Speaking from Austin, Texas, in between his 55th and 56th speaking engagements, author Seth M. Siegel laments how the Barnes & Noble retailer places his book in the wildlife section. There isn’t a single animal mentioned anywhere in the volume.
“They have me in the wildlife section because they don’t have a context,” Siegel says. “I would love to see a day, and I think it’ll happen soon, that there’s a water section in the bookstore.”
Indeed, at Siegel’s current pace, that day is fast approaching. The New York businessman never believed he would sell the book to a major publisher but scored a deal with Thomas Dunne. He didn’t think he had a bestseller for any list, let alone the book’s eventual designations as a New York Times science bestseller and a Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller. He never expected his flood of invitations to speak nationwide — more than 300, of which he has accepted 120. Despite the natural Jewish interest in a book that tells a story about Israeli achievements, only a third of Siegel’s speaking invitations are from Jewish groups.
Everything considered, “Let There Be Water” is shaping up as not just a popular book, but a grassroots movement that Siegel hopes will help influence water policy around the world.
“Most authors, their goal is to sell as many books as they can,” he said. “While to be sure I’m happy to sell as many books as I can, my goal here is to start a conversation.”