Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2009

About a month ago, I was researching publishing houses to see which one would be the best fit for the book I’m proposing.

Since my book is a memoir-y sort of thing, I wanted to find publishers (preferably Christian publishers) who are interested in this genre.

Thomas Nelson has quite a few creative nonfiction books on their shelves and more coming out soon, including the newest Donald Miller book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (which, for the record, I did not co-author, but if you saw that link and still think I did, read this).

During my research, I also noticed a new book by N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World. I was intrigued so I decided to pick up a copy of this book…eventually.

And now, as of today, I don’t have to!

Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson’s CEO, posted a blog entry today offering a free copy to anyone who posts a comment and then sends their mailing address to the email link he provided. (Thomas Nelson is even covering the cost of postage!) And I just received my confirmation email saying I should receive my copy in the next couple of weeks.

Pretty sweet, huh?

About N.D. Wilson’s writing style, Hyatt wrote this:

“I don’t think I have read any author with such a unique writing style as N.D. He reminded me of what you might get if you combined C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton with James Joyce and Donald Miller. It is a kind of orthodox apologetic for a post-modern, A.D.D. world.”

I don’t know if a combination of Lewis, Chesterton, Joyce, and Donald Miller is even possible, but I’m looking forward to finding out for myself.

I’m not sure how long they’ll keep giving away copies, but if you’re interested, here’s the link:

And kudos to Michael Hyatt and Thomas Nelson for doing this promotion. Christian publishers get a bad rap (although maybe it’s not a “bad rap” if it’s actually true, hmmm…) for not doing much to market their books or promote their authors.

This promotion, however, is pretty simple. And for those, like me, who are interested in Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

And look, I’m already helping them market the book and I haven’t even cracked the cover yet.

Some days I’ll search Twitter for other people who are passionate about honesty. Yesterday, I thought I found one of these people.

I will conceal his actual Twitter name, but it is something about being honest. He lists his real name as Mr. Authentic. His description talks about how he started this account so he could be “brutally honest.” Then he says, “Hopefully my Twitter friends here will still accept me.”

I have mixed feelings about “brutal honesty.” Brutal honesty is almost always a little too heavy on the brutality. Take Simon Cowell, for example. He could just tell the contestants, “I don’t think you’re a very good singer.” (That’s still brutal honesty.) But he adds extra insults (for ratings, or because he’s a jerk) that no longer have anything to do with “honesty.” At that point, he’s just being unnecessarily brutal. It seems to me, “brutal honesty” isn’t really about telling the truth as much as it is wanting to put someone in their place.

But still, I like it when people are committed to honesty, so I figured I’d follow this guy to see what his “brutal honesty” looked like.

By the end of the day, I stopped following him.

As it turns out, the guy follows a lot of women. Including famous women. And in his “brutally honest” tweets, all he does is rave about how hot they are. You can practically see him drooling over their bodies in his tweets.

He isn’t being honest; he’s being a pervert. And something of a stalker. He’s using “honesty” as a gimmick because he thinks it gives him free reign to sexually harass woman via Twitter.

If he wants to use Twitter to hit on hot women, well, I’m sure he’s not the only guy trying it. But please, don’t do it under the guise of “brutal honesty” and “authenticity.” There are other people (like me) for whom those terms actually mean something.

Every writer is familiar with Writer’s Block.

We know what it’s like to have Writer’s Block pull up a chair beside us, or lean over our shoulder and peer at our blank Word document, stifling our efforts as his presence hangs there, lingering like dust particles in a sunbeam.

Oh yes, we’re familiar with Writer’s Block. Even non-writers know his name.

Of course, Writer’s Block never travels alone. In fact, few have ever seen Writer’s Block without at least one of his compatriots: Procrastination, Facebook, Twitter, Email, Sudoku, and Solitaire.

They’re a vile bunch, all of them.

Just as devious is Writer’s Block second cousin, a lesser known but equally perfidious fellow: Writer’s Envy.

Where Writer’s Block stomps into a room, Writer’s Envy slithers. While Writer’s Block sits next to you or leans on your shoulder, Writer’s Envy lurks underfoot.

No one knows exactly what prompts Writer’s Envy to strike, but there are 4 common signs that you are in fact suffering from an attack of Writer’s Envy.

1) You find yourself thinking, “Wow, they got paid to write this? I could have done this so much better.” (for example, this is how I felt about all the dialogue in the most recent season of 24)

2) You say something like, “I can’t believe a book like this got published. My idea is so much better than this!”

3) You think, “I wish I could write like (Insert Name Here).” (Feel free to insert “Tyler Charles,” if you want.)

4) Perhaps the most common thought that results from Writer’s Envy: “Wow, this is so good! I wish I had thought of this first!”

The fourth example is the one that most often gets me. And today is one of those days. But today the sensation was stronger than usual. The writer’s words were so in touch with how I feel that I not only wished I had written them, I think that part of me still believes that I did. As if the writer siphoned my thoughts and claimed them as his own.

Of course, even if they were my thoughts, he wrote them more beautifully than I ever could (which is Writer’s Envy Warning Sign #3).

But I think my feelings of inferiority are quite justified today. After all, the writer to which I’m referring is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.

His essay is titled “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood,” and it’s superb.

I encourage you to read it for yourself:

But keep your eyes peeled for Writer’s Envy. There’s a good chance he might show up.

I’m officially “tweeting” now. I know what you’re thinking: Wow, how masculine that sounds. Yeah, yeah.

I was reluctant, but as of yesterday, I officially joined the ranks of the twitterers (now that’s more masculine, right?). You can check me out, follow me, or just marvel at my effective use of 140 characters here: Tyler’s Twitter

If you’re asking yourself, as I probably will in about a month, “What’s the point?”

Then as of right now, I can only say, “I have no idea. But so far, it’s been kind of fun.”

But I suppose I could tell you why I signed up. Because even though I don’t know what I’m doing yet, word on the street (and when I say “street,” I mean “Internet”), is that Twitter is valuable. As a would-be author who is about to start shopping his book proposal to publishers who want authors willing to self-promote, I figured I might as well start now so I can actually figure out how to use Twitter by the time I ship off those proposals.

If you want to know why you should “tweet,” let me refer you to Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson. Not only does he offer “12 Reasons to Start Twittering” and “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter,” but he also wrote “Answers to the Top 10 Twitter Objections.”

It’s all great stuff.

If you’re not down with the tweeting, that’s cool. No pressure from me. But if you’re trying to make an informed decision about it, check out those posts.

Now excuse me, I must go update my twitter status. Or you know, “tweet.” Like a man.

Today I posted a new link on Facebook.

Basically, it says that Donald Miller’s newest book was co-authored by me. It’s a prank—a publicity stunt (and an ingenious one, if you ask me) designed to generate some free publicity for Miller’s next book.

Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly convincing.

But when I posted that link on Facebook, I got responses from acquaintances/friends who I haven’t talked to in years. They were all congratulatory and seemed excited for me. I think some of them were just playing along, but I suspect that others weren’t.

The truth is, this week I completed my book proposal (for a real book) and started contacting agents. I hope to find an agent in the next month and then start submitting my proposal to publishers. If all goes well, I’ll have a real book deal in the next three months…

And then, if I dare post that on Facebook, I wonder if anyone will believe me.