5 Things Not to Say If You Want to Get Your Book Published, #3: “This Book Is Ready for Publication”

“This book is like a baby that needs to be born and I am looking for a stable.” Can we just say that as a general rule it’s a bad idea to compare your book to baby Jesus? Baby Jesus did not need editing. Mary didn’t send the bambino back and say, “Well, all the basic baby organs are in place, but his eyes are too far apart, and he has redundant navels, and I’m not thrilled with the proposed Jesus title. Can you fix those problems in the second draft?” Those are the kinds of things an editor does. 

5 Things Not to Say If You Want to Get Your Book Published, #2: “I’m Happy to Do Interviews”

I started this series with some softball advice: Don't mention in a query letter that God told you to write this book. Most of you were probably patting yourselves on the back when you read that, because you're not psychotic. (Well done, you!) So today's advice is a little less intuitive to sane people: don't tell your publisher that you're happy to do interviews.

AAR/SBL Conventioneering

This weekend when I got into an elevator at a convention hotel, one of the four guys already inside was whistling. It was a bit annoying. “Stop whistling,” one of his friends said. “He's not whistling,” said another friend. “He's just doing natural theology.” I am definitely at the AAR, I thought.

Michael Dowd

The Rev. Michael Dowd’s Dodge Sprinter van bears an image of kissing fish. The fish, labeled “Darwin” and “Jesus,” reflect his belief that evolution is sacred and that science and religion go hand in hand. “I’m not into reconciling science and religion,” said Dowd, 49, a former believer in creationism. “If evolution doesn’t wholly jazz someone religiously, they should continue to reject evolution.” Dowd, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, is the author of the new book, “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your World.”

Donna Freitas

What began as Donna Freitas’ class on dating turned into a book titled “Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses.” Freitas, assistant professor of religion at Boston University, interviewed more than 100 students about their sexuality, romantic ideals and the prevalent “hookup” culture at seven colleges, including evangelical Christian, Catholic and public and private secular institutions. Freitas found two radically opposed campus cultures of sexuality: one of extreme restraint at the evangelical schools, where virginity is prized; and a culture of extreme indulgence everywhere else, including the Catholic schools. Despite these differences, students everywhere admitted to wanting more romance-not sex-in their lives. Freitas says religion and spirituality could play a larger role to help students navigate these issues.

COMMENTARY:  Navigating the morass of college admissions

In the spring of junior year, two high school buddies and I headed east to visit 11 colleges. We went with our parents’ blessing, but otherwise, it was our adventure. As our third son nears his junior year, I recoil at the nonsense that college admission has become: SAT-prep regimens lasting several years, SAT tutors teaching aspirants how to game a test, 14-year-olds fine-tuning their school activities with college-interview appeal in mind, helicopter parents dramatizing every detail as if their worthiness were on the line. It is still just a college decision, not some lifetime prize being won or lost. It is difficult not to get swept up in the nonsense.

The Very Reverend David O’Connell

WASHINGTON-Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic educators on
Thursday (April 17) has become one of the most anticipated moments of
his first U.S. trip as pontiff. Already there is debate over how strict Benedict-himself a former
university professor-should be in insisting that Catholic scholars
and educators toe the line on church teachings. As president of Catholic University, which was founded by the U.S.
bishops, the Very Rev. David O’Connell offers special insight into the
address. Not only is he a Catholic educator, but he helped draw up
talking points for Benedict’s address. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
Q: Some have suggested Pope Benedict may use his speech before
Catholic educators to read them the riot act.