Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A writer's demo

I've been working on my nonfiction book proposal - something I've recently uncovered the need for. A first time author needs to give literary agents a sample of what he or she has in mind in the hoped that they will then shop the work around to publishers.

It's kind of like being a musician: you create a demo of your songs and then try and get a manager or lawyer to take you on and get your stuff in the hands of record labels (or at least that's how it used to be when the music industry wasn't just American Idol). Then if the labels like it they will work with you to get the material ready for release.

So I've been working on my demo, and I think it is coming along. Thankfully there are tons of resources to help (way too many, actually). Here are a couple that I've found helpful:

BookEnds - "What is a book proposal for nonfiction writers"

Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada's "Make yourself irresistible"

I'm also ordered Larsen's "How to Write a Book Proposal" and "Publicize Your Book" by Jacqueline Deval. It's a lot of info but I'm sure it will help!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interviewing challenges

I had a lovely interview with Rabbi David Gelfand in Manhattan this week (which I *did* shave for! See my previous post...) I am consistenly suprised and appreciative of the time and generosity of most of the folks I've interviewed for this book. Curing people of their most basic flaws is no light subject!

As you know from reading this blog I am talking to people who study the human mind, as well as theologians who can speak with some degree of expertise about human values systems. So far I've interviewed a Southern Baptist pastor, a former Catholic priest, a Jewish Rabbi and a Hindu priest.

One of the big gaps right now is the Muslim perspective. As the Rabbi and I discussed this week that is particularly challenging because of the loaded political and cultural baggage placed on Islamic leaders these days. It's too bad because I'd love to chat with a really traditional Imam - and I've reached out to a few with little response back. Perhaps they are suspicious of my motives as a non-Muslim American, I dunno. I really just want to get their perspective!

Well, I will keep trying...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Video blog!

This is my first attempt at a video blog post. Not sure why the audio is a bit out of sync, I recorded it straight into the computer!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Middle madness

I have a pretty good flow happening in terms of the book outline. Well...I have a strong beginning (where I'm integrating theological, evolutionary and neuropsychological thought about human sin) and a cohesive ending, where I get into the "cures" for humankind's seven deadly vices.

The challenging bit right now is the middle! I've accumulated some great insights on the role of culture, religion and government in shaping people's behavior but it's proving very difficult to organize into a compelling narrative.

It will happen...just have to take all this research and find the story for this second act (to use a screenwriting analogy).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Project Overview

A few friends have rightly pointed out that I don't have a basic overview of this book on this blog! Yeah that might have been something to do as a first post, ha ha.

Anyway here's the general overview as it stands today:

We are sick.

We can’t help it – we’re born this way. Humans share a powerful genetic foundation that enables our survival but also the burden of tremendous flaws. Each of us deals in some degree with all seven of these so-called deadly flaws, the “sin traits” of pride, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth and jealousy. They affect the decisions we make, our relationships with others and our role in society as a whole. Human sin traits are powerful drivers that are at the root of almost all of mankind’s greatest ongoing challenges: violence in the Middle East, global climate change, a world economy in crisis, rampant poverty and disease in Africa, to name just a few.

Curing the Human Disease is the first book to examine the evolutionary and biological basis for the sin traits and how each manifests itself in modern society. It takes a look at how different cultural forces can mitigate sinful behavior and how people can make significant changes in themselves and help those around them. It asks (and answers) the question, "Recognizing that we are fundamentally flawed, what do we do about it?" The book incorporates thousands of years of religious and philosophical thought along with the latest neuroscientific research, with insights and ideas from exclusive interviews with the world’s leading sociologists, psychologists, theologians, neurologists, anthropologists, historians and political scientists.

Ok I hope that helps...let me know if anything is not clear!

Friends and families

It's good to have friends and a big family...I've developed a large group of people over the years that I trust and who get excited about what I'm up to.

I say this because I've been reaching out to the people I know asking for help with connections to people I might interview for the book, research leads and any publisher/agent connections. A lot of people are offering great insights!

It seems that writing a book isn't just about typing words but also networking and marketing and cajoling. I'm not's an interesting journey.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Luxurious distance

Wow I went over a week withouth posting in this thig...sheesh!

The reality is that my marketing consultant / day job life took up tons of time this past week. So aside from reading a few relevant books during my travels (and doing a lot of highlighting), I've been pretty much ignoring the book until today.

One nice thing about taking time away from writing is the luxury of perspective. Rereading some of the work thus far today has illustrated the need for distance every so often - some of it was a real mess and I was too close to it to realize!

So today was spent editing and incoporating a few new ideas, mostly in the "Born to Sin" chapter (where I discuss the evolutionary and bioligical basis for sin). I'm hoping this week will give me more time to continue the work but life's adventure may have another plan for me...we shall see :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A dream come true?

Over the past month or two I've been chatting with a few publishers about my book and the interest level has been suprisingly high!

And then today to my shock I got my first publishing offer...they even sent a design of what the cover might look like!!

Check it out!!!