Monday, October 06, 2008

Helen Coronato on Reviews

Helen Coronato
Eco-Friendly Families
Publisher: Penguin/Alpha
Pub date: August 2008
Agent: Jacky Sach

(Click to Buy)

Author Web site:

The Reviews Are In! (Is It Safe to Come Out?)

At the beginning of August my third nonfiction book, Eco-Friendly Families, was released by Penguin/Alpha Books. Since my first two books were series titles, this standalone felt a little different–it really felt like mine. I was, and still am, really excited about this user-friendly guide for going green as a family; but I was (still am) also nervous over reviews. Were my recommendations too out there? Or not committed enough? Were my suggestions manageable? Or over the top? Was the author photo okay? Or should I have worn the blue scarf? Pressing issues. And pressure that I hadn’t really considered.

When I was writing the book, I concentrated on the content, the writing, and the deadlines. I worked hard weeding through environmental sites and sources to find accurate, reliable research, then combine it with my experience and expertise to create a handbook of commonsense, family-friendly ideas. I picked through mountains of information while picking up dinner, crayons, dry cleaning, socks, shoes, and Legos. And then I put it out there for anyone, anyone, to pick up, pick apart, poke and prod at. Whew, we’re a brave lot, us authors.

What’s been so interesting since the publication of Eco-Friendly Families has been reading about which suggestions and strategies struck a chord with reviewers. Whenever you write a chapter, announce an opinion, include a recipe, or make a recommendation, you do so knowing it excludes other options. You can’t travel two roads at the same time–you gotta make a choice. Those choices set the tone, the pace, the feel of your book. And then it is just out there. (Did I mention how brave we are?)

So far, the responses I have gotten for the book have been extremely rewarding. Since I spend the better part of my day Googling my own name, I have learned that readers and reviewers love the easy-to-follow twelve-month calendar of environmental ideas (starting on page 30), the numerous ways to save gas money (page 67), what to do with a unmatched sock (page 78), why precycling works wonders (page 94), seasonal, locally inspired recipes (page 140), inventive ways to think outside of the holiday gift box (page 183), the “five minute makeovers” peppered throughout the book, and, most of all, the underlying theme that yes, you can make a difference, and no, it’s not too late.

Today, the book (and author) is doing well. And that makes me proud, humble, happy, and a little nauseous. They say the farther up the ladder you go the more people who can see your ass hanging out. Right now, even though I'm only on the first few rungs up, it feels like I’m leaping buildings in a single bound . . . without pants. At least I’m giving people something to talk about.

I should go check. . . .

Happy Writing,
Helen Coronato

When not Googling herself, Helen is helping to spread the word about all of the little things you can do today to make a big difference for tomorrow. Eco-Friendly Families is available everywhere books are sold. Pick up a copy today and join the discussion at


anita said...

Wonderful post Helen! I jumped over to your website to read more about you and the book. What a great service you're providing! So many of us WANT to do more for the environment but have no idea where to start other than the usual recycling run-down. And here you've provided us this step by step guide to help us make contributions in so many different areas of our lives. :-) I'm going to order one today.

Oh, and your "ass" comment totally cracked me up. I think I'm going to opt for pants instead of a skirt when I start my ladder climb. Thanks for the heads up on that. :-) Good luck with the sales and reviews!

Sheila Connolly said...

I'd buy it just to find out what to do with an unmatched sock (or eight)!

Robena Grant said...

This sounds like a great book, Helen. I'll check it out. Ha ha, loved your comment on climbing the ladder.

Jessica said...

I'm trying not to think of future reviews. Working instead on getting over agent rejections!

But congrats on how smoothly things are going with your book. That's wonderful :-)

Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

Oh how cool! This looks like a book my readers at would be very interested in. Congratulations on the great reviews!

Jeannie Ruesch said...

Really? You can find a purpose to the unmatched sock that fits a toddler's foot? I'm impressed. :)

Googling yourself is fun and scary, isn't it? LOL The first time I googled myself, I was shocked to find a review for my WIP Notebook. A good one! Yippee! Off to the races.

Then of course, the ten days that follow where your name doesn't come up anywhere. It's addicting...that and the chocolate you eat while you google.

And by the way, try setting up a google alert -- you'll get all those great links and information when your name pops up anywhere google has found it right in your inbox.

Every night. :)

Kim Kasch said...

So cool. I do an Earthy-friendly Friday blog and here in the Pacific Northwest we are very Green.

In fact Portland, Oregon was rated #1 for sustainable cities in the country.

Good luck with sales and teaching others how to turn Green!!!