So You're Thinking About Writing A Climate Book?

March 6, 2024, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm ET

Book Publishing

John J. Berger, Ph.D., an environmental science and policy specialist, prize-winning author, and journalist, and Danielle Arigoni, an urban planner and community resilience expert, discuss their paths to publishing and promoting their books on climate.

Berger, ASJA member and author of Solving the Climate Crisis, will discuss the various reasons climate writing is a particularly difficult niche to enter to help those seeking to write on the topic understand the kinds of obstacles they will likely encounter.

Arigoni will discuss pitching the idea behind her first book, Climate Resilience in an Aging Nation, to an editor at Island Press, and the process (and challenges) of writing the 60,000-word manuscript in just seven months. She can also discuss some strategies and lessons learned as she shifts to the second most important part of writing a book: marketing it.

Visit the ASJA Member Portal for access to the online recording.

So You're Thinking of Writing a Climate Book?






John Berger

John J. Berger, Ph.D. is an environmental science and policy specialist, prize-winning author, and journalist. A graduate of Stanford and the University of California, he has written and edited 11 books, including three previous books on climate change, and written over 100 articles on climate change and transitioning to clean energy. His journalism has appeared in Scientific American, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and others. He has been a consultant to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, corporations, utilities and the U.S. Congress, a newspaperman and an editor, and he has taught at the University of Maryland and elsewhere. John co-founded the Nuclear Information and Resource Service to assist citizen safe-energy groups and founded Restoring the Earth, to bring environmental restoration to national attention. He lives in El Cerrito, California.

Danielle Arigoni

Danielle Arigoni is an urban planner and community resilience expert. She currently serves as Managing Director for Policy and Solutions at National Housing Trust (NHT), where she provides strategic direction for the organization’s sustainability and resilience policy efforts, oversight and guidance for NHT’s state and local advisory services, and leadership for NHT’s fundraising and communications teams. She is also author of Climate Resilience for an Aging Nation (Island Press, October 2023) which explores the impacts of climate change on a rapidly growing demographic – people over 65 – and the need for community-scale solutions to reduce risk for all.

Prior to joining NHT in 2022, Danielle served as Director of Livable Communities at AARP where she designed and implemented a robust nationwide initiative to create more vibrant communities for all ages through publications, technical assistance programs, and advocacy. Danielle has also previously held leadership positions in HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities and EPA’s smart growth office, playing a central role in developing policy and implementing programs under the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and in HUD’s groundbreaking $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. Danielle holds a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, and serves as a Board Member for the League of American Bicyclists and Smart Growth America.

Sandi Schwartz

Sandi Schwartz is an award-winning environmental author and freelance journalist with over 20 years of experience effectively and creatively communicating to diverse audiences in the areas of sustainability, home and garden, nature, and wellness. Her bylines include Yahoo!, MSN, Dwell, Success, Verywell, mindbodygreen, BobVila.com, Family Handyman, TechTarget, Earth911, and many more publications. Her book, Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer, focuses on the mental health benefits of nature and has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Yahoo!, Good Housekeeping, Library Journal, Authority Magazine, and more. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including ASJA’s Arlene Book Award: Books That Make a Difference. Previously, she held positions at the National Academies; United States Environmental Protection Agency; and Cadmus, an environmental consulting firm where she worked on EPA’s ENERGY STAR and indoor air quality programs. Sandi is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), ACES: The Society for Editing, Editorial Freelancers Association, and GardenComm: Garden Communicators International. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies at The George Washington University, a Master of Arts in Government with an Environmental Focus at Johns Hopkins University, and a Specialization Certificate in Foundations of Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She splits time between Florida and New Jersey with her family.


John Berger will discuss the process he went through to get Solving the Climate Crisis published and the process to publicize, promote, and market the book. His decision to revise a 133-page climate book in 2002 led to the writing of three published climate books totaling 959 pages. His book idea was rejected by more than 100 publishers and agents before he sold it himself, after securing four publishing offers. He will discuss the various reasons climate writing is a particularly difficult niche to enter to help those seeking to write on the topic understand the kinds of obstacles they will likely encounter.

Berger will also discuss the challenges of preparing a winning proposal, finding (and losing) an agent, securing organizational endorsements for the unwritten book, scoping the project, raising money to fund expensive research and travel, pledging to place a massive order to buy my own book, hiring a contract editor, getting a publisher, working with the publisher’s editor, and publicist, and hiring three people to plan and execute a digital marketing and email campaign, and ongoing publicity efforts to secure book blurbs, mass media coverage, and social media influencer support.

As the author of Climate Resilience in an Aging Nation, Danielle Arigoni’s book publishing journey was different. After working at AARP for a few years, she had an idea for a book that seemed absent from the marketplace, pitched it to an editor at Island Press who liked it, and then started writing. Seven months later, she turned in 60,000 words; a few months later the printed books arrived at her home. She’s now working her way through determining the most effective ways to handle the marketing side of writing.