The book writing business: Finding time to write with Emmett Cox


Welcome to my new blog series, The Book Writing Business. Throughout the year, I will introduce topics and questions related to writing a book. Oftentimes, I'll give you my take on them. But more importantly, you'll hear directly from our authors. They'll tell you why they write for SAS Press or the Wiley and SAS Business Series, or what inspires them. Other topics may include handling reviewer comments and overcoming writer's block. I hope you enjoy this new series. If you want me to cover a particular topic, please tell me in the comments section below.

Now, for the first blog entry:

I just returned from the National Retail Federation, where I spoke with numerous retail experts. I talked to them about our two retail-focused books, Branded! by Lori Schafer and Bernie Brennan, and Retail Analytics by Emmett Cox. Both books were written by retail thought leaders. As we discussed the books, I wondered how these busy folks found the time to write a book. So, I posed this question to Emmett Cox. Here’s his answer, in his own words:

SAS author Emmett Cox

“My book didn’t start out to be a book. It was a chapter of do’s and don’ts that I could share with others across the globe. It was a collection of case studies and terminology that is critical for the retail analyst to know. Before long, I had 7 or 8 chapters, but I wasn’t sure where to go next. To be honest a BOOK really didn’t cross my mind. Who would be interested in a cross section of analytics practices from around the world?

I met with Shelley at a SAS Analytics conference and we discussed the idea of submitting a rough (very rough) draft to her colleagues within SAS. Initially I was skeptical and nervous about someone else looking over my work, and appraising it as a sellable item. As most people are, I was nervous about being graded.

What I found was a level of excitement that was absolutely infectious. I wanted to finish this project (this BOOK), and I wanted to have SAS involved. Shelley submitted the rough book (I hesitate to call it a manuscript) to Wiley for their opinion: do you want to market this or not?

Again the response from Wiley was excitement, and a genuine level of interest in me as an aspiring author to succeed.  In the end the book was published. I was curious if anyone would actually buy the book? They not only bought the book, but China bought the rights to translate to Chinese and sell in China.

I enjoyed writing the book. It was written as a pure love of analytics and retail/merchandising.”

To learn more about Emmett and Retail Analytics, visit his author page. And be sure to comment on this post if there are topics you'd like to see covered in my new blog series. 


About Author

Shelley Sessoms

Community Manager

Shelley Sessoms is a Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist in the Customer Engagement Marketing division at SAS. She manages several communities on the SAS Support Communities and also curates the SAS Learning Report and SUGA Download newsletters.. During her 20 years at SAS, she has written numerous customer-facing communications, as well as helped close to 100 employees and customers become authors through the SAS Press program.


  1. Pingback: Book writing business: Emmett Cox answers a reader’s question - The SAS Bookshelf

  2. I would like to know more about how to get behind myself as an expert. Our work is in a very competitive environment. We have critical coworkers, managers, clients and peers in programming. This leads at times to feeling we are less skilled than we are, I find. How do authors get behind themselves, as Emmett Cox did and commit to writing a book, where they will now be regarded as an expert?

  3. Pingback: The book writing business: Sanjay Matange explains how becoming an author helped his career - The SAS Bookshelf

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