Friday, May 21, 2010

In the news

This week there was an article published in one of the local newspapers about me and the novel. The Hills Shire Times published the article "Moral of the tale". The article focused on how I came to write the novel, and the themes of ethics and leadership in the novel. It didn't mention the I Ching at all, which I suppose is an indicator of the Hills district being known as a conservative Christian belt in Sydney.
Nevertheless, it was a good story and the photo showed the novel's cover and myself. And it included the link for my website,
As to the I Ching and Christianity, I observe that the first version of the I Ching which I used was the Wilhelm/Baynes version. This was the version that Richard Wilhelm translated from Chinese into German in 1923, and which Cary Baynes translated into English in 1950. And who was Richard Wilhelm? He was a German minister who lived in China from 1899 to 1924, but whose preoccupation became the I Ching. He saw that the thinking in the I Ching was quite different to western thinking, but his perspective saw the common threads between what the I Ching has to say and what Christianity says.
My sister in England tells me that she knows a nun who uses the I Ching. So it is possible to find wisdom in both places that shares a commonality. At the same time I would not want to argue that Christianity and the I Ching are the same. What I do say is that you need a sense of metaphor and imagery, a sense of poetry and beauty, if you seek to understand ourselves and our world - what the Tao Te Ching calls "all that is". Legalism and doctrinal statements fall far short.
I had a conversation yesterday with a university lecturer who self-published a book he wrote on becoming a boss, Bob Selden. Website: He said the important thing for me at this point is getting reviews of the book. He had about 40 reviews done by various people, and had them posted on his Amazon book page. So I am loooking for more people to review my book. I have asked a few people already.
Which also raises the question of selling my novel through Amazon. Homework.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting the word out - unfamiliar country

This is a strange land - having published my novel, I am trying to get it into bookshops. I have it in just a few shops at this point. There is a trinity of actions that are interconnected - getting the book into bookshops for the most part means getting a boook distributor to accept it, and to achieve either of these ends I have to publicise the book. Many bookshops won't deal with me; they insist on the distributor; and both of them generally want someone else to promote the book. But it's difficult, and even counter-productive, to promote the book when there is no outlet where people can buy it. A neat conundrum.
Nevertheless, here's a piece of publicity: I am speaking at an ethics conference in Sydney in June, as an author, talking about "The Ten Thousand Things". I see the book as an extended case study which shows how a person can work at being a good leader of an organisation (that is, competent and successful) while remaining committed to acting ethically. And in this case, the leader uses the I Ching for guidance about what is the correct thing to do in the situations with which he is faced.
So I will talk about the novel as a resource that can be used in tertiary education in business ethics courses. My only reservation about this is that I don't want to suggest that the story is gratuitous or contrived. It is a story, and as such it has tension, and things could go badly, and at many points in the story things do go badly. The book is not a cheap justification for acting ethically. Sometimes acting ethically creates enemies who would gladly kill you (and not always figuratively). People need to know this.
So the quest continues to find a book distributor, and enable my good story to make its way into bookshops and thus to readers in their homes and on buses and trains.
And the photo? It's the big Buddha at the Crystal Castle near Mullumbimby, northern New South Wales. They liked the book there, and have accepted it for sale in their bookshop. (Thanks!)