Publishing a book requires many moving parts.
One of the most important is who writes the foreword. It gives the seal of approval from somebody who is likely to be more well-known than you, or has more standing in the field.
When Dr. Judy Mikovits and I published our book, PLAGUE, we were fortunate enough to get Hilary Johnson, a former editor at Rolling Stone magazine, and the author of the definitive work on the chronic fatigue syndrome epidemic, Osler’s Web. Her endorsement gave the book an enormous boost in that community.
For this book I asked one of my well-known activist friends and he was flattered, but suggested I get Robert Kennedy, Jr.
I talked to Judy about it and she thought it was a good idea, especially since Kennedy had always been friendly to her when they met at conferences, even if she felt he didn’t fully understand her story.
The one concern I had is that Kennedy seems to be one of the busiest men on the planet. Whether he was keeping our rivers and lakes clean, fighting Monsanto over their terrible Round-Up weedkiller, or getting eviscerated by members of his own family because of his stance on vaccines, I wondered if he had any time left for another project.
I was instructed to prepare a sample foreword for Kennedy, nothing more than 3 or 4 pages, then he’d edit as he saw fit. Both my efforts were a complete failure. I tried, but couldn’t seem to give him what he needed.
I offered him a graceful way out, suggesting he was too busy, but he said he wanted to help. He just couldn’t give me a firm timeline.
You can imagine my surprise when I was recently in a teacher staff meeting, my cell-phone rang, and caller I.D. said it was Robert Kennedy, Jr. “I know I said I didn’t have time,” he began. “But I was on a long plane flight, had it on my computer, so I read the whole thing. It’s wonderful. I know what to write now.”
How many thoughts were racing through my mind?
The first thought was “YES! I’ve made the book short enough so that somebody might be able to read the whole thing in the 4-5 hours of an airplane flight!” I know I have a tendency to want to tell the ENTIRE story, rather than ruthlessly cutting out some of the less important parts.
The second thought was, “Oh my God! Robert Kennedy, Jr., the man I consider to be the bravest figure in public life, just praised our book and is going to do the foreword!” You must understand there was a time in my life when I read just about every word ever written about Robert Kennedy, Sr. It wasn’t so much his politics that drew me, (because in some ways he was all over the political map during his life), but how he demonstrated the continuing ability to learn and grow. Now the namesake of my political hero was endorsing my work.
Kennedy was as good as his word and came back with a fantastic foreword. How long? Remember, I was told to give him no more than 3 or 4 pages.
Kennedy wrote a 15 page foreword for “PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION!”
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