To Write or Not to Write? Own or Not to Own? To Get Paid or Not to Get Paid? These Are the Questions

November 2005
by Vicki Lansky

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I have written and published
about two dozen parenting books in the last 30 years. Recently, I was asked by
Samantha Ettus—“creator and editor” of The Experts’ Guides published by
Clarkson Potter/Random House—to contribute a 600-word piece on a topic of
her choosing for her third book in this series, The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years.
The first edition has been out for about a year now and, according to Ettus,
has sold more than 100,000 copies in 11 printings. She is described in the bio
as “a leading voice on personality-driven brands” who “has developed a secret
recipe—a combination of talent, experience, passion and charisma—for
identifying the world’s leading experts. She holds a BA in Social Anthropology
and a MBA both from Harvard University.”

Ettus told me that I was the
“ideal expert” to write a section on “How to baby proof a hotel or guest room.”
Yes, I have a book out on baby proofing, but it has lower sales than most of my
other titles, and it is certainly not one that I am known for.

I wrote back and suggested writing
about baby food (as in Feed
Me I’m Yours—3 million copies sold) or Toilet Training
(several hundred thousand copies sold) or Divorce (sales of approximately 200,000
copies). Ettus said that these topics were already assigned or would not be
included, but that I was w

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