Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, January 07, 2008

How To Love God Update

I just posted a new (very short) section from the book. I wanted to have the book proposal finished by today, but I ran into a few hurdles I'd like to get some feedback on.

The first two chapters that were originally posted here have expanded just a little, and now chapter two is chapter three, and I need to shoehorn a second in between them.

But here's the main thing: It takes about three short chapters to really get the book going, but I can't help but think that, for sales' sake, I need to really show what makes this book different, which means that I think I should add at least two later chapters: one on evolution that has what I think is an entirely original take on why evangelicals distrust evolution and what can be done about it (it's obviously not a question of education, no matter what Skeptic Magazine says); and I'm almost positive I need a chapter called "How To Be an Atheist Without Being a Jerk" to show, first, that this isn't just another bash-the-religious-folks polemic, and second, to show that I actually have some ideas for atheists to improve their P.R. as well.

Finally, it struck me that I'm good in person, I could lecture on this easily, and that if I have even a brief history of lecturing on the topic, it would go some way toward helping me sell the book. (And video of me lecturing would be a pretty good viral marketing tool.) The only problem is, normally people lecture because they've either got a degree or they've got a book already. I've got neither. Anyone know how to get started with lectures? I'm completely new to this and I understand if I'm jumping the gun.

Oh, one more thing: I'd love to send sections of the book out to magazines, but I'm damned if I can think of any that would buy them. It feels too religious for the skeptical magazines, and far too skeptical for the religious magazines. (If you're writing for Shambhala Sun, I don't think you're allowed to make jokes like the one I do in the book: "Every time I see the Dalai Lama he seems so nice that I think, someone should buy the poor guy a toupee.") Any ideas there?

Damn, I want to get this thing out there.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try "The Sun" magazine.

1/07/2008 11:11 AM  
Blogger Jaime said...

I have no idea how to promote a book that is, as of yet, unwritten.

But, I can't wait to get a copy. I am sure I will be horribly offended, completely turned off and maybe even enlightened and amused a bit.

Hey, do you name anyone by name, besides your brother?

1/07/2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger LKT said...

Hey, there. Been lurking for a while. I'm a former evangelical now Episcopal priest. I might have a couple of tips for you on where to publish or lecture.

Take a look at Off the Map ( I think their sensibilities would match yours very well. They have an annual conference at which I think you would be a terrific speaker. And I bet they have some ideas about publications.

I actually think Leadership magazine, of the Christianity Today family, might be interested in what you have to say. But that's just a guess.

1/07/2008 4:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I could maybe get you a gig at Princeton.

1/07/2008 6:11 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

Thanks for all the great advice! I've skimmed Off the Map but never gave it the hard look it no doubt deserves. And the Sun! Of course! Hooray!

Sebastienne, I invite you to email me or contact me via Facebook. I've been meaning to thank you bunt you're unreachable via Blogger, so the ball's in your court now. But thanks so much, everyone!

1/07/2008 11:18 PM  

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