Right after I posted my goals for the year yesterday, I went to a local bookstore to see what I could find with the gift card I received on Christmas. After browsing the bargain books and business sections, I found myself looking over wine books. I really haven’t shopped for wine books since I get sent more than I can read right now, thus my goal of reading more this year. What I found was a selection of wine reference books, buying guides and a few topical books. What I didn’t find was a book that would inspire me to learn more about wine and develop my palate, so perhaps there is an opportunity here for a book to write.
Before I get into my angle, let me backup 25 years and explain how I first learned about wine. This was in the early 1980’s and there were not very many wine books to choose from, particularly the cheaper paperbacks I tended to favor in my college years. But I did find a couple from Signet that I read and these became my guidebooks into all things vino.
The first book was a quick read, the Signet Book of Inexpensive Wine. For all of $1.95 I was treated to, “…over 400 wines rated.” But in retrospect the ratings did little to inspire my wine education. It was the brief overviews on the major wine regions that gave me the confidence to buy wines from outside the jug brands of California. Some additional time with the Signet Encyclopedia of Wine (around $5, I think) filled in the gaps and I was off to learn more about wine by tasting them.
What I see now on the shelf are books with strategies to find wine bargains or make wine easier to understand. I don’t see a field guide that would inspire someone just getting into wine to expand much beyond their comfort zone of Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. So I’m going to write such a book this year and post sections here for your review and comment. After I get the manuscript done, I’ll publish an electronic version for free but also self-publish a printed version for a modest price. And, yes, there will also be an audio book version.
Although I have not decided on a title yet, all the posts will be tagged here with the “Guide” category. And I expect to write the first draft in roughly chronological order to make it easier to follow here on the blog. Since I’d like to have this ready for the holidays, I will close the manuscript off on my birthday in mid-November. I’ll also post monthly summaries of progress to date.
I’m really looking forward to going down this path and see where it takes me… now off to write an outline!
Joe Gareri says
Way to go!
I look forward to reading and hearing all about it. What a great goal for he new year.
Excellent idea, Tim! I know you’ll do a fine job, and I look forward to reading and discussing your book.
humble drinker says
I can’t wait to read your book.
I’m sure you’ll write an inspiring book.
el jefe says
Tim – Dare to make money from your book. I’m just sayin’…
I think your title should be along the lines of “Extreme Wine” or “Wine On The Edge” or something like that, only less mundane 🙂
And you have actually given me an idea, believe it or not! We’ll see where that goes too. Let me know what I can do to help with your project!
Came across your site through Google News feed designed to send me latest e-book news.
I am a book and e-book coach who has worked with hundreds of different self-published authors, speakers, trainers, etc…
Oh yes, and I’m also a big fan of wine, although I have to admit I fall into the category of the Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Grigio crowd with some specailized knowledge of French wines having spent some time in Paris over the last few years.
It is my information publishing coaching side that compelled me to write though wondering why you wouldn’t place a higher value on the book you are intending to write.
Posting parts of your book on your blog is a great idea – some of my students have taken this approach, but I would strongly suggest that you place a higher value on the finished product than giving it away…
You have identified a gap in the marketplace for information and people are typically willing to pay a fair price for quality information.
Just hope you don’t underprice your knowledge.
pam claughton says
I’m just discovering this site, landed here from a twitter post…but wanted to offer a suggestion. Rather than write the whole book as an e-book or self-pubb. I’d suggest doing the following,
Write a solid book proposal, with a few kickass sample chapters, then write a query to agents that have a track record of selling this stuff, and there are many. Are you familiar with Orangette’s blog? She got a book deal. When you do the proposal, you basically lay out who the book’s target audience is, and do a little research where you show what books exist, so you demonstrate there is a market, but then show how your book is different and will meet a need that isn’t being met.
I used to be an agent, dabbled in it for a year or so before going back to headhunting. But, I have hooked up many friends with agents, so if you want any more suggestions on who to query etc., drop me a line. I think your book idea sounds great!
WOW! I never expected to generate this much discussion but I’m glad it did…
Thanks for the good wishes, Joe, Russ, Humble Drinker and el jefe (BTW, some of your Petite Sirah would really help the creative process 😉
Jeff and Pam: I really appreciate your feedback as my plan was to use the digital book as another way to create traffic for the blog, but perhaps just a PDF preview edition is in order? I’ll give it some thought and will think about pitching this to some agents after I get the first 3-4 chapters written.
Good luck, Tim!
My wife is in publishing for a consumer publisher of reference books, as I’ve alluded to on my site a couple of times.
The magic in writing a book is in putting significant effort into your Table of Contents. If you have a good table of contents, the book will write itself, figuratively speaking.
I like your angle!
A really good book that you may want to check out as a baseline is: Wine Style: Using Your Senses To Explore And Enjoy Wine by Mary Lewis-Mulligan.
All the best,
Bill Wilson says
Hi Tim —
I think this is a great idea. I’ve also been toying around for a while with the idea of writing a book, sort of a “Wine For Newbies Guide to Wine,” a written version of my podcast in a way.
I have to agree with others, though–don’t be hesitant to charge people for your book. If you give it away for free, it suggests that you don’t think your efforts have any value. Doing a free podcast is one thing, but writing a book takes a lot more effort.
Now that Jeff has pointed out his wife is in the publishing business, and he’s given the tip about the TOC, I may have to sit down and start working on the book I’d like to write.
Bill: Best of luck on your book; I’m sure you will have a different angle than where I’m heading… Then again, we might have a friendly rivalry later in the year 😉
Thanks for the tip, Jeff.
I’ve taken all the advice in this thread and decided that I’m not giving away the whole thing; just selected chapters as I write them.
Tim, this is great news, Congratulations! I look forward to following along with your project. I would like to see a book that helps people expand their palette by way of recommendations; if you like merlot you may also like (fill in the blank). The wine world is confusing and intimidating to a new wine drinker so a guide to help them “safely” expand would be wonderful.
Dave Chouiniere says
Great idea for a wine book! Aside from scope, how would your book differ from Karen MacNeil’s “The Wine Bible?” I was inspired to learn more about wine from reading her book because of stories she included like the one about the Hungarian wine Bikaver. The Hungarians drank the wine before a battle and spilt it on their beards. Their attackers mistook the red stain for ox blood and were frightened by the sight. If you can include these kinds of stories as well as information about how the folks who make the wine feel about it, I think you’ll have a winner!