Stop buying my book! (Because the second edition is nearly out)

People are doing something weird: they’re buying my book.

The Scientist’s Guide to Writing, I mean – it’s not weird at all that people are buying Charles Darwin’s Barnacle and David Bowie’s Spider. (So please keep buying that one. It’s fun, I swear.*)

But The Scientist’s Guide: people are still buying it (I can tell from its Amazon sales rank, which I expected to start cratering before now, but which hasn’t), and that’s weird. I wish they’d stop.  Not because it’s a bad book! To the contrary: I think it’s a good book, and I’m proud of it. But the second edition will be out very soon: February 1st, 2022 (slightly later in the UK). And the second edition is better. Among other things, it has two completely new chapters: one on choosing where to publish (choosing among journals, and whether or not to preprint), and one on strategies for efficient and effective reading. It has many more exercises (which folks seem to find very useful, and not just for teaching). It has more and better coverage of titles and abstracts, of science communication, and of quite a few other things. And it corrects some mistakes. Gosh, there’s nothing more galling than finding a writing mistake (even if it’s just a typo) in a book about writing!

So, look, it’s only another six weeks. Don’t buy my book (although maybe don’t tell my publisher I gave you that advice) – not if you can stand to wait for the second edition. I think you’ll like it.

© Stephen Heard  December 21, 2021

*^You can take Diana Gabaldon’s word for that: Charles Darwin’s Barnacle is “more fun than you’ve ever had with taxonomy in your whole entire life! Delightfully written, thoroughly researched, makes you want to learn Latin, and will give good dinner party stories forever”, she kindly blurbed. My book doesn’t have a randy time-traveling Scotsman, though. Look, it’s good, it isn’t perfect.


4 thoughts on “Stop buying my book! (Because the second edition is nearly out)

  1. looking forward to the second edition

    I preordered the second edition and can’t wait for it to come out. Read the first edition and found it very helpful (even though I’m in the humanities…).



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