Publication of The Decline Effect has taken far longer than I originally hoped. In early 2010 I was on the verge of signing a contract with a major publisher, when the slowing economy forced them to withdraw their offer (and cancel most of the new book line it was to have been a part of).
Since then I have worked with a very reputable literary agent, but we have found that the market for long science books from unknown authors is pretty thin right now. The publishing business is under tremendous stress. In the past, a publishing house could decide to deploy its marketing and public relations assets and make you famous. Now to get a book deal you almost need to already be famous. Even then, authors are expected to create their own websites, arrange their own book tours, manage their own publicity. It’s a lot to expect for $1 or $2 in royalties per book.
I can take a hint. I am accordingly going forward with self-publishing. The Decline Effect will appear first as an e-book on Amazon.com, sometime early in 2012. A hardcover edition will follow.
The final draft will be slightly shorter than the version previously described on this blog. The chapter headings will all remain (I even added two or three), but a number of graphs, examples, and technical descriptions will be dropped to streamline the book and get it down from 670 pages to around 550. (This was one bit of useful feedback that I got from readers over the course of 2011: Don’t use five examples where three will do.)
More details will be available between now and Christmas, as I proofread the final version. If you want to be notified when the book becomes available, please follow me on Twitter.