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So What Do You Do?

International Best-Selling Author Paul McKenna on His Writing Process

McKenna-article

Paul McKenna, the hypnotist and self-help guru from the UK, has a gift for writing best-selling nonfiction books. After an early career in radio, McKenna transitioned to TV and then to publishing. He’s written 16 nonfiction books, with provocative titles like I Can Make You Thin, which happens to be the best-selling self-help book in UK history.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, McKenna talks about the way he revolutionized nonfiction books (by putting a CD in the back, with a hypnotic trance on it) and why he’s not interested in writing an intellectual tome:

When I’m writing a book, I imagine I’m holding a copy of the book, and I start to flick through it and I get a sense of the emotional tone, or I get a sense of the pace of the book, whether it’s short chapters or long ones. The other thing I do is imagine the [reader] is sitting in front of me, and I think, ‘What do I need to tell them to help them get better?’ My readers need enough science to tell them that what they’re about to do is safe and has been practiced on other people and is a worthwhile process and then I walk them through it. And I’m not interested in writing intellectual books for other intellectuals to read. I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, in as easy and painless a way as possible.

For more from McKenna, including how he got his very first book published, read: So What Do You Do, Paul McKenna, Best-Selling Author, Hypnotist and Host of Hulu’s McKenna?

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New Book From the Founder of Essence Celebrates the Mag’s 44-Year History

Nine years after selling his magazine to Time Inc., Edward Lewis reveals how Essence came to be in his new book, The Man From Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women (Atria Books). Mediabistro recently interviewed Lewis to discuss the beginnings of one of the first magazines devoted to black women and why now was the right time to write his book.

Essence was first published in 1970 with a modest 50,000 copies before growing to more than a million four decades later. That type of growth will keep anyone busy and it was the “day-to-day running” of Essence that stalled him from telling its story earlier on. Lewis says this was an important story to tell because:

I wanted black women to know that a group of men thought so much of them that we wanted to bring something into the world that would celebrate their beauty and intelligence. Other women’s magazines weren’t talking about black women and we wanted to fill the void in the marketplace.

To find out more on the early days of Essence and what the magazine was almost called, read: So What Do You Do, Edward Lewis, Founder of Essence Magazine?