Full Court Press Kit

By Phil Plait | April 22, 2007 11:47 am

One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to give public talks about astronomy. It’s not a big secret that I love love love this stuff, and as much fun as it is to write about astronomy, there’s just more connectiveness, more immediacy, more intimacy, with standing up in front of a crowd and showing them astronomy.

I’d give talks every week if I could, and there have been many times I’ve done four in one day. With my loaded work schedule, however, it’s always been tough.

But hey, wait a sec — soon I’ll be a full time writer. I won’t have the daily 8 a.m. – to – 6 p.m. grind of a day job (just the 7 a.m. – to – midnight grind of publisher deadlines, aiiie aiiieee aiieeeeee!). I’ll be free to travel whenever I want and give talks!

So I am announcing this to world: let me talk. I want to travel around, I want to talk about astronomy, I want to teach people about critical thinking and skepticism and science and use lots of run-on sentences. I want to excite people and infect them with the love I have of science.

To make this easier on the kinds of people who need the info, I have created a Bad Astronomy Public Relations Kit (it’s on the left hand menu on the blog and the main site). It has information about my talks (with glowing testimonials from people who have invited me in the past, like James Randi!), my history, pictures, and videos, including a clip from a talk I gave at Adrian College in Michigan about the Face on Mars. That’s a fun one.

If you are at a museum, college, or some other venue where you have invited talks, then drop me a line (contact info is provided as well)!

Let me talk! I have a lot of stuff I want to say.


Comments (43)

  1. Hi Phil, sounds cool. I know you’d be welcome to speak at the Boulder Writer’s Alliance. It’s a pretty small group of writers that meets at NCAR in Boulder once every other month. Otherwise it’s an online group that’s pretty quiet except for job announcements.

    I’m sure it’s not the type of lucrative gig you’re looking for, but I figured I’d put in a plug for our little group of writers in your new home town.


  2. And you have to announce this the very day I leave my undergrad university, leaving behind all the skeptical rep I built up there which I could have used to get you a gig? (See, I can run-on too.) It’s going to take some time to build that up again at grad school, but I’ll let you know if I can swing anything.

  3. Gary Ansorge

    The only way to be a successful writer, as my Bro. puts it is to wll,,,,write. Sit down, starting writing, whether it’s something significant or just nonsense, it gets the ball rolling, so to speak. Do it the same time every day, write for a set number of hours, take a break then do it some more. Issac Asimov and Robert Heinlien gave the same advice. I know you’re disciplined, heck, you have to be, with a PhD, but successful writing is both a creative endevor and HARD BLOODY WORK.

    HAving said that,,,best of luck. I know you’ll be a great success at imparting what’s important to this sorry old planet,,,the ability to think.

    GAry 7

  4. Crux Australis

    How widely are you willing to travel? The Southern Cross and other circumpolar constellations are lovely this time of year :-)

  5. John

    I don’t know where, but you should speak some place in Central Ohio. I’m sure I’m not the only one. :)

  6. Man, that photo just SCREAMS “caption contest”!

    “Hey, look, it’s Hal Bidlack nude!”

    “I just realized–there’s 2,000 people here!”

    “I love you THIIIIIIIS much!”

    “My mom said if I made this face it would freeze. I should have listened!”

    “Phil, do your impersonation of an astrologer asked to explain precession.”

    “I swear, the fish was this long! It got away, but oh, man, you should have seen it!”

  7. I’m sure I could find you a place to talk in Calgary… there’s my school board, there’s the university, there’s the science centre, the astronomical society… just say the word.

  8. Hey Phil, since you’re leaving Sonoma State, I’m presuming your snail mail address will change? The Sonoma State addy is still on your Contact Page.

    I know our astronomy club would love to have you speak here in Michigan.

  9. Philip From Australia

    But will you speak for Minties?



  10. Xenu

    Strange, but lately your blog posts appear faster on google reader than here…

  11. What I want to know is, where the hell do you find the time to do all the things you do?
    Speaking, blogging,writing a book [which I’m looking forward to]
    Not to mention this excellent newsletter.
    Good luck in all your endeavors.

  12. Are you going on tour when you have finished your record, eerr, I mean your book? :-)

  13. These days the success of any writing, and any endeavor, actually is to talk, talk, talk. Writing gets done by writing, as Bad already knows, but having books published means not a lot if they are not put into the public’s hands, as I have learned from firsthand experience. As hard as it is to get “real” published (as opposed to, say, PublishAmerica or other such crap) it is absolutely the truth that the hardest part is promotion and this is true for Bad, too, as he knows, even though he has built himself a tremendous platform. Writers must have a platform these days. Too bad, so sad, but it’s the truth. I’m afraid I have to spend more time preparing/booking/doing talks than writing.

    ****Let’s all think of organized ways to get Phil’s word and press kit around. In my area (western North Carolina) we have Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) with which I’m involved in promoting, and most local gigs around here go their astronomers for talks, etc. So that’s a bit of a problem in my immediate area. But elsewhere in my neck of the woods there might be many opportunities.

    What are appropriate venues for you, Phil? Astronomy clubs, etc. are obvious I guess. But high schools? Libraries? Tickle my brain a little. I’ve promoted my pet astronomers at PARI plenty, as they’ll tell you, and it would be my pleasure to do the same for you. You would need larger cities, I expect?

    Once we know that, each of us can compile a list of venues and send the link to Phil’s press kit and a well-written email of recommendation. Everyone, always be ready and willing to write a letter (snail) of recommendation about Phil, on request. In many situations, you (the public’s) recommendation will add much to Phil’s blurbs from prominent people such as Randi.

    Brainstorm: how about going on online sites such as Meetup.com, choosing appropriate interest groups (skepticism and others, for example) and sending a well crafted email (plus Phil’s press kit link) to the organzers? They might be just the ones to know appropriate venues in their area where Phil might speak.

    Phil is the best thing we have going and everything we can do to spread the word about him…well, what can one person do? Just watch.

    (Bad, even though my website doesn’t reflect it (my past writing was supernatural fiction), I’m involved in science education partly through PARI and do a talk for my state’s Humanities Council called “A Deep and Fervent Mystery: Literary Nonfiction About Nature and Science” which is designed to encourage people who think they want to write to consider getting grounded in science and learning to write about it with accuracy, and with the eloquence it deserves. I would love to develop a contest for this kind of writing where I and other judge the quality of writing and astronomers such as those at PARI and those like yourself judge the science. Any ideas on that?)

  14. Woops! It’s early in the morning and my above post reflects that. Sorry. I was in such a hurry to get it out, I didn’t look it over very well.

    Phil, you did say museums and colleges would be good. So, everyone, let’s get to work!

  15. Figaro Figaro Figaro FEEEEEEEGAROOOOOOOOOO………..

  16. Donnie B.

    I will now demonstrate how I can eat a microphone IN A SINGLE BITE!

  17. Phil, I have contacted the director of Discovery Place, a great science museum in Charlotte, NC. I hope you hear from them.

  18. i don’t suppose you’d consider an international tour? I’d sooner go to a talk by the Bad Astronomer than any concert by any musician you care to name. Dammit, rope Randi and Penn and Teller and the rest of the bunch in and do an international lecture tour and don’t miss out on South Africa!

    I am *so* jealous of people who actually have a reasonable hope of getting to an Amazing meeting :(

  19. Moonflake, are you in S. Africa?

  20. Wow.

    Your idea of an international tour is excellent.

    I’ve never been to TAM, myself. I wouldn’t feel exactly welcome, to tell the truth.

  21. John Oliver

    Can’t wait to see BA flogging his book on the Colbert Report … Phil, have your agent get to work on that.

  22. Phil,

    Here is something that popped up today that is sure to warrant at least a chapter in your next book…


    Yes, we have only about 10M years or so until the cosmic rays get us!

  23. Are any of you familiar with Alan Hale (of Hale-Bopp comet) and his Earthrise project?


  24. mjb

    The microphone looks good but let’s face it, you’re just too *bald* to be an astronomy media guy (sorry if that’s harsh).

  25. Chris

    How about the University of Colorado?

    It’ll be nice and local for you soon :)

  26. @ mjb: You mean: not bald enough! 😉

    Let’s be fair, can you name one astronomy media guy with a lot of hair? Then again, I can only name one astronomy media guy…. Sir Patrick Moore: http://sirpatrickmoore.com/ . He is quite a character. Can you think of anybody with a website who does all his writing on a 1908 Woodstock typewriter?

  27. Irishman

    Phil, so does this mean we can finally drag you to ApolloCon? Houston, June 2008. Mark it on your calendar now!

  28. mjeb: “The microphone looks good but let’s face it, you’re just too *bald* to be an astronomy media guy (sorry if that’s harsh).”

    That’s just plain rude, it’s just not cricket mate, in fact I think BA and I share the same barber Mr. Remington @ No. 2.

    Jacco Burger: “Let’s be fair, can you name one astronomy media guy with a lot of hair?”

    For a hairy media guy (I assume we talk head hair here), how about Brian May from Queen? He wrote the astronomy book: Bang! The Complete History of The Universe with Chris Lintott and…. Sir Patrick Moore (no less!). See also FFS! where I wrote about it.

  29. Tukla in Iowa

    That’s an incredibly realistic Second Life avatar, Phil.

    Oh, wait. Wrong thread….

  30. I’m near Charlotte, maybe I’ll give Discovery Place a call, too.

  31. Hey, thanks everyone (with the Hubble image and the new planet thingy I haven’t had a chance to read over the comments here). I’m willing to travel pretty much anywhere — I’d go back to Australia in a heartbeat given the chance — but if I’m traveling I prefer the venue be at least medium-sized… like 100+ people. I once traveled a loooong way only to have 2 people show up. Yikes. Still and all, whatever I can do, I’ll do.

    Also — and this is somewhat delicate — but it does take money to travel as well. It seemed crass to mention it out loud in the blog entry. I’ll keep discussions of that offline! Also, I probably won’t get much of a chance to do much before October, since that’s when the book is due. But it can take a few months to set these things up, so it seemed like the right time to do it.

    But again, thanks everyone!

    And I’m too bald to be a media guy. Right. I suppose Patrick Stewart and Mitch Pileggi feel the same way. Feh.

  32. Marcie

    I just love Phil’s self promotion ! He cracks me up!
    I think it’s neat. The part he mentioned called ” Critical Thinking ” has me inspired . I keep notebooks filled with my scientific thoughts & theories on astronomy , little did I know I was criticallly thinking! sometimes too deep OUCH !


  33. David

    Yeah Marcie good one on mentioning the critical thinking, that got me going too, i’d love to take a free online class with phil teaching it !

  34. Eddie

    Hey Phil i noticed you have a lecture on your blog of the ufo question, will you put all your lectures in full for us?

    That would be awesome !!


  35. hey Phil can you come to our prison and talk?
    I’ll ask the warden if you can!

  36. what kind of jackass would think phil would go to a freakin prison !!!!!!!!!! ??????

  37. This kind of jackass .. so whatcha think Phil ??
    johnny cash folsom prison style!!

    sing about astronomy!

  38. LMAO @ johnny cash folsom prison !

    What’s the name of your prison kooljay? full o’morons ?

  39. He’ll ask the warden ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!!!!


    Phil your not to bald !! Kojack was bald , your hairstyle is well groomed!

  41. fiona G

    well groomed ? what kind of compliment is that ?
    Phil your just too sexy for top of head hair! 😉

  42. Craig

    Lmao @ the people discussing Phil’s hair and singing astronomy at a prison ! and ask the ward! HAHHAHAHA !

    Phil I can’t wait for your book !! type fat!! get your wife to buy a remote like adam sanders in click and fast forward you !!

    Keep up the awesome blog! :))


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