Neil Hanson - Author and Publisher

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Neil Hanson | Writer - Below are a few recent posts from my website -

Monday, March 29, 2010

Exodus Within

Interesting observation: There is a bit of maniac / depressive stuff going on in my head right now about the book. There are moments when I am really excited about getting it out there, convinced that it will be "successful". Then, there are equal moments when a voice inside me screams at me to "stop this stupid idea". Here is what I see.

On one hand is the businessman in me - the consummate project manager who is moving this project toward point b. This guy knows how to get this done, and knows how to make sure this is successful. There is no doubt in this guy's mind that this will move forward well, and he is already trying to figure out how he is going to juggle the demands of marketing the book and responding to requests with the need to keep doing well at his day job.

On the second hand, there is the guy in me who knows in his heart and soul that he needs to drop this story out there into the river of life, and move on to wherever that leads. This is the Moses in me - listening to G-d nudging me forward from within.

The third hand is Pharaoh, telling me how dumb this idea is. The story is way too personal, and there are surely those who will laugh and ridicule the concepts and the ideas within, to say nothing of the description of experiences.

So perfect and fitting that during this week where we are moving up toward Passover, I see this struggle within.

I think that the key in these sorts of struggles is to not preconceive the miracles that will carry me forward. At this point, I don't know where it is that G-d wants to take me, or what he wants me to carry or do, right? None of us do. The key is to keep listening to the Moses within, and hold tight to the notion that there is a "forward" to move toward. I don't need to know anything about the destinations or the path - I just need to move forward.

Which brings me back to that first voice - that Project Manager within me who will absolutely get me to point b. This guy is good, and he will make things happen. But what will he make happen? What is the Point B that he will take me to? In my little Passover metaphor, I'm going to think of this guy as either Aaron (the brother of Moses) or maybe as Israel - the people. He is a force moving forward, and he has in his mind's eye what it is that he is moving toward. He's not likely to listen to course corrections. He's not likely to waste time on a lonely mountain in front of a burning bush listening to a new idea. He's moving forward.

It takes all three of me to get me to whatever my "Land" is. It takes the Pharaoh within to constantly question, to constantly force me to make sure I'm really pointed in the right direction. It takes the Moses within who is willing to listen to the True Voice. And it takes the Aaron within to keep the momentum going.

May this Pesach be Blessed to all.

2 Weeks From Printer Order?

Completely arbitrary guess on my part, but this printer order seems like an important milestone to me. It means that all the tasks associated with the construction of the book are complete, and now I start the "marketing" phase. I sent my draft of the "end of book" items to Nick - things like suggested reading, etc. We might have just a little bit of editing required to make everything fit nicely, but I think we're close.

Also have contacted a few folks on web site design - looking at people who seem to specialize in design for authors.

trudge trudge...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tiny Little Baby Steps Toward "Done"

Cover is complete now. Printing bids are in and waiting. Layout nearly complete. Final stages (just decided to add this) will be the "Book Group Resources", marketing, and "Suggested Reading" sections at the back of the book. Nick suggests a couple of tear out order forms too. Does anybody order books through the mail anymore?

Step by step...

I'm glad I'm learning all this, but can easily see that this can become a full-time job if I let it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yet Another Iteration

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yesterday was Dad's birthday, and I sent out the "feels almost done" back cover copy to Peg and the kids for review. We had a nice Sunday dinner together, where I showed them what I thought was "almost done". They had great feedback, so I made changes and sent in email again to them late in the afternoon.

I sure hope that subsequent books are easier to put together than this one in terms of all this cover design etc.

I'm also having second thoughts about the whole thing.

The more this feels like a commercial venture, the less it feels like what I really wanted to do when I put this story down in writing. While I really do view this book as something that I am supposed to "give" away, I also have a desire to use this book as a way to transition my "mission" in life - my career - to that of a writer.

It's a really funny place that I am sitting right now - on a fence between a couple of different "fields", pulled by desire into one field, pushed by practicality (or something) back the other way.

There's a really magical little corner of some land in Kansas where I archery hunt for whitetail. It is truly a corner, where 4 different quarter-sections come together in a single fencepost. Each of the 4 quarters that come together right there offer a different habitat, and it is a favorite "posting ground" for the bucks in the fall. Lots of rubs, and they seem to roam around that space like gladiators.

I often sit in a tree that lets me watch that corner. The tree is right on one of the fencelines, looking east. There is a really magical feeling right there - as if you can feel the tension of the bucks that roam close by listening for battles, casting for scent.

Right now with my writing career, I feel a bit like I am watching that corner. Sitting on a fenceline, looking east toward the rising sun. Wondering what the day will bring, wondering which of the 4 quarters I might hunt in this next day, wondering where the magic will come from this morning...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Graphic Artist v2

Well, the stake in the ground is only one of many pins I am coming to learn. Cover art and titles kind of need to happen together, so working with Cristina and Alex and Anna and Peggy, we narrowed the titles down significantly, and the cover art down as well. Sending the revised v2 back to Nick (the artist) today after Erik gets a quick look at things.

For prosperity and so I remember, the working title was always Samuel's Book, since in the early "fictionalized" form the main character was Samuel. Then, when I sent it to Nick for art, I settled on a title of A Father, A Son, and The Breath of God. I really like this title, but the consensus around me is that this title is way too religious - it will scare off lots of people who would enjoy the book but would avoid it if it sounds too "Christian" or "Religious".

Good input - so the narrowing and the plodding continues...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Title to Artist

I sent my manuscript to the Graphic Artist today. This is a really big step for me. Now I start the more straightforward work of getting the work to print, after which I expect the real work of marketing the book to begin.

But it feels really really good to know that there is a pretty firm stake in the ground at this point - a "final" draft that he can start work on.

Also got my block of ISBN numbers, and started inquiries at printers. Plod plod plod...

The pressure now: Come up with a bloody title!