About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Starting on Research

Having got a little promotional writing under my belt and having developed the content of the book (with the idea of Seven Simple Strategies) it was now time to be brave enough to do some research. Up to now the idea was just too delicate to expose it to the harsh realities of looking what else was out there.

First I started by looking up other books with the title ‘Out on a Limb’. As I expected there are loads! This is a phrase in common usage so it is not surprising. Top of the list (on Amazon) was Shirley MacLaine’s autobiography. The nearest in subject matter to mine were a book on the power of prayer by two women from the US and one called Out on a Limb Safely written about trusting in God by a vicar. None of this leads me to believe that my title is a complete non-starter. Yes, it is common but my subtitle will distinguish my book and you can’t copyright a book title, unlike the words inside. Also important to me was that none of the books I saw had an image like the one I can see on my book cover.

So far, so good. I also started looking in the spirituality section for books with the same subject matter. Now this is a very crowded category (trust me to be so obvious, my first book was about cancer, another ridiculously popular category) so I could have spent several days just going down the list. But the good news was that in the time I did spend I didn’t find that my book had already been written by someone else – yay!

There was ‘Wiccan Warrior : Walking a Spiritual Path in a Sometimes Hostile World’ which sounded similar on the surface but was actually a book about archetypes for followers of the Wiccan tradition. So not so much like mine at all, and not a book I would read (I don’t get archetypes generally, my brain goes fuzzy when I try to read about them and I give up). There was also ‘Rude Awakening : Perils, Pitfalls and Hard Truths of the Spiritual Path’ which I thought was a shockingly negative title and on closer inspection seemed to be about getting lost on the path. So all in all so far I feel on the right track, and also that I got to this research at about the right time in the project. Neither too soon nor too late. After all if there had been a book just like mine then I would need to put my energies somewhere else or find a new angle. I do believe that often the same ideas are out there in the ether to be picked up by more than one person – you only have to look at how often there are 2 blockbuster summer movies on the same general theme, be it volcanoes or asteroids.

After this slight diversion, next time it will be back to more promotional material!


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