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Need suggestions for Interview questions for the authors of Building a Better World in Your Backyard

 
steward
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If you were interviewing Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop about their upcoming book, Building a Better World in Your Backyard, what questions would you ask them?

I need to come up with 12-24 interview questions to add to the Media Kit I'm building, so any and all suggestions are welcome and gratefully accepted.

Thanks for your time!

Cheers
Tracy
 
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what if I don't have a back yard?

what inspired you to write about building a better world?

tell us the story of two authors? (only better worded)

will it really build a better world?  really?

who is the book for?  can anyone do the stuff in this book?

Are you sure being angry at bad guys won't make the world better?  Cause my dad's neighbours' uncle met someone on the bus that said the only way to create change in this world is to get angry.  
 
master steward
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I would ask them silly questions like how to get some Sepp Holzer grain.  But a media person could ask them things like:

How much does it cost to do half the solutions in this book?

How much time does it take to do half the solutions in this book?

Is this a feel good manifesto about what people could do or are there actual directions on what to do?

Are there actual examples of people doing the solutions in this book or is it theoretical?
 
pollinator
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Those are great questions, Mike. Because they’re great questions, I’m sure no media person would ever think to ask them. ;-p That’s not to say they shouldn’t be included in a media kit, though.

I guess I’d want to know what the author means by “a better world.” What does a “better world” look like in his mind? I would want to know what the pictures on the cover are there for—what do they mean? (I’m assuming the prospective reviewer knows nothing about Paul.) Who would/should be interested in reading this book? How will this book help/amuse/inform her listeners/viewers? How will reading it help them to make the world and their lives better? I feel that most people equate “making the world a better place” with political/ecological activism of some sort. Whether or not those things actually do make the world better is another question. I guarantee that very few think about producing some of their own food or improving the water flow across their property or growing a micro food forest when they see/hear that phrase. I LOVE the idea of making the world better by actually getting your hands in the ground and doing REAL things, however small, to make your little bit of the world healthier, more fruitful & more beautiful. It’s a thing that needs teaching though, and before it can be taught, it needs to be able to take that talk show host’s concept of improving the world and transform it... open it up. Unless she is already a Permie, or unless she’s actually read the book, she’s going to be completely mystified as to what the title even means. She may be bored or she may fall in love with the idea, but first she has to grasp (quickly) what the author is proposing.
 
Mike Haasl
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Good point Cindy, that brings up a question (based greatly upon your comments):

Is this a political book suggesting activism and action through the ballot box?
 
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I think there are a lot of questions to add yet. Without paying much attention to grammer right now:

- what is your book about?

- what inspired you to write your book?

- You are doing something unique with your kickstarter. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

- Your title is Building a Better World in Your Backyard. What about people who live in apartments?

Other ideas?
 
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Why now, vs 10 years ago or 10 years from now? Do you feel like change is attainable today? Is the population ready?
 
pollinator
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What if I like the world I have now, can I keep it? What do I lose if I follow the book? I don't like losing.

Will I have to be cold, hungry, and in the dark all the time? That doesn't sound fun.

Is any of the stuff in the book fun?

Will I need to find new friends?

 
steward
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How would you describe the book in two sentences?

What do you think is the most important message you are trying to convey?

What chapter of the book took the longest to write? Why?

What chapter took the least time to write? Why?

What was the most enjoyable chapter to write?

What was the most frustrating chapter to write?

What is difficult to communicate to others?
 
Tracy Wandling
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Thank you for these awesome suggestions! You're the best.

I'll add these to the media kit, and make the boys answer them!

Keep 'em coming!

Cheers
Tracy
 
pollinator
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In 2019, why a book? Can't I find all this stuff online?

Why bother making a better world in my backyard if climate change is simply going to obliterate it?

My family members cultivate thousands of acres conventionally, how does my backyard matter?
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Here's what I've come up with. I would appreciate your feedback!


Q: What is your book about?
A: Our book is about building a better world in your backyard instead of being angry at bad guys. Yes, that's the title of the book. We picked it for a reason. It really does sum up the message that we are trying to get across: we really can solve the world's problems, today, without writing letters, protesting, or generally being angry at bad guys. If we get to chip in a bit of a bonus message, it would be to add that you can do so in a way that also saves you money and provides a more luxuriant life at the same time.

Q: What does a better world look like to you? What problems does your book focus on solving?
A: We would love to have focused on all of the problems. But we didn't have that much space in the book. So we decided to focus directly on three footprints: carbon footprint, petroleum footprint, and toxic footprint. It just so happens that by implementing the solutions we present for these three problems, we would also go a long way toward solving most of the world's other problems too.

Q: Who is your book for?
A: We have discussed this a few times. It seems like each time, although it feels weird to say it, the answer is "everyone." But maybe it's especially for people who are passionate about solving world problems and feel like the usual "solutions" just don't cut it. Or maybe they just like saving money. And a lot of our solutions are focused on people living in a cold climate, so maybe someone from a tropical climate would get less out of the book, but there are still parts that would apply for them.

Q: Why the focus on personal change rather than political change?
A: So often it feels like the solutions being presented for global problems are along the lines of "we need politicians to do so and so and if they don't we're going to be angry about it." At the end of the day there is often very little progress, if any. In this book we place a strong focus on things that you can do, at home, that are guaranteed to make a significant positive difference - without writing letters, attending protests, or being angry at bad guys.

Q: What do you think will motivate people to implement the solutions you present in your book?
A: A lot of the time we hear about solutions that sound a lot like sacrifice: drive less, turn your heat down, take cold showers, etc. But in this book we place a strong emphasis on solutions that make a huge impact while also saving money and providing a more luxuriant life. The idea is that a lot of people might want to implement these solutions even if they aren't particularly passionate about solving world problems. Maybe they just want a little extra money in their pocket.

Q: So many books say "if everyone did this, it would solve the problem." What if only some people make these changes?
A: We strongly believe that if only a fraction of the population implements the ideas in this book, we will have effectively solved the problem. The few DO have the ability to solve the problems of the many.

Q: Can anyone do the stuff mentioned in your book?
A: A lot of books about solving world problems focus on the need for further innovation in order for their solutions to make an impact. While we both really appreciate and encourage further innovation, we also recognize that the average person might not fit under the label of "innovator." So in our book we focus on solutions that the average person can implement NOW that make a huge difference while we are waiting for the innovators to come up with further optimizations.

Q: Your book is called "Building a Better World in Your Backyard." What if people don't have a backyard?
A: The book is broken down into six different parts: the introduction, the problems, general strategies, things you can do within the walls of your home, things you can do in a backyard, things you can do on a homestead, and the conclusion. The idea is that there is something in here for everyone. And maybe, in time, you will find a way to get access to more space to play with these ideas.

Q: Why now, vs 10 years ago or 10 years from now? Do you feel like change is attainable today? Is the population ready?
A: We wish this book would have been available 10 years ago. But it's not. It's available now. So we make the best of it. We are intentional about trying to provide incentive for people to implement the solutions in our book, not guilt them into it. I think that this makes a huge difference in whether or not people will be interested in making change.

Q: Are there examples of people implementing the solutions presented in this book, or is it all just theoretical?
A: This is a book about practical solutions. Some of these ideas are fairly new, but many of the ideas presented in this book have been implemented by thousands, maybe even millions, of people.

Q: What inspired you to write about building a better world?
A: We both have had far too many conversations about solving world problems where the other person was providing solutions that were very weak. And when we tried to bring up our solutions, they would tell us that those solutions couldn't possibly solve the problems because otherwise they would already have heard about it everywhere. It would have "gone viral." The hope is that, by sharing this book with the world, these ideas will infect the brains of millions of people and we can have a lot more progress.

Q: What chapter of the book took the longest to write? Why?
A: We have a chapter on growing double the food with one tenth of the effort. It wasn't that we had trouble figuring out what to say, it's that we had trouble figuring out what not to say. We spent many weeks trying to cram a massive amount of information into this one chapter. There's so much more that we would like to say, but we think it turned out pretty great.

Q: You started a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the costs of publishing your book and you have some unique strategies for getting your ideas out there. Can you tell us a bit more about your campaign?
A: We are trying a few new things with this Kickstarter campaign. The first is that we are making it super cheap to buy a dozen copies of the book in an effort to effect mass change through substantial education. We are also setting things up so that by supporting the campaign, even at the $1 level, you get a huge gob of goodies. We really want to reward people who support us when we need support the most! For that reason we also have some more goodies for people who support the Kickstarter in the first 48 hours, even for $1. We started off with about 5 things on the earlybird bonus list and now we're looking at over 30 videos, book excerpts, ebooks, etc. that various authors and influencers have thrown in the pot! So now by supporting in the first 48 hours, people get over $100 worth of stuff for as little as $1!
 
wayne fajkus
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My question (thanks for including it!) about why now. It gives an opportunity for optimism. A pat on the back to the reader if answered differently.

Something like "a larger portion of people are primed to make change today vs 10 years ago"

Or the timing is good for change to happen because people are ready for change.

Basically convince them they are ready and they are the right people to do it.
 
Hey! Wanna see my flashlight? It looks like this tiny ad:
Gracie's backyard - a film about permaculture farming in the far north with Richard Perkins (stream)
https://permies.com/wiki/133872/videos/Gracie-backyard-film-permaculture-farming
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