Monday, April 8, 2013

My Book has a Publisher!

When I started writing a book more than two years ago the goal was to collect my thoughts on brewing sour beer and self-publish it through Amazon CreateSpace. I wanted to pull together all the tips, techniques, and science I’d learned over the years of blogging/brewing into a single resource. I assumed it would take a year at most…

As I wrote and edited I decided it would be helpful to talk to a few other brewers (both craft and home). The generosity of the people I contacted overwhelmed me. Virtually every brewer I wanted to talk to answered my questions, although occasionally it took a bit of nagging.

A list of some of the people I talked to for the book:

Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River)
Ron Gansberg (Cascade)
Scott Vaccaro (Captain Lawrence)
Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey)
Ron Jeffries (Jolly Pumpkin)
Eric Salazar, Lauren Salazar, and Peter Bouckaert (New Belgium)
Tyler King (Bruery)
Jeff O’Neil (Peekskill/Ithaca)
Will Meyers (Cambridge)
Jason Perkins (Allagash)
Gabe Fletcher (Anchorage)
Shaun Hill (Hill Farmstead)
Pat Mcilhenney (Alpine)
Scott Smith (East End)
Todd Haug (Surly)
Brian Strumke (Stillwater)
Alex Ganum (Upright)
Chad Yakobson (Crooked Stave)
Jason Davis (Freetail)
Dan Woodske (Beaver Brewing)
Kristen England (Pour Decisions)
Nathan Zeender (Right Proper)
Remi Bonnart, Sebastian Padilla, Ryan Ekre, Levi Funk, Seth Hammond, and Dave and Becky Pyle (homebrewers)
Chris White, and Neva Parker (White Labs)
Al Buck (East Coast Yeast)
Greg Doss (Wyeast)

In November, 2011 I emailed Kristi Switzer the Publisher for Brewers Publications and ended up talking to her on the phone. A few weeks later I submitted a proposal. A proposal consists of answers to questions about the book: target audience, content, author qualifications etc. In addition I submitted the table of content (draft table of content you can actually read), a sample chapter, and a writing sample (one of my BYO articles). I signed the finalized contract last week!

For awhile I was quite torn on if a publisher was what I really wanted. Self publishing held the allure of complete control over the process and end result. The ability to revise and update as I saw fit, not to mention about 10 times more money for each copy sold. However, the legitimacy conferred by having a publisher, and their expertise on editing, layout, publicity etc. was enough to convince me that Brewers Publications was the right choice!

Brewers Publications is the publisher of just about every book about brewing you own (from How to Brew, to Radical Brewing, to Wild Brews etc.). It is a wing of the Brewers Association, the organization that runs the Craft Brewers Conference, National Homebrewers Conference, Great American Beer Fest, Zymurgy Magazine etc. This will open up opportunities for me to speak and promote the book.

July 1st is my deadline to submit the completed manuscript, however don’t expect to be able to buy a copy of the book in August. As a small publisher, they only aim to release two books a year, and at the moment mine is slotted for sometime in 2015. However, Kristi assured me that if there was an outpouring of demand (or another book had to be delayed) mine could move up. Contractually they are bound to publishing the book within three years of when I submit the manuscript.

The bulk of the writing for the book was completed by six months ago (currently sitting at 140,000 words all told). I’m still waiting for the last couple brewers to review their sections and submit their comments/edits. Otherwise I’m working hard to fact check and cite what I have already written. Luckily for me, Audrey weirdly enjoys formatting references (one of my least favorite aspects of the process).

I apologize to everyone who was hoping the book would be published by now, but when it is finally released hopefully it will be a valuable reference for years to come. It seems like American sour beers are starting to really take off (when was the last time a brewery opened without plans for some sort of sour program?). I’m hoping my effort will produce a book that both professional brewers and homebrewers will benefit from. Something that is simple enough to help you brew your first batch of sour beer, and detailed enough that brewers who have been making sours will take away information and inspiration.

Thank all of you for your support you’ve shown the blog (me) over the years! The comments, emails, not to mention beers and microbes, you've sent have kept me honest and inspired many research tangents. The blog might be a bit lean on sour beer content for awhile to avoid stealing stuff from the book, but I’ll do my best to post updates about the Modern Times sour beer program (something that probably will not find much coverage in the book). There are many similarities in the book and the brewery, in both cases I am giving up control to work with people who really know what they are doing, and who have the funding to take my ideas and turn them into something wonderful (hopefully)!


Derek said...

Awesome news.

Delays happen, too. This puppy was supposed to be out by now:

Maybe you'll (we'll) get lucky.

hodge said...

Congratulations! Your table of contents looks great and I'll be looking forward to the publishing date. Keep us posted!


Anonymous said...

Congrats!! Just one thing, please, please, make sure there's a digital version, and also that the tables and graphics (because I'm sure there will be plenty) are readable in it. Some of my digital brewing books lose half its value because of the lack of readability of those items.


Chris J. said...

Hell yeah man! I'll definitely buy that book!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! After a couple years of reading your blog, I will say that those who will be in charge of editing your book will have quite the challenge! (While you are quite the talented brewer, spelling and grammar are not your strong suit lol)

... said...

Congratulations on your book

Unknown said...

Too modest you are Mike!

You are a great source of knowledge, excellent writer and a super overall great guy!

You have many great things going for you and I hope they all continue to grow. Wishing the best!

I cant wait for 2015!

Jason said...

Congrats! Well deserved . . . looking forward to reading and re-reading.

Christopher Harper said...

Congrats!!! I'll buy 2!!!

Unknown said...

Long time reader of the blog- congrats and look forward to the book

noam said...

congratulations Mike.
can't wait for this to finally come out in print.

Kyle Hall Yoga said...

You better believe I'm buying a copy and I can think of a few other Club members following you that will be purchasing as well! You are a great resource and the book will be well received!

BmoreBistroBeer said...

I'm a newcomer to your website, but I'd still like to congratulate you on the book deal. That's awesome.

I'm just now (talking like past two weeks) getting into sour beer in large part because of what I've read throughout your site. Needless to say, this new book of yours sounds very interesting.

Moaneschien / Ingo said...

2015 :(

Mmm, need a proof reader? ;)


Perrin said...

Congrats! I really hope to see this sooner rather than 2015 so here is to hoping that they decide to bump it up.

Aaron said...

Awesome! You've got another sale here.

dave said...

Congratulations! Your blog has been a great asset to my wild brewing adventures. I look forward to picking up a copy of your book (whenever it comes out). Cheers!

Oblivious said...

Congratulations :)

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mike. I look forward to reading your book in a couple of years time.


ssf said...

congrats mike! is there any specific email address we can send early release demands to?

Anonymous said...

Awesome, I've been looking forward to this book for some time. Although looks like it may still be quite some time before I get to check it out.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Thanks for all the well wishes and excitement! There will be an ebook version, although I don’t know whether or not it will be released simultaneously with the hard copy. Sadly once the manuscript is out of my hands I no longer have complete control over the result, but I’ll do my best to ensure both versions are equally beautiful/useful!

To my anonymous friend, there is a big difference between the editing I give a magazine article or book and what I have the time/effort to do for the blog. If you spot any misspelled words on here, please let me know! I always run a spell-check, but I’m sure I occasionally overlook something! I'd also suggest not using "lol" when you are criticizing someone's grammar!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the book. You would think they would want to get books to market faster. Brewing books can quickly get dated.

Unknown said...

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mike! I brewed my first sour after reading your blog. It should be ready (spring 2014) before your book comes out :)

Your website is one I keep coming back to over and over as I progress with my own brewing. I find the posts about Modern Times very interesting, but after reading about all of the commercial aspects of large scale brewing, I'm glad as a homebrewer I don't have to formulate recipes based on what I have in my silos :)

Again, congrats!


City by the Sea Ceramics said...

congrats on your huge accomplishment(s)!!! that's great news for you and brewers everywhere. i can't wait to grab a copy and get to work!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait. I will pay double to get it before 2015.

Unknown said...

Anxiously awaiting the release.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yep, luckily I was far enough along that they jumped me over another book that was going a bit slower. That said, we've had a couple minor delays with editing since the April date, so it is looking like it will be released in early June at this point. Almost certainly in time for NHC!