Neil David Chan is a Canadian trainer, business coach and consultant in the financial industry. He is an avid reader who prefers fiction and history. A HIGHER CONVERSATION is his first quest into writing a non-fiction book. We reached out to hear how it’s going.
Tell us a little bit about your self. What do you do apart from writing?
– I can usually be found reading a book, about history, evolution and science. Writing a non-fiction book was always on my bucket list, and eventually, with A HIGHER CONVERSATION, it became a reality. I love to trek in nature to admire its beauty and simplicity, otherwise I spend far too much time at the computer. I am a spiritual thinker. I have been writing about my thinking in private journals. I have read extensively on world history and literature, traveled widely across many continents, lived in many countries, interacted with many cultures and spoken to thousands of people. I now want to go public with my book.
What is A Higher Conversation about?
– It is about an unusual encounter with my soul, an aspect of my being. I was able to have a free conversation with my soul, talk on my ideas, accept ideas from my soul and do a mind merge, with an intent to change my mental construction and widen my human understanding. I was convinced that there must be another way to be human in this world. Knowing that I am a three–aspect being of body, mind and soul, I wanted to engage my soul to merge all three aspects to form a singularity in thought, word and deed, which I believe currently are the expressions of only our body and mind.
– I am trying to bring my encounter with my soul in a conversation mode for readers to understand how simple life is when one knows the purpose and the meaning as against constructing our own model of the world. I believe that guidance is available at our soul level, waiting to be asked and given. I believe that life’s every answer is available at the soul level, all one needs, is to tap into it. This is a gift given to all human beings, a resource for everyone to use at will, an ancient library at your disposal. My conversations with my soul is just that, a recording now made public, like an open source code for everyone to freely use.
– I hope that one day everyone in this world will be able to start a dialogue and become friends with their soul, who, by the way, is waiting for you to break ice and make first contact. Just like a computer coder learns to write the machine language, I believe that each of us can learn the language of our soul-feelings. As you get comfortable with the feelings put out by your soul, you will be able to change your internal thinking from what it is today to what it always was meant to be. And I challenge you to try and see the change that it will bring, for you to become human, in another way.
How did the idea come to you, and how long have you worked on it?
– I had a lot of questions on my mind and no answers. Out of the blue, I felt a response. I was surprised that a feeling can become a thought and then a word. I worked on it and found that it was real. I was getting answers that I never knew anything about. I then understood that it was from another source, but within me. This conversation began to grow. I would ask a question and I would get a response back as a thought. Over time I put these thoughts on paper, and a manuscript was born. I struggled with it not knowing that it was me or another aspect of mine. It became clear that if I knew the answers, why would I ask the questions? So once the struggle ended and clarity started to flow, I became comfortable to start writing. It has taken me over four years to build this conversation and create a manuscript.
Who’s your target audience?
Reader 1: Tom or Mary – Single
- Demographics: Working in profit / non-profit organizations / 30 – 35 years old / Loves Reading, works in urban cities around the world / In a relationship or wanting a relationship. / Single income 45k/year
- Behaviors: Busy, organizing and building personal life / Frequently feels life can be something else. / Has a lot of answers, not sure if this is true. / Wants to spend a lot of time with other people to get to know, to share and to give / Wants to change his/her life and become another way to be human.
- Needs & Goals: Wants to stay in touch with others, keep things running / Understands he/she can do more, but unable to find a path. / Makes time for parents and friends. / Feels like cloning self.
Reader 2: Tom & Mary – Working
- Demographics: Working in profit / non-profit organizations / 45 – 55 years old/ Loves Reading, works in urban cities around the world. / Married with children / Household 75k/year
- Behaviors: Busy, running thru life. / Frequently feels life is overwhelming. / Has a lot of questions to ask, no real answers coming through. / Wants to spend a lot of quiet time, can’t find the time to do it. / Wants to change his/her life and become another way to be human.
- Needs & Goals: Wants to help others, keep things running./ Understands he/she can do more, but unable to do so now./ Makes time for wife/girlfriend/ boyfriend/ children./ Feels like cloning herself into another avatar.
Reader 3: Tom & Mary – Retired
- Demographics: Retired. / 55 – 60 years old. / Loves Reading/ Married with grandchildren. / Household 50k /year
- Behaviors: Busy, helping grandchildren grow up / Frequently feels life is tiring / Has a lot of questions to ask, no real answers coming through. / Wants to spend a lot of quiet time, reflecting on life / Wants to change his/her life and become another way to be human.
- Needs & Goals: Wants to help others, keep things running. / Understands he/she can do more, but unable to do so now. / Makes time for children / grandchildren. / Feels like it’s time to get answers to questions he/she has been asking all lifetime.
Wow, that’s very specific! Since a good understanding of one’s target audience is good for the final outcome, would you mind sharing how you arrived at this?
– I conducted research through a friend. He was connected to the publishing industry. He was able to run an online research on my subject matter – Metaphysical spirituality and was able to collate data about book buyers who had bought such books previously. This led to profile data of most likely readers.
How long have you worked with beta readers?
– I am new to Beta readers, I can say about a month or maybe a little more.
How many readers do you typically draft for a project?
– I am trying to get my three reader profiles – Single, Married, and Retired. So, three profiles and two more from each profile – that is 9 beta readers. Duplicate this with a gap – that is 18 beta readers in total.
What do you look for in your beta test?
– I am trying to get feedback from my three reader profiles and see when duplicated, are there any common patterns or do they differ in opinion? I could say if all 18 beta readers have a common feedback and have enjoyed reading my manuscript, my testing is positive. If not, how much is common and how much is variant? I am looking for an above 50% common rating.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received, and why?
– Write with passion and write what you believe in. If I cannot own it fully, how will my readers enjoy reading it? I believe passion is the engine that drives anything and everything. Without passion, whatever one does is not committed. My manuscript is fully committed by me.
What’s a book that’s made a lasting impression on you, and why?
– I can’t say just one book, probably many books. My first book that impacted me was “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. Another book that had a profound effect was “The Last Hours of the Ancient Sunlight” by Thom Hartmann. And many such more books.
Lastly, would you like to share some advice with authors just starting out?
– I would love to – choose a genre that you are interested in, build up a passion on the subject, research it well and let it go. Write and put your everything you’ve got into it. Dream about it and live it in words. The rest will follow like a stream flowing from the hills and on to the valley.
Neil David Chan is a Canadian writer and business coach. Apply to read A Higher Conversation on BetaReader.io.