I am at a good place in my progress toward writing my book on the afterlife, and thought I could devote a few posts to explaining the whole process.  This is in response to questions I sometimes get from blog members who would like to know what steps I actually take in going from the idea of a book to the final product.

First off: how do I decide what books to write?   Different scholars have different ways of making this kind of (very big) decision.   In my case it is a little complicated by the fact that I write three kinds of books.  I write scholarly books for academic colleagues in my fields of research; I write textbooks for college students; and I write trade books for general audiences.   The process is slightly different for each one, so for my purposes here I’ll stick to how I go about writing trade books.

Depending on how you count, this will be my fifteenth trade book.  My first was Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, published in 1999 – so written this time 20 years ago.  How have I decided on what topics to pursue in these books?

It actually has been fairly easy for me.  It’s a matter of combining three things:  what I have some …

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