Delayed Gratification

Posted on July 19, 2011 by

Blogging offers instant gratification.

Even a small time operator with just a few thousand “page views” per month can get hooked on how quickly written material is delivered and consumed.

In the old days, you could wait weeks or months to get a piece in a newspaper or magazine.  Always worrying about edits, rewrites, typos and cuts.

Obviously, many bloggers do more than click the “publish” button; they make a more permanent contribution to their field.

It occurs to me from time to time that I should take a crack at writing a book.

First, though, I’d have to face my fears:

That I don’t have the imagination of a novelist, the scholarly research skills of an historian or the analytic temperament of a serious journalist.

Then I’d have to pick a subject.

Well, that’s obvious.  I’d write about the American labor movement.

I’d have a lot of positive things to say, but would have to tackle some of the contradictions within our institution.  That makes me nervous.  I wouldn’t want to get in trouble with my friends.

Sometimes I’m rebuked for even relatively minor transgressions.

For straying a little too far from progressive orthodoxy.

And for trying out different points of view.

So how can I write a book when I keep changing my mind?

For the past two years I’ve worked what I call a “niche” blog and appreciate the attention it’s received.  And I know there are a few authors who check in now and then.

Any tips on how to get an advance?

Comments (5)


  1. Ben Sears says:

    I would encourage you to pursue your idea: write a book. About the labor movement. You probably have developed the skills to be constructive and basically positive but not pull punches where you think punches are warranted. I would be glad to look at samples, transcripts, etc. and make comments.
    Meanwhile, you can order my book online at
    Title: Generation of Resistance; the Electrical Unions and the Cold War. Author: John Bennett Sears
    published 2008
    I struggled with some of the issues you raise in your post. I’d be curious to know what you think of the results of my efforts.

  2. Jeff P. says:

    I have yet to see a book about the history of sports unions. Baseball’s alone would be enough, but you could add dimension by including football, basketball and hockey. You know the subject well and it would be very timely.

    Just say yes.

  3. Salvador Sanchez says:

    One thing that I would say is that you’re not predictable. You’re a voice not an echo. I am somewhat fatigued with those voices that keep cheerleading the labor movement in light of the current crisis.. I think that it is great that you force some of us to see reality. Obviously, if you choose to write a book you should know that narrowing it down to a substantive issue that people might find insightful is a daunting task. Go got it, I find your writing stimulating and provocative.

  4. advice for seeking a book publisher, from your lifelong friend who signed a contract last month for his third book: write a max two page cover letter, including in it a select list of past publications and the web address of your present blog

  5. If you have a passion for a suject, as a writer, just sit down and do it. I watched the devolution of pension and healthcare benefits for too many years and sat down over a two year period and wrote my book:” When the Good Pensions Go Away: Why America Needs a New Deal for Pension and Health Care Reform.” Short and to the point it points out what happened to benefits and why and who were the culprits in this long-term movement to remove the responsibility for benefit programs from the shoulders of the institutions and onto the shoulders of the individual. There is no surprise why this movement is now moving through the public sector with a vengeance. b

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