Forty years since my traditionally published book
Forty years ago these days, in November of 1983, my book Saturno: nubi, anelli e lune was released by the small Italian publisher Italy Press. Early that year I had started writing this astronomy book about the planet Saturn.
Such a traditional publishing deal, my first and only one, was a stroke of luck.
While most debut writers collect dozens or hundreds of rejections before landing a deal, I got mine easily at the first try. I was a kid almost old enough to sign a contract and, when I pitched the idea, the publisher agreed with no objections. What's even more remarkable is the publisher trusted not just one kid at his first book writing experience, but four.
Along with three friends of similar age we pitched the idea of a series of astronomy books. I picked the one on Saturn and my friends did the others.
The book proved a success as the print run of 4,000 copies was distributed throughout Italy and sold well. It earned me roughly one fifth of what top science writers were paid for for similar work at the time.