Home » Library » Enjoy » Karen's Letters

One Book Closes and Another Opens?

Filed in - Karen's Letters

Progress and praise

Writing a book is like having a baby. There is never a convenient time to do it. It's much more work than you remember from last time. And it usually takes longer than you thought it would.

dog with typewriter

Before Thanksgiving, I sent the completed manuscript for Reaching the Animal Mind to my editors at Scribner (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. in New York). It was 400+ pages, 20 chapters, 120,000 words, and two years' work. When my editors finished going through the manuscript, they asked me to come talk about it. I went down to New York and met with them all day.

They loved everything in the book, every single story!

"Oh! The hermit crab!"

"Oh, I loved the rhinoceros games!"

"No, the surfing ponies are my favorite!"

My editors agreed with me on two vital points: the neuroscience chapter is the climax of the book, and the TAG chapter is the grand finale. But they recognized all of the problems I encountered trying to organize nearly 50 years of experience and observations. And, they had brilliant suggestions (i.e. instructions) for a new way of organizing the main body of the text—and I agreed with all of them.

Next steps

Writing a book is like having a baby.

Reorganizing is much easier than writing brand-new stuff. Still, I came home with probably four months worth of revision work. I will start digging into that right after ClickerExpo in Kentucky.

The new publication date for Reaching the Animal Mind is Winter/Spring 2008-2009. We'll know more when the revisions are done.

The revision plan called for the removal of approximately five chapters about my life as a maverick scientist, information that no longer seems necessary given the new structure of the book. Oh well, okay. Writers are used to just shelving piles of typescript—maybe my grandchildren will enjoy it.

They loved everything in the book, every single story!


But guess what else my New York editors saw? "Ahem, Karen," my senior editor, Beth Wareham, said. "There's another book in this, about fighting upstream to make your own career in science. I think it would be especially interesting to other women and girls. When this book is done, would you like to write that one? You have a great start already," she said, waving at the five excised chapters.

And here I had said that when this AWFUL, difficult job was done I would NEVER write another book. But I said...

"Okay, sure."

About the author
User picture

Karen Pryor is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy. She is the author of many books, including Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind. Learn more about Karen Pryor or read Karen's Letters online.

The Five Chapters

Since I just discovered Clicker Training TODAY from reading a portion of a book my husband checked out from the library, I've been devouring the information I've been able to find on it. Yours was the first site I found. I was quite impressed later on today when I discovered that your credentials are as extensive as they are. I'm quite happy to see that there will be another book in the offing documenting your career. Wikipedia has some info but not nearly enough. I'm looking forward to receiving my copies of several items that I have coming...including your new book. We have five cats at our house--all adopted from the same shelter over time--and I know the things I have already learned today will help but your new book will spur me on even further.

Post new comment

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <embed> <object> <div>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Glossary terms will be automatically marked with links to their descriptions. If there are certain phrases or sections of text that should be excluded from glossary marking and linking, use the special markup, [no-glossary] ... [/no-glossary]. Additionally, these HTML elements will not be scanned: a, abbr, acronym, code, pre.
  • Each email address will be obfuscated in a human readable fashion or (if JavaScript is enabled) replaced with a spamproof clickable link.

More information about formatting options

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.