HELP YOURSELF TO SOME SELF-HELP

While I’m waiting for the backers to show up for my new yoga-guy chain (see previous post) I’ll have to find another way to support myself. Since being a screen-writer hasn’t worked quite as I hoped (see September 24 entry), and Casa de Savásana is currently a project that’s laying on the floor in a bit of a stupor (or “vision” as we yogis prefer to call it). On top of that I’ve hit a bad streak at the casino.

So I’ve talked to my publisher over at Really Random House and they’re almost committed to my new idea. I’m going to create a self-help book empire. This idea took hold when our friends over at Amazon sent the Fabulous Miss K a book titled Highly Sensitive People (HSPs to those who care).

Book cover

It turns out that in this age where we all need to belong to some group that isn’t getting its due, there is a group of people who are clinically more sensitive than me (I know what you’re thinking… “Stop the presses, I’ve got a story that will blow this town wide open”). If I’d been paying better attention I probably would have noticed these really sensitive folks already but I guess I was thinking about something else. It’s kind of a shame because I actually had been planning on writing a book about sensitivity so I guess I’ll need to modify my approach. Anyway, for the folks who needed a label about their special position in the world and couldn’t find one that fitted, they can now join the ranks of the HSPs.

So I’ve now done my research and pretended to read this The Highly Sensitive Person. It begins with quotes from people who only have initials, not full names, because they’re probably embarrassed. But over and over they testify (really) that this book:

“…has given me inner peace”

“…it really helped me understand myself a lot better”

“… It made me feel like a part of a larger group”

“…It’s the best book I’ve ever read.” (I think someone needs to be doing a lot more reading).

“…It’s the first book ever to speak to me!” (wait until she gets the Audible Books version where the book that speaks to her also speaks to her).

In the preface the author notes that she’s sold over 100,000 of these books! That’s an awful lot of sensitivity for any group of mortals. Then when I went on Amazon to learn more and I noticed that there’s a whole Highly Sensitive Person industry. In addition to the original flavor you can find these smash follow-up books:

  • The Highly Sensitive Person in Love
  • The Highly Sensitive Survival Guide”
  • The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook
  • The Highly Sensitive Child
  • How to Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person

Actually there are dozens more books about these HSPs. When you read further you find out that based on the test the author created about 10-15% of the population is “Highly Sensitive.” Nice way to manufacture a market for your product I think… create a test and make sure enough people pass it to qualify for buying your book. On the book cover the author notes that you may be an sensitive person if you are “ ‘…too sensitive’ according to others.” Good point, who needs a test when other people already know who and what you are, although I’m not sure “too sensitive” is the term they actually use.

But here’s where the opportunity arises for me; because about 42% of the population isn’t very sensitive at all (clinically these are referred to as “men”). So if she could sell over 100,000 copies to just 15% of the population, then I can probably sell about a half a million to the folks who are totally insensitive. And that’s only for the original book I’ll write. The 43 follow-ups I’m also currently working on should raise the total to about a billion copies, not counting the workshops/retreats/seminars and the PBS special I have in the works.

The working title for my book is “How to be HIP: A Guide for Highly Insensitive People… Embracing your Inner Butthead.” This is actually a kind of a follow-up to my previous bestseller: The Seven Habits of Highly Offensive People.”

At this point I’m not willing to give the details of the book, but the outline I shared with the publisher does include the following chapters. Each of these chapters could easily be expanded into a book, a workshop or a seminar that doesn’t say anything more than the original chapter.

HIP Chapters

  • The Highly Insensitive Person: Why You Shouldn’t Care
  • Making Insensitivity Work in the Workplace: Why Promotions are So Over-rated
  • Using Insensitivity as a Bedrock for your Loving Relationships—When Yawning Means Caring
  • The Spiritual Persons Guide to Insensitivity (co-written with Pope Benedict)
  • Raising A Highly Insensitive Child: The Truth Behind “I Know You Are But What Am I”
  • Clues to Human Behavior: Why They’re Not Important and How to Ignore Them
  • What To Do When Sensitivity Creeps In (Take a Nap)
  • What to Do When Insensitivity May Be Inappropriate (Hint: Nothing because it probably doesn’t matter, at least to you).
  • Politics and Insensitivity (follow this link)

I think I’ll take this afternoon off and go get a facelift so I can take some photos for the book jacket.