Writing Spiritual Books – Hal Zina Bennett

Writing Spiritual Books: A Bestselling Writer’s Guide to Successful Publication
Hal Zina Bennett
Inner Ocean Publishing, 2004
222 pages

With the advent of the internet, print on demand services, and a growing number of pagan and occult publishers and self-publishers, there are increasing opportunities to be a published author. However, just because you have an idea and can string a few words together doesn’t mean that you’re automaticaly going to get your book accepted. What Bennett offers is a guide to book writing that specifically focuses on the spiritual genre.

I’ve enjoyed some of Bennett’s other works, including Spirit Animals and the Wheel of Life and Zuni Fetishes. This book, however, is another animal entirely. Instead of being a text focused on a particular spirituality, this is a wonderfully thorough guide to writing a book about your own spirituality. Bennett’s extensive experience as an author, as well as a writing coach, shines through in this work.

Bennett cover a lot of ground just concerning writing itself. He helps the would-be author to get started, not with a traditional outline, but with the more creative mind map. He also brings up some excellent points about the importance of knowing your audience and what you’re trying to tell them, rather than only writing for yourself. There’s even an entire chapter dedicated to putting together effective exercises for the reader to test-drive theoretical material with. There’s not so much material on the actual publication and promotion process, but what he does offer is good advice.

I think the main consideration that readers of this blog may want to keep in mind is that the advice does tend to more heavily favor New Age/Metaphysical writing, rather than pagan or occult texts. Therefore, some of the assumptions that are made might not fit your experience; for example, he assumes that you’ll agree with the Perennial Philosophy as popularized by Huxley. Additionally, some considerations specific to pagan and occult writing, particularly regarding audience and topics, are not covered here.

Still, it is an excellent book for what it was meant to be, and definitely worth a read if you’re a would-be author of spiritual books, especially if you don’t have a background as a professional writer. It reads like a manual for the average reader who has some ideas, but isn’t sure how to implement them, rather than someone who is a seasoned writer in some genre or another. Regardless of your experience level, there’ll be good information and ideas for you in this book.

Five pawprints out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. caveofstars said,

    September 25, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for the reivew. I’m definitely going to check this out.

  2. ogam said,

    September 25, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Very glad to read your review, Lupa: this is a book I have had on my “to check out to see if it were worth making the time to read” list. Thank you.


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