Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Embarrassingly shameless self-promotion of my books

I don't usually market my own stuff—it seems somehow too forward—and I have to charge cover price plus shipping, so buying from a local bookstore or Amazon is much more reasonable for anyone on the kind of budget I'm always on. But several people have asked how to get autographed copies of this or that so here goes. Books are listed in order of when they were published, starting with the newest. Shipping details are at the bottom. The price I list for each book is the cover price plus $1.05, which helps me to cover most of the MN state taxes, which I have to charge because I'm selling out of my house.

National Geographic Pocket Guide: Birds of North America

National Geographic Pocket Guide: Birds of North America came out April 3, 2013. It is not a field guide, but rather an introduction to birds and birdwatching. I wrote the species accounts for 160 species. The book includes one photo and field guide illustration for each of these species, plus field guide illustrations for several groups of birds. It's a fun little book, if I do say so myself.


Hawk Ridge: Minnesota's Birds of Prey came out in September, 2012. I give a lot of information about each species of diurnal raptor that passes through Hawk Ridge. As the title indicates, the focus on the book is Hawk Ridge, and so the book's long introduction explains why we have such a splendid migration here in Duluth and each species account includes the Hawk Ridge statistics through Autumn, 2011. This is NOT an identification guide. 

Twelve Owls

Twelve Owls came out in September, 2011. It has a long introduction talking about owl basics (including how their bodies are specialized for nighttime hunting) and then has twelve separate entries about the twelve owls that have been recorded in Minnesota. It looks like a children's book, but is meatier than most—my target audience was adults, but as always I envision my junior high students reading my work—that's my technique for making my writing accessible. Betsy Bowen is a well-known and very popular Minnesota artist.

The Bird Watching Answer Book

I wrote The Bird Watching Answer Book while I was working at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and everything in it was vetted by Lab scientists. I tried to be comprehensive, including answers to questions I've been asked over my decades of blathering on about birds. I specifically targeted people in various bird clubs who need quick access to answers when they're dealing with people calling in with questions. Pedro Fernandes illustrated this. He chose my favorite birds, chickadees, and my own binoculars for the cover illustration.

101 Ways to Help Birds

101 Ways to Help Birds is my Rachel Carson book. I wrote it when I was exactly the age she was while composing Silent Spring, and my working title was Resounding Spring because the book was my effort to show people how just about everything we do in our lives affects the environment that we share with birds, and what we can do to prevent a silent spring. I tried to make it as comprehensive as possible—there are virtually no conservation issues I've read about since the book was published in 2006 that aren't covered in the book. Really.

101 Ways to Help Birds was also awarded the Stephen T. Colbert Award for the Literary Excellence (Really!). Not that Stephen T. Colbert is even remotely aware of my existence. But his I Am America (And So Can You!) included stickers and said anyone who bought the book was free to put them on any book that "you feel embodies the values of the Colbert Nation." So why not?

Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids

Sharing the Wonder of Kids is rather dated—it was published in 1997, as its paltry references to "the World Wide Web" show. But it is based on my decades of personal experience teaching kids about birds, and in particular has a lot about managing field trips and sharing a spotting scope among a lot of people that are still extremely useful. This book also has a LOT about bird biology, and is even why some librarians have called me "the Dr. Ruth of ornithology." It won the National Outdoor Book Award. My friend Dudley Edmondson took the cover photograph, which includes my kids and some of their friends. I should point out that when the photo was taken, we were looking at my husband Russ, who was standing on a bridge above us. After the shot, Max, who had the spotting scope cranked up to 60 power, said, "Great nose hairs, Russ!" This is also the only bird book in the world with an endorsement from humorist Dave Barry on the cover. He wrote, "I heartily endorse this book because the author once sent me a tapeworm that came from a bird." Honest.

For the Birds: An Uncommon Guide

For the Birds: An Uncommon Guide, was written at the request of the publisher back in 1993, based on radio scripts from "For the Birds," which at the time had been on the air for 7 years. (It's now been on for 25.) It includes 365 short essays, each with a sidebar, some about conservation, some stories about various birds I was living with, had rehabbed, or had encountered while birding. Some people genuinely love this book: at a recent event, a couple came up holding their first edition (it's now in a 5th printing) which they'd had to have rebound.
Vintage copy of For the Birds!

SHIPPING INFORMATION: So how do you get a copy? It's cheapest to get it from Amazon, B&N, or your local bookstore. If you want a personalized copy or want me to get more money from the sale and don't mind spending the extra for shipping and a padded envelope*, send me an email with "Book Purchase" as the subject line, and include your address and how you want the book signed. Verify that you know how ridiculously expensive it is to order from me. I'll email you back my home address, which is where to send the money. You can send a personal check or money order. I'll get the book into the mail ASAP. If I'm gone for this or that, it could be a few days, but you'll know from my email. I'll trust you to get the money to me.

*I usually ship "Media Rate," and charge $5 for the first book (I have to pay for those padded envelopes, too!) and $2 each for books over that. (i.e.--add $5 if you order 1 book, $7 if you order 2, $9 if you order 3. See what I mean? It's cheaper to order from Amazon.)