Book Ideas

Call it sour grapes. When I was a young scholar, I used to wonder how to develop book ideas. You see, at a young age—twenties or thirties—even a doctorate means your understanding of the world is limited. I’d written a substantial dissertation on Asherah, and I was faced with developing several new courses from scratch at Nashotah House. My mind was focused on the immediate concerns. I did continue my research, however, into ancient Near Eastern deities, with an eye toward writing an account of celestial gods and goddesses. A substantial piece on Shapshu ended up being snatched up by a Festschrift, and colleagues began to tell me that to get hired away from Nashotah I had to write something biblical. Thus Weathering the Psalms was born. The research and writing took a few years because I never had a sabbatical, or reduced teaching load. In fact, administrative duties as registrar and academic dean were added to my remit. Still I scribbled away in the early hours and finished a draft. Then I was cast into the outer darkness.

Publishing was never my first choice of career. I’m more a writer than an editor. In publishing, however, you are not encouraged to write your own content. I can’t help myself. As I rounded the corner from my forties, I had finally read enough material—both relevant and extraneous—to have book ideas. In fact, too many. Held back by the lack of publication, I didn’t know how to channel this energy. One of the benefits of working for publishers is you learn how to come up with a viable book idea. I’ve got a backlog now. I’m currently working on a few books, but one is in the forefront of my mind and eclipses all other projects at the moment. Having watched what sells, I think this one has a real chance. Time to write, alas, barely exists. The writer, you must understand, has to build a platform. Get a fan base. Welcome to my platform.

Daily I receive the first books of young scholars. In this publish or perish—strike that—publish and perish atmosphere, even the mediocre is encouraged by dissertation advisors. Young scholars, maybe thirty, think they have something profound to say. Call it sour grapes, but I’m not getting any younger and I don’t have an institution to support me while I write what should be written. The face looking back at me in the morning has more gray hairs than I remember growing, and has wrinkles that my mind doesn’t recognize. It’s too full of books to write to pause long. The bus is coming soon and I have younger scholars’ careers to build with premiere branding. My own ideas ferment unseen in the basement. What some call sour grapes others call fine wine.

Photo credit: Dragonflyir, Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Dragonflyir, Wikimedia Commons

3 responses to “Book Ideas

  1. Do you want to write a book for the love of writing and maybe make some money or are you hoping to strike gold? Amazon has been a great place for self publishing, and since you lack time you could try novellas or short stories and then later releasing an omnibus if it takes off.
    Have you read the Wool series by Hugh Howey? He has become the poster child of self-publishing.
    http://www.hughhowey.com/
    Here is a great article that is super long, released in two parts but non-fiction. Just to show that if you are writing non-fiction, you could release it in sections and it could be successful.
    http://www.wired.com/2015/04/silk-road-1/

    Like

    • Thanks, Jenny. I’m not looking to get super rich; I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’ve looked at Amazon, but last time I did they were offering publishing deals by their invitation only–maybe I was looking in the wrong place? I’ve got plenty of content, but nowhere to place it. I’ll check out your links–thanks for letting me know!

      Like

  2. Good luck to you! I really enjoy reading your blog and I’m sure your books will be just as entertaining!!
    Amazon’s self publishing page
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520
    Reddit: a subreddit for self publishers (a lot of self promo stuff to wade through, but might have helpful info)
    http://www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish/?count=26&before=t3_3789br
    At the bottom of his “about me” are links to his readers favorite posts for writers.
    http://www.hughhowey.com/bio/

    Like

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