This is a thinly veiled open letter, and I am addressing it to anyone who is trying or even considering to write a Christian book.
Dear person posted up in the corner of the coffee shop who’s taking up a table in the mid-morning rush (and oblivious to the needs of your fellow man),
Hey I get it, you’re not gonna be in the who’s who of Christianity until you’ve published a book. A memoir, an ultra-glorified bible study, another wake-up call to the church – whatever the genre is that you’re convinced your about to change. Just because you are writing a book to proclaim very interesting points about Jesus and the Christian life does not mean your writing will be interesting.
You may have a great point, even a series of great points all working in unison to make a grand point, but if you don’t write well then you are like a clanging gong. Please, take that advance the publishing company gave you and invest it in a ghost-writer. It hurts upfront but you are far more likely to have great returns, both in reader-response and book sales (not that this is a concern, as it’s all about getting your message out).
Quite simply, I’ve read way too many Christian books where the writing was excruciatingly bad. As in the lastfour Christian books I’ve read have been unbearable. To the point where I wondered if an editor, in good consciousness, collected a paycheck for their work – because there seemed to be strong evidence pointing to being uninvolved.
Now I’m sympathetic, I really am. You’re not a writer – you’re a pastor. You’re a teacher, you’re a leader, you’re the head of some organization who someone got ahold of my address and isn’t letting go. I realize you’re not a writer, yet you’ve chosen to write. And unfortunately having a great thesis does not guarantee a great book. In fact you may spend so much time discussing your thesis that you neglect what you’re saying. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
Reasons to spend more time developing your writing skills:
- Not only will your main points be heard, but they will be felt. Readers will be moved, not merely informed.
- Your book will likely be much shorter. More than likely you will actually spend more time writing a shorter book, but more people will be able to get through your work when it’s not a 300 page epic.
- Your sermons or speeches may grow to be more effective with your newfound ability with crafting words.
- You won’t have to promote your book so loudly (and annoyingly) to the blogosphere, as we’ll be passing along the good word on your behalf.
I hope I have not offended you. I don’t fault you for not writing well, as writing is not your original gift. But I hope that you can see an extra investment here will prove to be profitable for all involved (and will save me being the first guy on Amazon who finally says “what are you all talking about this book was a mess ! I’ve seen more organized train wrecks!”
Best wishes in your success (please keep me in mind for review copies),