PDA

View Full Version : Please Read Congressional Bible Study



Kirk Fraser
11-15-2010, 05:38 AM
I ask for anyone who wants to read Congressional Bible Study: The Definition Of Right to take a look at my website and if still interested contact me for the whole book.

I'm currently selling my book slowly via Publish America which I've learned was a bad choice but I hope to overcome conventional wisdom that I've lost my "first rights" and place it with an agent & publisher that actually markets causing books to be available in bookstores.

I am willing to rewrite anything from the title to the appendix. Or if necessary I can start a new book but it may take far longer than this approach.

newshirt
11-16-2010, 02:57 AM
This looks interesting and timely... But are you looking for beta readers to help polish the book, or just plugging it?

If you're looking for beta readers, consider offering a little more information, and specify the beta arrangement you're interested in.

In other words, is the book non-fiction? How many words? Audience? Looking for beta swap, or one-way?

Kirk Fraser
11-16-2010, 12:48 PM
This looks interesting and timely... But are you looking for beta readers to help polish the book, or just plugging it?

If you're looking for beta readers, consider offering a little more information, and specify the beta arrangement you're interested in.

In other words, is the book non-fiction? How many words? Audience? Looking for beta swap, or one-way?

I like the word reality in preference to non-fiction. I don't recall the exact word count but it's in the ballpark of 60,000. Audience would be Conservative Republicans mostly I suppose - the people who buy books by Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, Oreilly, Beck, etc..

Optional swap or one-way. I'd of course prefer something spiritual to read than too far different genre. I was able to help a guy on Authonomy with major imagery problems in his first page in a way that he could look for throughout his book, which was fun. But whatever works.

I am looking for improvements to include if I change publishers, which I'm actively trying to accomplish by querying agents.

IceCreamEmpress
11-16-2010, 11:33 PM
I hope to overcome conventional wisdom that I've lost my "first rights"

It's not "conventional wisdom," it's actual fact. Once a book has been published, it can't be published for the first time again.

To catch the attention of a commercial publisher with a self-published or vanity-published or subsidy-published book, you'll need to sell a couple of thousand copies at least.

Maybe writing another book on the same topic is the best way for you to go?

Medievalist
11-16-2010, 11:57 PM
Kirk

Your book is barely at the level of literate English. Ignoring the unsupported assertions, the verging-on-plagiarism reliance on paraphrase and the bizarre citation documentation, your grammar is not acceptable. Most of your sentences do not say what I suspect you think they do, and even more are barely intelligible.


This key behavior of seeking God while doing as He leads is often left out of discussions of both capitalism and socialism, which leads to their failures for nobody without divine help, whether self motivated or government managed can take care of everything correctly. Matthew 7:7 says we must “ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” As Jesus demonstrated with enough faith in God even prepared meals can be multiplied.

I have no idea what, exactly, you're trying to say. You're cramming way too much into too few sentences. You're misusing the word "leads." You've got so many prepositions in that sentence that the reader is dizzied in an effort to find out who is doing what, and why. You need to work on using more active sentence structure by fronting the verbs and making them closer to their grammatical subjects.

"Their failures" doesn't have a clear antecedent--the failure of capitalism and socialism? You've got a missing comma, at the very least, after "failures, and another after "managed."


Many in America fell asleep spiritually as they worked routine jobs, remote farms, or otherwise dropped out of traditional churches. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennant, and others traveled along the Atlantic coast preaching which caught fire awakening the sleepers.

You're missing prepositions when you need them, and you add them when you don't. What's the antecedent of "which"? Do you really mean that the coast caught fire? I realize that you're trying to be metaphorical here, but what you've actually written is that the coast caught fire and woke "sleepers"--that's a failed metaphor since you've not previously established who was "sleeping."

This isn't even a rough draft of a book. I suggest you begin by enrolling in an English comp class at a community college; you'll learn the basics of non-fiction writing. This is not going to get a genuine publisher to read past the first paragraph because it's not readable prose.

CatSlave
11-17-2010, 12:23 AM
He's already been given all that advice in his PA Management thread.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=196165

It ended in him insulting Mac and a flame war.

brainstorm77
11-17-2010, 12:47 AM
He's already been given all that advice in his PA Management thread.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=196165

It ended in him insulting Mac and a flame war.:popcorn:

CACTUSWENDY
11-17-2010, 01:05 AM
I knew I read about this someplace else. I thought this was already addressed. :Shrug:

Medievalist
11-17-2010, 01:21 AM
I thought I'd take him at his word. I've actually seen worse non-fiction prose from people who did go on to learn to write.

The book needs enough work that if he actually re-wrote it and used a different title I suspect it would no longer be a derivative work. It really isn't even a rough draft as it stands, just at the level of prose, never mind the other problems.

Unimportant
11-17-2010, 06:24 AM
I like the word reality in preference to non-fiction.
Fiction and non-fiction are standard industry terms. The correct use of standard terms facilitates communication between professionals in the industry.

Uncarved
11-17-2010, 06:26 AM
I prefer the words glittery unicorns.

*burns another bag of popcorn*

PattiTheWicked
11-17-2010, 07:08 AM
I read the sample chapter and I have to admit, I have no idea what the key points were.

I would suggest, though, that if one is trying to paint a portrait of American history, whether from a political or religious perspective, it might not be a bad idea to quote people other than Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. Surely there are some writers from the time period you're evaluating (you know, like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Adams, etc) whose writings provide better evidence for your claims?

Also, while I realize your work has a clearly religious bent, you're crediting religion and faith with every Really Neat Thing that ever happened -- for example, while there may have been "prayer warriors" hoping for the defeat of the Spanish Armada, one could argue that the reason for the English victory was in fact superior military strength and numbers, combined with a crumbling infrastructure in the Spanish government (and, as Medievalist pointed out to me, shitty weather in the English channel). I suspect if you want to attract Real Publishers, you may want to consider including Real Facts in with your opinions.

Then again, most of this discussion is moot, because your book is the property of PublishAmerica.

Unimportant
11-17-2010, 10:22 AM
I am willing to rewrite anything from the title to the appendix.
I read your first chapter. The title is fine. The rest needs to be completely rewritten. The prose, at both a macro and micro level, is not of the quality that I could commit to reading the rest of the book.

Archeological evidence from a specially cased engraved stone in the hands of a person in a burial mound shows native Americans had contact with Israel before Columbus (1) [Glenn Beck](2). Further ancient history (3) is unknown (4)but God operates all the time, even when no record is kept. (5)

(1) This statement conveys insufficient information for any reader to make the leap from "there's an undescribed stone in the hands of an unknown person in a undated, unidentified burial mound" to the claim that "pre-Columbus native Americans had contact with Israel".

(2) Citing a person's name is insufficient.

(3) "Ancient history" is commonly considered to cover the period that ended about a millenium before Columbus arriving in the Americas.

(4) The existence of this stone is certainly not the only factoid of ancient history known to man.

(5) The logic of this paragraph appears to be: Evidence of Israel-derived stone in native American burial mound = record is evidence of God = God omnipresent even in absence of record. It's unlikely many readers will agree that Israel = God.


I'd suggest checking out some How-To-Write books at your local library, for starters.

Adding: This is actually a good thing. The research and collecting citations is (IMO) the hard part. If you've got ten years worth of research piled up, and you can use the existing book as a draft to work from to restructure and rephrase everything, you can create a "new" book on the same subject that you can submit for publication without worrying about the PublishAmerica version. I know that rewriting sounds like a chore, but I honestly think it's a blessing in disguise.

kaitie
11-17-2010, 11:19 AM
Some of these answers sound really snarky, guys. He's come over here looking for a beta and wanting to improve his work. He's taken the advice we've given enough to do that. I think that deserves some credit, and really the snarkiness is making me cringe.

Kirk--I'd say simple is better. Most people on here won't give a line edit and most beta work has already been rewritten and revised numerous times. I'm not sure how many times you've revised this already, but I'll tell you my last one went through at least five or six before my betas ever saw it. They're tough and they take a lot of time and effort, but it'll make a big difference.

My first suggestion, though, would be to rewrite using the simplest terms possible. I'm not saying to dumb it down, just to simplify. Shorter sentences, more to the point. I'll give you a quick example:


The original intent for America in the heart of Christopher (Christ-bearer) Columbus was to bring the light of Christ into undiscovered lands and bring the inhabitants of those lands into the faith of Jesus Christ which he began with the discovery of the new land in 1492 [The Light and the Glory]. Let's follow the light of Christ through American history and by His light see our future. The next Godly intent was to develop the land of the free Christian, free from persecution by England's government, the home of the brave Christians who defended themselves from dominance by unjust powers with the protection of God's divine providence. Several church groups, meetings of Christian believers in disfavor with England, were persecuted and chose to migrate to America to live according to their beliefs. Notable among the original members of the 13 colonies, the Plymouth colonists stayed in their ship after reaching the new land until they all agreed to and signed The Mayflower Compact. The U.S. Constitution gained much of its inspiration from the Mayflower Compact. It mentioned the name of God, the Grace of God, the Glory of God, advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Presence of God. Kaitie version in pretty purple:

Christopher Columbus' intent for his newly discovered land was to bring the light of Christ to it's inhabitants. His second intent was to create a land where Christians could be free of persecution by England's government.

The Plymouth colonists were noteworthy for staying in their ships, even after they reached land, until after all had agreed to and signed the Mayflower Compact, a document that inspired the U.S. Constitution. It mentioned the "God," "the Glory of God," "advancement of Christian faith," and "the presence of God."

Simple, basic sentence structure is easier to read and comprehend.

Yes, there are also grammatical issues that could be fixed by studying a basic grammar book, but first and foremost you need to focus on getting the main ideas down in a simple way. Then you can start playing more with the words. It's actually a detriment to have something with complex constructions that must be read a time or two to be fully understood.

The second main suggestion I have is to get a book on a particular style, maybe Chicago, though others could advise better than myself on this, and learn what the conventions are for formatting references. This, again, is a huge pain in the ass. I had to learn both MLA and AP for my undergrad and grad school work, and it's really not fun, but it's also necessary and will give you a huge advantage.

Third, I'd suggest going out and reading a few non-fiction books. They can be ones in a similar vein to yours if you want, but pay careful attention to how they use language. I'm not suggesting textbooks, which are occasionally filled with enough jargon to be difficult, but just some random books you can pick up at any Barnes and Noble. That should give you a clearer idea of what to shoot for.

Hope this helps.

Terie
11-17-2010, 11:22 AM
I couldn't get past the first paragraph, because the first chapter isn't structured properly. There's a way to structure nonfiction, which you'll learn if you do as Medievalist suggests and take a basic composition class. Or at the very least, read the first chapters of a bunch of nonfiction books. Doesn't matter what subject....if you go to the library and just start grabbing books off the shelves and reading the first chapters, you'll see the way they're structured.

Which leads me to wonder how much reading you do. The very best way to become a better writer is to read A LOT. We unconsciously absorb a lot about effective writing simply by reading. If you don't read much, the chances of becoming a professional writer are close to nil.

So start reading more. I bet that if you spent four or five hours in a library JUST reading random first chapters, then went home and opened your manuscript, you'd immediately see that your structure is wrong, and you might even begin to see how you could improve it.

Others have already mentioned the substantial problems with the actual writing, so I won't delve into that.

Kirk Fraser
11-18-2010, 02:01 PM
Snarkers should note in the following I only respond to two posters, those who actually addressed material in my book. Those who post otherwise should consider the purpose of this forum topic is Beta reading.

Take a speech class to learn appeals to authority are weak. Years of experience as a liberal writer serving liberal agents, publishers, and readers doesn't really make one's advice free from bias.

Unimportant: My book's first paragraph would be the first to go in a rewrite. The usage of people's names I find more useful than complete footnotes because a) anyone who cares to look it up would do an online search first and b) copies of TV shows and other broadcast media are often impossible to get without a court order. The entire chapter isn't exhaustive history, it's facts relating to God from history. The engraving from an Israeli dialect links the stone to Israel, the source of all accurate information about God.


Kaitie: I agree that very short sentences with very explicit associations can be easier to follow than any kind of shorthand. Speaking in shorthand isn't politically popular as seen in the Dole campaign. But first look at what one gives up. The relations between thought objects in the paragraph you quote are far more complex than the few you extracted. To make them explicit would double or triple the length of the paragraph and the book. Shortening it as in your example throws away most of the content and adds some distracting structure.


Comments in Christian venues include a former book publisher saying my writing is good enough and a lady saying if the rest of my book is like my first chapter, it should be taught as curriculum. Contrasting that with comments on this forum saying the chapter should never be printed expose the huge difference between real Christians and liberals in publishing, almost like a red state blue state difference. Those who appeal to the authority of their years of successful publishing experience in the blue world should use better arguments for change as Kaitie has done.


Now it remains unclear to me if I should follow the advice to expand the text volume by simplifying to the popular 6th grade reading level, retain its existing form pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills, find someplace inbetween, or go for greater complexity by converting main points to short stories or parables like Jesus did, which the rabble could grasp at their level and the true believers could grasp much more deeply.

Emily Winslow
11-18-2010, 03:29 PM
Years of experience as a liberal writer serving liberal agents, publishers, and readers doesn't really make one's advice free from bias.

I hope you can come to see, Kirk, that expertise in the craft of writing is neutral. Like an experienced mechanic's advice about how your engine works, or an experienced builder's or architect's advice about the structure of a building. The advice you've been receiving has been about making your work more persuasive, and more easily understood. Isn't that what you want? And isn't that the opposite of biased, when someone who may disagree with your point of view makes an effort to help your point of view become effectively heard anyway?

Criticism can feel like an attack, I get that. But criticism that comes with good advice is the opposite of an attack. It's someone giving you a hand up to help you succeed.


Comments in Christian venues include a former book publisher saying my writing is good enough and a lady saying if the rest of my book is like my first chapter, it should be taught as curriculum. Contrasting that with comments on this forum saying the chapter should never be printed expose the huge difference between real Christians and liberals in publishing, almost like a red state blue state difference.

So you have Christian venue commenters on one side saying they love it as is, and "liberal" commenters (I put liberal in quotes because you have no proof of the political or spiritual affiliations of each person who has given you advice) on the other side offering advice on how your point can be better expressed to reach more people. Have you noticed it's the "liberals" offering you help? Your query letter wasn't getting you the result you wanted. What is more helpful: a person cheerleading that you should just keeping doing the same thing that has proved ineffective, or the people suggesting practical ways you can communicate the SAME IDEAS more effectively to get the result you want?

No one has suggested changing your main point. No one has said your first chapter should "never be printed." It has been said that your first chapter is currently unclear, and that if it were submitted or published in this form it would be unlikely to persuade effectively. Therefore it would be wise to not submit/print/distribute until it's in better form.



Now it remains unclear to me if I should follow the advice to expand the text volume by simplifying to the popular 6th grade reading level, retain its existing form pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills, find someplace inbetween, or go for greater complexity by converting main points to short stories or parables like Jesus did, which the rabble could grasp at their level and the insiders could grasp much more deeply.


Clarity in writing is a high achievement. Please don't confuse clarity with "dumbing down." Thomas Jefferson's writing, for example, has great clarity, and clear structure. In that way, it is "simple" to understand. But it is not condescending or compromised by this clarity. Making a complex idea or group of ideas so clearly understood that it appears "simple" is a sophisticated achievement.


One reader reported every time he opens the book he gets something spiritual. In contrast, you can buy books by Microsoft Press as I have done where you can read 500 pages and get nothing of value related to the topic of the book.

I don't understand. Microsoft Press appears to publish computer manuals. Are you criticizing the lack of spiritual content in the computer manuals you read? Are you saying that a manual you read had no content relating to its subject until after page 500? I find that hard to believe. (A programming manual that is actually about French cooking inside??) Perhaps you mean that it didn't contain the aspect of the subject you were specifically looking for, which may mean it was misleadingly titled, labeled, shelved or marketed, but I don't see how that is relevant here.

It's common for writers frustrated by rejection to point out published books that have the same faults of their own manuscripts, and the unfairness that *that* book got published. Fair enough. But we should always aim for better, not "as bad as that published book over there."

Terie
11-18-2010, 03:52 PM
Kirk, if you don't want help from 'liberals', why are you asking for help in a forum of people whose political persuasions are mostly unknown? Maybe you should go find a writers forum composed of people who you conclusively know to be like-minded with you. Of course, I suppose that would make it harder for you to argue with them when they, like we, tell you there are problems with your work.

BTW, did the 'former publisher' give you any suggestions where to submit your work? If not, have you thought about why not?

newshirt
11-18-2010, 06:29 PM
Kirk, I know exactly how you feel -- believe me. I got the same routine when I first joined this forum. People can be unreasonably harsh. It felt cruel and I lost sleep for months. I even defended my heaven-sent prose with examples from books I tried to emulate. But as the months wore on, and I submitted to the advice (even the mean-spirited stuff so prevalent on this forum), I began to change. My writing improved ten-fold.

I beg you to follow that same path. Listen to what you hear and sincerely try to change. You will look back a few years later and be glad.

Jersey Chick
11-18-2010, 07:17 PM
Here we go again...

Adam
11-18-2010, 07:26 PM
Here we go again...

:popcorn:

*Sidles up next to Kim*

Share! :D

BenPanced
11-18-2010, 07:33 PM
Snarkers should note in the following I only respond to two posters, those who actually addressed material in my book. Those who post otherwise should consider the purpose of this forum topic is Beta reading.
And demands that people follow your rules are a sure-fire way to win friends.

Take a speech class to learn appeals to authority are weak. Years of experience as a liberal writer serving liberal agents, publishers, and readers doesn't really make one's advice free from bias.
Yup. Stay klassy. :Thumbs:

Comments in Christian venues include a former book publisher saying my writing is good enough and a lady saying if the rest of my book is like my first chapter, it should be taught as curriculum. Contrasting that with comments on this forum saying the chapter should never be printed expose the huge difference between real Christians and liberals in publishing, almost like a red state blue state difference.
Oh, goody. The "I got PMs that say you're wrong!" square. Everybody got their Bingo cards?

Sheryl Nantus
11-18-2010, 07:39 PM
Now it remains unclear to me if I should follow the advice to expand the text volume by simplifying to the popular 6th grade reading level, retain its existing form pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills, find someplace inbetween, or go for greater complexity by converting main points to short stories or parables like Jesus did, which the rabble could grasp at their level and the true believers could grasp much more deeply.


This jumps out at me as being unbelievably snarky in its own way.

First, there's nothing wrong with "simplifying" your writing. If you're not reaching your target audience with overly-long sentences and hard-to-grasp examples, don't blame the audience. There's a reason why we all started reading with Cat in The Hat rhymes.

Last time I checked, Pride was still a sin. Consider your audience and your intended message. If you just want to preach to "true believers", then that's one audience. If you intend to try and educate the "rabble" (which would probably be everyone, including us Lapsed Catholics, I suspect) then that's another.

Meh. Whatever. I suspect this thread can only end in a lock.

;)

Sheryl Nantus
11-18-2010, 07:41 PM
Then again, most of this discussion is moot, because your book is the property of PublishAmerica.

Whoops. Yes, all is moot. If the book is still under contract with PA you're stuck.

So, what about those Maple Leafs, eh?

:D

Perks
11-18-2010, 07:45 PM
Kirk, I think it's not clear what you want from us. You've received support and agreement in Christian forums and sweet diddly squat from Publish America. The combination of the two has not left you where you want to be, nor pointed you reliably toward your goal.

Now you've come to a writers' forum and you're getting writers' advice, admittedly from some damned liberals, but several who I know to be moderates and conservatives. And they're all telling you the same thing.

So, as you did when you got here and as you will for the foreseeable future, you have choices. You know where to get stroked and you know where to get ripped off and you know where to get writerly advice. You may have to sweeten the writerly medicine with memories of philosophical accolades, and that's fine. We all do that. But there's no point thinking you're going to get anywhere with the book the way it is. And yes, I've read the first bit.

Marian Perera
11-18-2010, 08:14 PM
I wonder if anyone wants to risk being Kirk's beta reader. Seems like a thankless task at best, because unless the beta reader is a conservative Christian Republican I doubt Kirk will listen to anything they say.

CaoPaux
11-18-2010, 08:20 PM
Kirk, this is your last warning: 1) leave the politics and religion at home, 2) the proper response to critique -- regardless of whether you agree with it -- is "thank you". You are being bigoted and rude to people trying honestly to help you, and that will not be tolerated.

To the popcorn eaters: not helping.

Gravity
11-18-2010, 08:26 PM
As Bartok the Bat said in Anastasia, "this can only end in tears."

Kirk, you're being handed rock-solid advice from a wide range of folks on how to keep your writing career from imploding; last call, will you take it?

Medievalist
11-18-2010, 09:50 PM
Snarkers should note in the following I only respond to two posters, those who actually addressed material in my book. Those who post otherwise should consider the purpose of this forum topic is Beta reading.

Take a speech class to learn appeals to authority are weak. Years of experience as a liberal writer serving liberal agents, publishers, and readers doesn't really make one's advice free from bias.

Kirk, I don't care about your religion, or your politics; nor do I need an "appeal to authority"; I am an authority. I'm a Ph.D. in English, with more than twenty years experience in teaching and publishing non-fiction, including working as a reader for Zondervan, Tyndale, Wipf & Stock and several university presses.

Publishers as a rule aren't going to care much about your politics, either; even Christian publishers are about making profit, which means publishing books people will pay to read. As it stands, yours is not readable.

Not only is this book not publishable from a legal standpoint, your prose is unintelligible. You seem to regard punctuation as a decorative and arbitrary flourish; you make basic grammar errors in almost every sentence, and your syntax is largely dependent on strings of prepositional phrases and vague pronoun references. You make errors of fact regarding dates. You do not cite properly--nor even quote when you are in fact using words that are not yours. Even paraphrase needs to be cited.

You asked for someone to respond to the text and not your politics.

You desperately need a crash course in basic expository writing, after a basic course in composition. I do think you can learn to write non fiction English, but you're going to have to work at it, and lose the attitude.

Jersey Chick
11-18-2010, 09:57 PM
The impression I've gotten, based on several of the OP's threads - he doesn't want help or advice, but wants to be told his book is perfect. If you don't agree, it's some sort of failing on the part of the reader, not the writer.

I tried to read it, but frankly, it was tiring trying to decipher it and since I'm relatively liberal, what do I know anyway?

thothguard51
11-18-2010, 10:27 PM
Not only is this book not publishable from a legal standpoint, your prose is unintelligible. You seem to regard punctuation as a decorative and arbitrary flourish; you make basic grammar errors in almost every sentence, and your syntax is largely dependent on strings of prepositional phrases and vague pronoun references. You make errors of fact regarding dates. You do not cite properly--nor even quote when you are in fact using words that are not yours. Even paraphrase needs to be cited.



Medi,

I love it when you have your six-shooters on. Question...

Since the book is already published and the author (Kirk) has not properly cited his references, could PA be sued for plagerism or infringement of some sort? This might get them to pull the book, void the contract, thus freeing Kirk up...

robeiae
11-18-2010, 10:39 PM
From your sample chapter, Kirk:


The U.S. Constitution defines the legitimate functions of the federal government allowing states their own legislative functions. The Constitution incorporates the text of the Declaration of Independence by reference to the year of Independence of the U.S.A. in Article 7, just above the signatures [Constitutional Lawyer Anne Coulter]. This legal mechanism also incorporates the text of the Bible by reference to the year of our Lord. As such the U.S. Constitution is doubly empowered by the unique God of Jews and Christians. Without submitting to divine power, the Constitution would have no power beyond the assertions and agreements of men which may explain why other nation's constitutions fail.

Three things:

1) Politically, I'm probably as far to the right as any member on these boards, ask anyone.

2) I know political theory inside and out.

3) I self-pubbed a book some years ago that included a very detailed analysis of the Constitution. I'm proud of that, but I don't talk about it much, as I came to realize that I still needed to do a lot of work, before I was ready for "prime time." A lot of work.

With those things in mind, let me say this about what I read in your sample chapter:

1) It's not well-written. It's just not. Forget the points you're making, the ideological perspective, the goals. From the standpoint of someone that may be sympathetic to your point of view, it still doesn't pass muster. In particular, conclusions that you draw do not follow from previous statements at all. You don't need to dumb it down, you need to make your arguments and claims clearer, you need to create logical linkages that allow your conclusions to be made. As it stands now, what you have is a series of mostly unsupported assertions.

2) Your citations are improper. If you're gonna cite by name--assuming only one work for each author--you still need a page number. And putting a title--like "Constitutional Lawyer"--in front of a name is both improper and meaningless. Doesn't strengthen what you are saying at all.

3) Your attempt to move from history to dogma is interesting but ineffective, if not somewhat off-putting. No one--who doesn't already absolutely agree with you--will be moved at all by this. You really need to fashion some sort path for your reader to follow, to draw them in.

4) Some of your claims are outright falsehoods, though I doubt this was intentional on your part. Still, these need to be corrected.

Hope this helps.

Unimportant
11-18-2010, 10:51 PM
Unimportant: The usage of people's names I find more useful than complete footnotes because a) anyone who cares to look it up would do an online search first and b) copies of TV shows and other broadcast media are often impossible to get without a court order.
Kirk, this isn't about what you find easier or more useful. It's about what the publishing industry requires. And they require it for two reasons.

One, it's standard, and therefore it's what readers expect and find easiest to deal with -- and books must appeal to readers in order to be successful. Not every reader has a computer or can do an online search, you know!

Two, it's legal protection, for you and the publisher. Your editor must be able to check your citations for accuracy. The last thing Random House wants is to be sued by Glenn Beck because Random House published a book in which Glenn is cited as having said something he never said and does not support and which might damage his professional career. Properly formatted citations are also protection against claims of plagiarism.

You may wonder why I didn't explain all this in my initial post. And here is my answer: I am trying to get you to do your own homework. Each time someone on AW tells you something, you demand proof, lengthy explanations, and examples. At some point, though, you will need to learn to look things up for yourself and -- sorry! -- to engage in some critical thinking. If every non-fiction book uses a standard citation method, why is that? If people are telling you that you need to follow standard citation methods, why would that be? What would be the implications of doing it differently? How might that affect the way publishers consider your submission material?

No one here gains or loses anything if you succeed or fail. No one has a hidden agenda. No one knows you from a bar of soap or has any personal interest in you. There is no onus on anyone here to help you. But you're a writer, and we're writers, and that common ground is sufficient. We have been bending over backwards to help you because we are writers and we believe in paying it forward. It has nothing to do with whether or not we share your religion or your political beliefs. We believe in respecting our fellow writers.

My critique of your two sentences had nothing to do with my (or your) politics or religion, and everything to do with my knowledge and experience as a writer and a reviewer and an editor. So before you lambast anyone for being a liberal commie pinko atheist trisexual pagan jellouse toadee bug or whatever, please stop to think about why a poster is saying whatever he/she is saying. And please remember that everyone here is taking time out of their day to donate their skills and knowledge to you, for zero reward. That the moderators are taking extra time to keep threads on track. That Mac -- whom you were very rude to -- is personally bearing the costs of hosting this enormous forum from which you are benefiting.

You only get out what you put in.

Uncarved
11-18-2010, 10:53 PM
Kirk, this isn't about what you find easier or more useful. It's about what the publishing industry requires. And they require it for two reasons.

One, it's standard, and therefore it's what readers expect and find easiest to deal with -- and books must appeal to readers in order to be successful. Not every reader has a computer or can do an online search, you know!

Two, it's legal protection, for you and the publisher. Your editor must be able to check your citations for accuracy. The last thing Random House wants is to be sued by Glenn Beck because Random House published a book in which Glenn is cited as having said something he never said and does not support and which might damage his professional career. Properly formatted citations are also protection against claims of plagiarism.

You may wonder why I didn't explain all this in my initial post. And here is my answer: I am trying to get you to do your own homework. Each time someone on AW tells you something, you demand proof, lengthy explanations, and examples. At some point, though, you will need to learn to look things up for yourself and -- sorry! -- to engage in some critical thinking. If every non-fiction book uses a standard citation method, why is that? If people are telling you that you need to follow standard citation methods, why would that be? What would be the implications of doing it differently? How might that affect the way publishers consider your submission material?

No one here gains or loses anything if you succeed or fail. No one has a hidden agenda. No one knows you from a bar of soap or has any personal interest in you. There is no onus on anyone here to help you. But you're a writer, and we're writers, and that common ground is sufficient. We have been bending over backwards to help you because we are writers and we believe in paying it forward. It has nothing to do with whether or not we share your religion or your political beliefs. We believe in respecting our fellow writers.

My critique of your two sentences had nothing to do with my (or your) politics or religion, and everything to do with my knowledge and experience as a writer and a reviewer and an editor. So before you lambast anyone for being a liberal commie pinko atheist trisexual pagan jellus toady bug or whatever, please stop to think about why a poster is saying whatever he/she is saying. And please remember that everyone here is taking time out of their day to donate their skills and knowledge to you, for zero reward. That the moderators are taking extra time to keep threads on track. That Mac -- whom you were very rude to -- is personally bearing the costs of hosting this enormous forum from which you are benefiting.

You only get out what you put in.

Can I get that on a tee shirt?

JulieHowe
11-18-2010, 10:58 PM
I ask for anyone who wants to read Congressional Bible Study: The Definition Of Right to take a look at my website and if still interested contact me for the whole book.

I'm currently selling my book slowly via Publish America which I've learned was a bad choice but I hope to overcome conventional wisdom that I've lost my "first rights" and place it with an agent & publisher that actually markets causing books to be available in bookstores.

I am willing to rewrite anything from the title to the appendix. Or if necessary I can start a new book but it may take far longer than this approach.

I'm certain you weren't looking for a line-by-line debate of your work, but your identification of Christopher Columbus as the man who brought Christ and salvation to those unwashed savages in the New World is an archaic belief which has been largely discredited.

You also describe Woodrow Wilson as a progressive. While it looks as if you're attributing this quote to Glenn Beck, this is an inaccurate description of Wilson's political legacy. Also, unless Glenn Beck is a political scholar, quoting him as a reliable factual source seems like a fast track to losing credibility with any potential readers.

That's all.

Unimportant
11-18-2010, 11:01 PM
Can I get that on a tee shirt?
Sure, after I trademark it and charge a royalty. :-) Though it probably needs "unshaven Birkenstock-wearin' pot-smokin' tree-hugger" added to it.

Uncarved
11-18-2010, 11:08 PM
Lay off my Birk's Unimportant. And I'll hug any tree that lets me

Medievalist
11-18-2010, 11:20 PM
Since the book is already published and the author (Kirk) has not properly cited his references, could PA be sued for plagerism or infringement of some sort? This might get them to pull the book, void the contract, thus freeing Kirk up...

No; PA has a standard indemnity clause; Mr. Fraser would be the defendant.

This is exactly why an indemnity clause is SOP.

kaitie
11-18-2010, 11:45 PM
I just wanted to say that simplicity doesn't necessarily remove the meaning from your work. It was an effort for me to figure out the meaning. I had to read each sentence three, four times to try to extrapolate exactly what it was you're trying to say. And I'm an educated person. I'm accustomed to reading very complicated things full of jargon. If it's difficult for me, it's going to be difficult for anyone.

The first goal of writing is to convey an idea to the reader. If that idea is not being conveyed, then you are failing in your goal. If it requires three sentences to convey what you are trying to say, then so be it. If trying to put three layers of meaning into one sentence is overly complicated and the reader can't understand it, you have two problems: 1) the reader won't continue reading, and 2) even if they do, they aren't understanding what you are trying to get across.

I'm also agreeing that we don't get to decide how to do citations. There are standard formats for nonfiction, and those are expected to be followed. Not doing so comes across as unprofessional in the same way a fiction writer will look unprofessional if they decide to start all of their paragraphs with drop-caps because they think it looks nicer.

kaitie
11-18-2010, 11:48 PM
I'm sure I'll sound like a liberal elite saying this, but I also wanted to say I'd be cautious about quoting someone like Glenn Beck. If possible, I would find the research his statements are based on and quote them as well/instead. (you can list both). I say this just because there is a tendency to quote opinion as fact, and that's dangerous, IMO.

Not saying you can't quote Glenn Beck, but if he's stating something as fact, he's a secondary source. That's usually considered a negative. If you're stating his opinion as an opinion that's fine, but just be cautious about stating it as fact unless you have original sources to back it up.

thothguard51
11-18-2010, 11:50 PM
No; PA has a standard indemnity clause; Mr. Fraser would be the defendant.

This is exactly why an indemnity clause is SOP.

So, PublishAmerica could sue Kirk if its brought to their attention?

Interesting...

Terie
11-18-2010, 11:52 PM
So, PublishAmerica could sue Kirk if its brought to their attention?

No. The person claiming plagiarism would sue the author.

Medievalist
11-18-2010, 11:53 PM
So, PublishAmerica could sue Kirk if its brought to their attention?

Interesting...

Were they to be sued, they could conceivably file a counter suit, yes. IANAL, but I note that I have in fact seen publishers turn right around and point at the author. That is the point of the indemnity clause.

Unimportant
11-19-2010, 12:26 AM
Now it remains unclear to me if I should follow the advice to expand the text volume by simplifying to the popular 6th grade reading level, retain its existing form pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills, find someplace inbetween, or go for greater complexity by converting main points to short stories or parables like Jesus did, which the rabble could grasp at their level and the true believers could grasp much more deeply.

My bolding.

Kirk, this reads as if you have no respect for readers in general, or for the members of this forum.

Readers are not rabble. Nor are they stupid. Nor are they incapable of reading complex sentences. What several posters have pointed out to you is that your sentences are poorly structured, and because of the poor structure, incorrect punctuation and grammar, and illogical flow, your sentences are not conveying the meaning you intend them to. It's quite dismissive to suggest that no one on AW reads at a level above the sixth-grade. For all you know, I have a PhD and spend my days reading and writing highly technical articles of the type published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

If your book in its existing form is, indeed, "pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills", why is your book not selling like hotcakes to Mensa? Why are editors and literary agents not falling over themselves to contract you?

Uncarved
11-19-2010, 12:37 AM
I'm sure Mensa is just liberal propaganda

Unimportant
11-19-2010, 12:41 AM
Good point. I'll rephrase that to "why is your book not selling like hotcakes to seminarians?" (Since presumably seminarians would be literate, well-educated, and willing to embrace the theories put forward in this particular book.)

PattiTheWicked
11-19-2010, 12:49 AM
"why is your book not selling like hotcakes to seminarians?"

Because it's with PublishAmerica, which sells books like hotcakes to the writers instead?

Cyia
11-19-2010, 01:03 AM
Now it remains unclear to me if I should follow the advice to expand the text volume by simplifying to the popular 6th grade reading level, retain its existing form pleasing to an audience with better than newspaper reading skills, find someplace inbetween, or go for greater complexity by converting main points to short stories or parables like Jesus did, which the rabble could grasp at their level and the true believers could grasp much more deeply.

Just pointing out that most members of this forum are well above the 6th grade reading level, and there are several who are above "genius" level, if you want to reduce it to a scale.

Point 2 - since you brought Him up - Jesus didn't talk down to the people he told parables to. The ones he took to task were his followers - who didn't understand his words until he broke them down into simpler language, which is why He had to go over the lessons step by step. He spoke at a time when oral recitation was the norm, you're seeking publication when it's not.

CaoPaux
11-19-2010, 01:44 AM
I have Landfilled some posts. Please keep responses appropriate to this forum.

Kirk Fraser
11-19-2010, 07:11 AM
Thank you to Unimportant, Kaitie, and robeiae who quoted excerpts from my book and addressed matters therein.

robeiae:
On putting the label Constitutional Lawyer before Ann Coulter, I took that off the TV screen of a Fox interview. I have no idea if she has standing to argue before the Supreme Court. But if Fox thought it added credibility, maybe it does.

MacAllister
11-19-2010, 07:19 AM
And with that, we're done here. If anyone would like to beta-read for Kirk, PM him.