1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. At what point did you decide to pursue writing about your field of study?
I started my career as a process development engineer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, designing better ways to connect computer chips to circuit boards. As an engineer, I gravitated toward writing the articles for publication in trade magazines and the reports for projects. I began my writing career with Advanced Packaging Magazine, a publication in which I had published contributed articles. My current business, JLFG Communications, focuses on writing technical marketing content for corporate websites, but I still occasionally write articles for trade and business magazines. It’s nice to keep a toe in journalism and not only write anonymous content.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
My initial inspiration was a desire to shift my client base toward companies involved in sustainable manufacturing and renewable energy. I figured that writing a book on the topic would give me credibility that would help me get a foot in the door. Clients I’ve been working with for years will trust me with projects outside my proven fields of expertise, but potential clients often want to see experience writing for their specific industry.
As I delved into the research, my fascination with the subject matter and interactions with the enthusiastic business professionals I interviewed inspired me to continue. I knew that I needed to get this book out into the world.
3) What do you hope readers will take away from your book above all else?
I want readers to understand that the challenges of reducing waste in manufacturing are complex, but many smart business leaders are developing creative solutions and progress is being made. We shouldn’t be complacent, but neither should we be discouraged. I want readers to commit to at least one action at work or at home that allows them to be part of the solution.
4) What drew you into this particular field of study?
I’ve been fascinated by engineered materials ever since I took an introductory materials science course in college, but I didn’t always consider the environmental impact of all the amazing materials that engineers were inventing. In recent years, I’ve thought more about these issues and the responsibility of manufacturers to their employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. The more I learned about companies embracing the triple bottom line—profit, people, planet—the more I became convinced that I should write a book focused on the materials aspect of sustainability.
5) What is the number one thing you would recommend for a manufacturing company just starting out in their business?
Fledgling manufacturing companies contemplating the shift from prototypes to volume production face many hurdles. I urge them to consider the environmental footprint of their manufacturing process when evaluating their entire supply chain. If they want to be eco-friendly, that needs to extend to every component or ingredient in their products, every vendor they choose, where they manufacture their products, and how they ship products to customers. Making smart decisions up front can save money in the long run and build trust with customers.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’ve gotten traction with both Facebook and LinkedIn. I made my book launch an event on Facebook and invited all my local Seattle-area friends. My multiple posts about the book got the attention of many friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for 20 years, and many of them are now on my mailing list. When my LinkedIn contacts shared my post about the book launch, it expanded my reach to hundreds of people I’ve never met. In the long run, I believe that LinkedIn will be more helpful in reaching a business audience.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Join a writing group that meets in person, in addition to participating in online groups. Writing is a solitary activity, but just being in the company of other writers can inspire you to achieve your goals. For nonfiction authors, the Nonfiction Authors Association has a wealth of information on its website, including links to its weekly teleseminars, plus chapters in many cities that hold monthly meetings. Whether you’re wondering what type of editing your book will need or trying to decide between submitting a proposal to agents or self-publishing, experienced authors can help point you in the right direction.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
In the short term, I’m focused on marketing Material Value. Simply writing a book that people want to read isn’t enough. It’s an author’s responsibility to let potential readers know that the book exists. I am, however, gathering ideas for my next book. It will also address materials and sustainability but focused on the textile and fashion industries. A surprisingly large number of companies are producing fabrics made from recycled plastic water bottles.
About the Author:
Julia L F Goldstein holds a PhD in materials science and started her career as an engineer before migrating to journalism in 2001. She now writes white papers and other technical marketing content for companies manufacturing a wide variety of products. Julia is active in her local writing community and leads the Seattle chapter of the Nonfiction Authors Association. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing flute and piccolo and participating in triathlons.