Progress, Process, and Some Basics

Is the book finished yet? Have you started contacting publishers? What is the process like? – these are questions that I recently received from a friend, and they made me realize that I had not introduced the basics about myself and my book to you all yet, and that doing so, at this stage, would be most prudent.

So, my name is Jay Solomon and I am writing The Zen of South Park: Finding the Middle Ground in American Religion. The book is about the show South Park and the ways that it relates to and treats religion. It is meant as both a study of the show’s thoughts and opinions as well as a way of teaching religion and raising numerous relevant issues about religion in American society. Though the book is not yet complete, it is on its way. I’m a nut when it comes to editing, believing firmly in the adage, There are no great writers, only great editors. So, while the bulk of the body is written, I am still tweaking and seeking a few outside readers. After that is done I will step back and look at the project overall before writing the introduction and conclusion.

In the meantime I’ve launched the website and this blog, believing that they are important elements of the project. I want to make religion and religious topics more accessible for those who are curious but who do not feel strong personal connections themselves. Basically, studying and understanding religion in a secular way – historically and with no religious biases and hang-ups – is something I consider very important, and South Park has an excellent part in bringing an equitable approach to religion to the forefront. The show makes fun of it all. I want to discuss what they make fun of, why it’s funny and what issues are really being driven at. Feel free to contact me about any issue, historical, theological or otherwise, related to religion and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

As for the publication process, I do have an agent, and therefore, the publishing part is out of my hands (thank goodness). Her name Barbara Rosenberg (there is a link to her site on mine), and she’s fantastic. She handles finding a publisher for the book. It’s a slow and tedious process, but I’m sure it will pay off. When I’m done writing the book and have a publisher, the whole thing is out of my hands. I pretty much lose all creative control at that point over the look of the book, the price, where it’s sold and everything else. But I don’t mind – when it’s done, I want it to be done so that I can move onto the next project. But don’t worry, I’ll keep up the blog, maintain the website and plan my College Bookstore Tour.

Do you have any questions for me? Next Wednesday I’ll talk about the process of getting an agent with query letters and proposals. If you want to know how that works for fiction check out Chandler’s blog, but I’ll be talking about how querying for nonfiction works. Are you a published author? Would you like to talk about your experiences?

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Read more about the writing process and other Topical Tuesday posts.