> Have you made any contacts in the world of mainstream publishing? Do you have or are you looking for an agent?
No, not yet. My assumption is that (both?) would be premature. Reason: I'm at a very early stage in getting things in polished shape to show professionals. I assume (and gather from what I've read)that no busy people in the know would talk to me until I've published some articles in the area of my interests, nor read my 'book proposal' without any credentials. And once they've said no, it's hard to reapproach them. I've read in writer's mags that agents don't represent nobodies until they can show them perhaps more than what I have. My publishing and speaking clips are pretty small compared to people with a 'name' with Ph.d's, etc. and they are right now largely within the classical liberal and Ayn Rand worlds - which is not the world I want to write for or where I want to be pigeonholed.
The good news is the (hopefully appealing if well written and thought out) nature of my topics.
The speeches and courses I gave at the summer seminars over the last ten years - Concretization, Reaching and Sustaining Benevolence, Heroes and Role Models for example - were in large measure *application* topics. I have lots to say on how even the man on the street can practically use, apply theoretical philosophy or psychology or self-help in everyday life. I'll have a struggle and lots of turn downs, but that should be easier to publish on in print than theory.
I'm thinking about other venues and formats besides "mainstream publishing". And in particular, not starting by submitting to top, highly competitive magazines.
Alternative venues include: classroom courses, lectures, workshops, print articles, online articles, workbooks and resources for teachers. I've dipped my toe into the water with this already in the classroom - courses I've taught as a teacher. "In service" workshops.
Those are my (tentative) plans on how to start. I'm very willing to listen to feedback on this. And interested to hear of any reasons why my plan is not the best one, or any other ideas. MSK said he had ideas on audience generation. I've long read publications like Writer's Digest and Writer's Market which are devoted to this and more widely how to break in, how to get published, how to carve out your 'niche' market.
I'm not rejecting the blog [or topical website] idea permanently, but I'm thinking of not starting that way for the reasons I mentioned earlier this afternoon. I'm thinking of starting by writing articles, finding speaking venues, and the other alternative approaches and audiences I just mentioned. (Included: courses at adult education and 'education reform movement' venues.
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