Edited by Thomas Hayden & Michelle Nijhuis
Lifelong Books, $16.99, 300 pages
The Science Writers’ Handbook will help one learn the ins and outs of being a science reporter and freelancer. Though only 300 pages, there are over 25 chapters which will give the reader an inside account of what it is like to work in the field. The book is edited by Stanford writing professor Thomas Hayden, and Science Editor Michelle Nijhuis with the appropriate subtitle: “Everything You Need To Know To Pitch, Publish, And Prosper In The Digital Age.” Quite a lot to cover, but this book succeeds as a text book on the subject.
“Being edited is hard. Emotionally it’s kind of battering. No matter how gentle the edit is, the draft is something you’ve kind of poured your soul into. There’s a range of how personally or deeply people feel that, but what’s independent is how professional and gracious they are.” -Laura Helmuth Slate
After reading the book some however may decide that they prefer to stay an amateur or volunteer. There are less contracts to sign, less expectations to meet, and frankly some jobs are just a lot easier than being a journalist. As shown, the competition to be a science writer/reporter is formidable. The tales are told here by people who have succeeded: that is some took the leap and landed. The book will not necessarily teach you how to write, but does provide a lot of useful information about working and succeeding in this field. Odds are the readers of this book is more likely to be successful, but as shown here, even success in this field might not be as rewarding as hoped.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller