Let’s suppose you are the author of a hot selling series of books, with titles like “Fifty Places to Go Birding Before you Die,” and “Fifty Places to Sail Before you Die.” Now your editor suggests you write one about diving. The problem is you are a casual diver, with only a few hours underwater.
If you’re Chris Santella, you seek out fifty experts and interview them about their favorites, in addition to doing basic research. How did he find these experts? Networking. Tom Phillip, Ethan Gordon, and the Scubazoo crew provided Chris an entrée into the convoluted world of diving professionals.
When Chris called, he quizzed me about my experiences and opinions on the Galapagos. It’s among the top half dozen of my favorite places, but I told him I’d rather discuss Bikini or the Red Sea. Too bad, only one destination per expert, and Galapagos was what he’d assigned me. Over the next half hour, he asked incisive questions which showed he had done his homework before calling. At the end of the interview I voiced some concerns about environmental protection in the area, and asked outright if these would be included in the text. I’m relieved to report that they are. So this isn’t just editorial puffery...