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LordFoxglove
February 7th, 2006, 10:51 PM
For readers: I am experiencing a writing quandary, and Iím hoping you will chime in and give me your opinions. I have been asked to write a book about my coven and the way in which it operates. The problem I have is that the publisher wants me to write it as an A to Z step-by-step ďhow toĒ guide, and thatís not how our coven does things. We are a very progressive, spiritual, open-minded group that fosters each otherís needs and ideas. We donít share and teach through written guides, but through experience and a hands-on approach. In the original manuscript for the book I share many of my personal experiences about how the coven came to be and why it is so successful. The publisher wishes to remove any and all of my personal story from the book and stick with the Ďhow toĒ format. My question is this: As a reader, what is your preference? Would you enjoy hearing about the personal spiritual experience or would you rather have such a book limited to just the nuts and bolts?

For pagan authors: Have you ever experienced censoring of the human factor such as this? From a readers standpoint, which approach would you find preferable?

Any feedback is most welcome. Artistic and spiritual struggles are never easy, and it helps to hear from those we are hoping to touch with our art.

Fox

Juniper138
February 8th, 2006, 04:54 AM
It's important to have a bit of personal experince and advice given after the how-to part. It lends the reading experience a human feel and gives the reader an idea of how it really works, looks, feels, smell, and sounds. Just plain how-to is rather sterile, and I think, an odd way to teach Faith. As Religion, and how we organize it, is a very personal thing. Covens are made of people, not lists of rules...people do not come with instruction manuals. Examples of how different people think, feel and react to the creation and organization of a Coven is vital as far as I am concerned. I think any new HP would find it less difficult to apply the how-tos to his/hers own Coven if given some examples of personal experience along with the lessons.

Nerts
February 8th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Dude, sounds like your publisher is Citadel.
I like to have both a 'how-to' and a 'personal' section when I'm reading a book like this. Or mesh them together. That way I can be told how it's done with some really good examples.
I'm one of those people that learns the most through doing. When that can't happen hearing (or reading) about someone's experience is just as good. I tend to zone out when it's all "do this and sit like that or be this way" it just doesn't work for me.
I feel for you man. Having to be in a bind like that between doing what you want and what someone else wants you to do.
Best of luck to you!

E.

Lorrie
February 8th, 2006, 01:52 PM
I agree, both should be included. I remember beginning my path, it is very confusing and I bought book after book and was even more confused, I just wanted to know what's it about? Most books begin with what you need for your alter, and these kinds of basics. I wanted to know how it all relates to the old time pagan religeon, why is it done this way or that way, how do I find where I belong?How do I find information on all of these gods and goddesses, and why are there so many, what are they all about, what are their associations, how do i find out? I had so many questions, and each book was pretty much the same, your alter. When you get into personal experiences, you begin to see and understand that everyone has these questions, and maybe through your personal story can understand how to find their way past alters 101 and get into the real stuff!

Morgaine_cla
February 8th, 2006, 03:20 PM
For pagan authors: Have you ever experienced censoring of the human factor such as this? From a readers standpoint, which approach would you find preferable?

Greetings, Brother Fox,

Llewellyn once asked me to write a book on Avalonian Druidry. It was right before the mini-series "Mists of Avalon" came out and they were keen to have it, since I am an Avalonian Druid.

They too wanted a "How To" Manual. But like you, our method of training is not compatible with such a linear approach. We are an oral tradition and have only very recently begun using written materials to supplement oral lore (myth), endeavours, hunts ("quests") and other experiential work. In my view, we cannot learn the same things from reading as we can from experiencing and doing. We cannot learn a path alone as well as we can under the guidance of someone who knows it. Sometimes you cannot learn it at all without such guidance.

But more than this... Without a context, what will your written words mean to your readers?

They cannot mean what you intend, since we do not have your context for understanding. We cannot understand what we have not experienced. I have studied in different experiential systems and none were interchangeable. Therefore, despite having experienced hands-on learning, I have not experienced your method with you, thus I cannot "know" it.

The best you can hope for is that our (the reader's) reinterpretation of your meaning will lead us to something approximating your intent. At worst, you could find yourself complicit in profaning your own hard-earned path. Most people will believe that reading your book means they "know" your path; and once you publish, reader reinterpretations will gain a much greater momentum than could ever possibly be achieved in-person... Are you prepared to meet this possibility?

I am a Druid first, then a mentor of Druids, then a reader and last, an author. As a reader, I want the real thing in context -- or not at all. As a Druid, I want the real experience and I am willing to do the work, invest the time, money and travel to have it, whatever it takes.

As a Druid, I will not publish anything that will diminish the power or truth of the ancestral legacy to which I am inheritor. All of which leaves the author in me with few options. Thus, I have chosen to restrict my publishing to brief articles and books for ADO members only. It is not ideal, but it is the compromise I am willing to live with.

Of course, a time will come no doubt when someone else will publish and then I will have the same headaches to deal with... but at least I will have no share in diminishing the power and truth of the gift of my teachers...

Whether you will share these concerns, or whether they will apply to your form of spirituality, I cannot say. But it is common for publishers to tell you what to write and even how to write it. Very common, even amongst 'pagan' publishers. Publishing is a business whose first consideration is sale of products, as defined by market surveys and analysis. If authenticity fits the market profile, wonderful -- but in the consumer mindset it is expendable... That is the unfortunate truth of the matter.

And so, Brother Fox, these are my own thoughts and experiences. You must choose as your own heart directs you. I wish you well and may your choice be that which is in your own, and your coven's, highest good.

Bendithion Afallon,

Morgaine

Lorrie
February 8th, 2006, 05:06 PM
And then there is always the way of Follow Your Heart , and trust that you are doing what needs to be done. You may begin writing, and suddenly you know how it needs to be done! Meditate on it maybe?

LisaT4P
February 16th, 2006, 08:32 AM
It absolutely means more if the personal experience is there. Without an understanding of Why something worked then we (as readers and students) are going to be confused and still questioning.

Taking out the personal experiences equates to taking out the practical application of the "how to". Example: Geometry. We understand geometry better when we know that we will use it to measure the size of a room to buy a rug. :) Without the room & the rug it is sort of useless information with no practical application.

Good luck, I wish I had the real answer. :)

Rin Daemoko
February 16th, 2006, 09:01 AM
I've found that it helps me a great deal when there is personal experience at the heart of, or framing a particular idea in a book. The stories of personal experience really help me to understand the point being made by showing how they work in the real world. It also makes me less skeptical because it's not just "here's an idea, and it's all very theoretical, blah, blah, blah" and more "here's and idea, and here's some experiential evidence to support it."

A straight "how to" book would completely useless to me. "Tell me, and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand."

LordFoxglove
February 23rd, 2006, 11:23 AM
I have decided to decline the publishers request to write the sterile A to Z "How To" coven book and will be shopping around for another publisher for the manuscript. its important for any author to keep in mind that reworking, editing, and rewrites are all a part of the publishing game, but we also have to decide for ourselves where the line will be drawn with our work. All of your comments have shown that the work means nothing without the personal experience, and I thank you for taking the time to share your comments and feelings.

If this particular manuscript is destined to never see print then so be it. Better that than sell my readers short by publishing a work that is less than what I have to offer.

Thanks again! Fox

Desert_Witch
December 30th, 2006, 10:13 AM
I know I am late to chime in, but what about self publishing?

Zhr Morgana
December 30th, 2006, 06:33 PM
I know I am late to chime in, but what about self publishing?

Yeah that's what I would suggest as well. That way you have complete control over not just what your manuscript is, but everything else depending on who you go with.

covenofkeys
December 30th, 2006, 08:18 PM
:idea: aha!! thanks. lol thats a very good idea.

LordFoxglove
January 19th, 2007, 01:04 PM
Self-publishing is always an option for any author, and I mean no offense to anyone that has gone that route, but self-publishing inst the same as getting published. While many good (and well written) books have been self-published, in the end the author is only paying someone to print books for them. Nothing more, nothing less. It isnít the same as having your work deemed worthy of publication by a company of professionals in the literary field.

That being said, landing a publishing deal with a major publisher is much easier said than done, and dealing with publishers and negotiating contracts can be very frustrating (Iím speaking from personal experience here). I understand why self-publishing can seem attractive to a respective author.

This thread began with a discussion about my coven book, which is now so far on the back burner itís practically buried in other projects. Iíve recently completed a new book (title forthcoming), and am hot at work on the next one. The big problem I had with the coven book was that it was a book the publisher asked me to write rather than being inspired to write. Thatís a whole other ball game!

Anyway, thanks for all your replies to my post. Iím negotiating my new book with several major publishers, and as soon as I decide which company Iím going to publish with I will post the title, the publisher, and projected date of publication here at Mystic Wicks.

Thanks everyone! Marcus (Fox)

Greybird
January 19th, 2007, 01:49 PM
It's a shame. I've just got done cataloging my metaphysical library, and one thing stood out - while I've got dozens, literally of how-to books, I've got very, very few metaphysical books that discuss the author's actual experiences except when it serves to emphasize a certain point. I'd love to see a few more 'personal' books.

I can go and read 'Peaceful Warrior' or 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' and get a very personal, spiritual view of life from the author, but when it comes to modern paganism, that style is notoriously absent. Give me Jonathan Livingston Wiccan already!

LordFoxglove
January 19th, 2007, 06:31 PM
It's a shame. I've just got done cataloging my metaphysical library, and one thing stood out - while I've got dozens, literally of how-to books, I've got very, very few metaphysical books that discuss the author's actual experiences except when it serves to emphasize a certain point. I'd love to see a few more 'personal' books.

I can go and read 'Peaceful Warrior' or 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' and get a very personal, spiritual view of life from the author, but when it comes to modern paganism, that style is notoriously absent. Give me Jonathan Livingston Wiccan already!

Yes, so would I. I think personal books are much more meaningful and inspirational. Most New Age/Pagan publishers won't touch such a book, no matter how well know the author is.

Makes you wonder why doesn't it?

Fox

Greybird
January 19th, 2007, 10:19 PM
I don't have to wonder too long to realize that the mainstream market is for 'quick fix' books rather than 'think and learn' books. Honestly, the best 'books' I've read in the past year have all been podcasts, just because they don't have to suit a market.

Desert_Witch
January 21st, 2007, 07:31 PM
I hear ya Marcus regarding the prestige and all of having a respected Publisher handle your work. Pluss you still have to hassle with Distributers Etc if you Self Publish. But the creative control retained by a Self Published Author might be worth the sacrifices in some cases. However, I am sure you know far more about this than me.

Cant wait for your next book in any case, cuz I know it will be good.:cheers:

BB

Des



PS. Greybird, i so know what you mean. (Just went thrue mu library the other day too:cheers:

LordFoxglove
January 28th, 2007, 01:05 PM
Cant wait for your next book in any case, cuz I know it will be good.:cheers:


Well thanks so much, and I should have some news to share about my next soon. The book is already written, and there are two publishers interested in it. I recently signed with a literary agent to keep everything straight and to negotiate contracts for me. Publishing contracts make my brain swell.

My wife and I will be traveling to Convocation near Detroit at the end of February to do some networking and see some old friends. Christopher Penczak will be there as well, and it will be good to see him again. I haven't seen Chris face-to-face since INATS West in 2005.

I will post again soon. Perhaps it's time to start a new thread? Hmmm...

Marcus

Desert_Witch
February 1st, 2007, 10:44 AM
Marcus,

The suspense is just killing me. Can you give us some clues as to what the new book will be about, Somthing general, perhaps? Thanks so much ether way, and have a safe trip!

BB

DW

LordFoxglove
February 6th, 2007, 10:23 AM
Marcus,

The suspense is just killing me. Can you give us some clues as to what the new book will be about, Somthing general, perhaps?

Well, I can tell you that the new book is a spiritual journey with heavy shamanic overtones and utilizes a combined form of shamanic ecstasy and guided meditation Iíve developed. The book is half fiction- half nonfiction, and a very well known pagan author (more info after the book has been contracted) has graciously agreed to pen me a foreword for the new book.

Iím hard at work writing my third book, which chronicles paranormal investigations that have been conducted by my team, which is known as WISP (Witches in Search of the Paranormal).

And after that Iím considering writing a full-length novel (yes, Iíve lost my friggin mind).

Yeah, you will find Iím pretty eclectic as far as interests are concerned. I donít like to be tied to just one genre.

Marcus

Desert_Witch
February 22nd, 2007, 10:59 AM
=LordFoxglove;2990989]Well, I can tell you that the new book is a spiritual journey with heavy shamanic overtones and utilizes a combined form of shamanic ecstasy and guided meditation Iíve developed. The book is half fiction- half nonfiction, and a very well known pagan author (more info after the book has been contracted) has graciously agreed to pen me a foreword for the new book.

It sounds very cool, Marcus. There are not enough good books about trance, extasy, or even just plain old medetation available today. It seems to me that Intuition and Sex is being bled out of the Craft slowly, in favor of scematics, and properly qouted references. I am very excited about this one Marcus, as my Wife and I have a very Shamanic thing going right now. (We are also BTW trained) I think the fictional aspect is a good, novel idea. (No pun intended) I imagine that the fiction will aid you in regards to imparting the Teachings, much the same way as more "conventional" Myth is used.


Iím hard at work writing my third book, which chronicles paranormal investigations that have been conducted by my team, which is known as WISP (Witches in Search of the Paranormal).

Again, Marcus, we are both (my Wife and i) very interested in reading this one. These kind of personal accounts are of much more interest to us than dry instructionals.

And after that Iím considering writing a full-length novel (yes, Iíve lost my friggin mind).

Yeah, you will find Iím pretty eclectic as far as interests are concerned. I donít like to be tied to just one genre.

Marcus[/quote]

What kind of setting are you conciddering for your novel? I have always tossed around the idea of doing somthing like Louis L'Amore's Walking Drum. With a greater emphisis on Paganism. (Feel free to steal that idea, if you want.)

BB

DW