, whether as writing coach, editor, collaborator, proofreader, or advisor on the process of book design and self-publishing. Since beginning Alignment for Success, I’ve also begun working with another author on a book about financial planning. We expect to have printed copies in his hands in January for a public speaking engagement. It’s exciting!
If you have a book in process or are considering writing one, let’s talk! I spend a lot of time doing academic research and writing, but I find projects like this one even more satisfying. Just visit my Contact Page and connect by phone or email.