Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Interview with Yale University Press Author Bruce M Beehler

Natural Encounters—Biking, Hiking, and Birding Through the Seasons
Yale University Press

1. What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to get the word out to all my neighbors along the East Coast that taking a close interest in Nature’s annual cycle of the seasons is the most effective treatment for raising one’s spirits—and without paying the price of a prescription pill at the pharmacy. I applied this treatment to myself across thirty-five years—by bicycling to work year-round, hiking in the woods, bird-watching in spring, and search for fossils in the fall and winter. By being out in contact with Nature, I found joy, peace, and calm.

2. Who should read it — and why?
Any urban and suburban dweller who suffers from anxiety, boredom, and frustration should use book as a guide to getting outside and embracing Nature. Active engagement of the wonders of our East Coast green spaces is a tonic that sooths the soul. Work hard during the day, but take in Nature in those free moments, especially on the weekend, and get into those nearby green spaces and start to take notice of what is there—a Spring Peeper, an American Beaver, a Wood Thrush, a Jack-in-the-Pulpit, a giant White Oak. Communing with nature is not some old-fashioned pastime. Its the wonder drug without any warning on the label.

3. How is it better or different from others in its genre?
I report on thirty-five years of encounters with Nature, both in the National Capital area and in special places up and down the East Coast. The reader is thus educated on where and when and how to experience Nature’s highlights with the minimum of extra effort. This is really a how-to book in extracting spiritual value from the gods of the green world around us. One can read about what’s out there, and then go out and experience it first-hand. And, of course, the first-hand experience is always better than the narrative describing it.

4. What challenges did you overcome to write your book?
The challenge of converting thirty-five years of diary entries into a compelling set of narrative chapters that boiled down to a single year in nature. I produced more than twenty drafts and experimented with major shifts in treatment (e.g., from past tense to present tense) during this process, which encompassed more than four years.

5. What lasting messages do you hope your readers are left after consuming your book? That Nature can be the source of never-ending spiritual solace to those in need of relief from the stresses of the daily East Coast grind. Join with Nature for a life of greater happiness. Learn the names of the wild creatures and plants around you. Become a Nature-watcher. Photograph Nature. Create a daily Nature diary. Nature will then embrace you and provide the satisfactions of wonder and discovery.

6. What advice do you have for struggling writers?
Know your message. Revise. Revise again. Plot out the narrative in an outline after the book is in draft. Ensure a particular message is delivered to the reader in each chapter. Build the story, chapter by chapter. Know your niche and your market and given that market what it is calling for.

7.  Where do you see the book publishing industry heading?
It’s a bit like Moore’s law—each year more books are published, but the population of book-buyers does not keep pace. That means a very few writers sell millions of books, and the vast remainder of the world’s writers must share an ever-smaller market of buyers of non-bestsellers. This means you should be publishing because there is something you have to tell the world and this is your means of doing that.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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