Last year, I decided it was time for a test run…
In journals, papers, essays, articles, & blog posts, I’ve written a lot of words. Sometimes, they’re just goofy thoughts drawn together over a skeleton of a concept. Other times, they’re strong, full-bodied ideas, ready to be released into the world to do some work. I’ve even been paid for some of my words by a couple different magazine publishers. But last year seemed, for some reason, to be the time to begin to push against the walls a little bit into the world of book writing.
So I gathered a bunch of words, asked a lot of questions, made some space for you to add your own words, and published a guided journal to help you deepen the conversation of your life with God. I’m usually pretty patient, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time hunting for a publisher and trying to convince one to publish the book. I’m also pretty resilient, but the thought of wading through the muck of rejections wasn’t very appealing, either. So I self published the book through a print on demand outfit that makes the book available through all the normal book buying channels. (Available, but not necessarily highly visible… that will have to wait for another post.)
After years of well-meaning friends telling me I should write a book, I did. It’s been out for a few months now and many of those friends have been the first to enjoy the dig through Scripture. I’ve sold a few hundred copies, and the journal seems to be being well-received and useful to those who’ve bought a copy. I could stop here and celebrate it all as a win, but I think there’s more. This is still a test run of sorts for me. I’m learning a lot about what it takes to write and sell a book.
One of the first “lessons” I’ve thought about is “why?”. Why did I write a book? Why did I write it now? Let me explain a bit facetiously… (Hopefully you’ll see quickly that these reasons are written in jest and should be taken with a salt block tied around my neck before I’m thrown into the sea of pride and ego.)
I wrote a book last year because:
- I had a lot of free time. With four kids and a full time youth ministry, I really didn’t have a lot to do. I’ve thrown in some board meetings for a mission and a management team for a church plant, but it just didn’t seem to be enough. There are just so many hours to fill every day, right?
- I’m an expert and people need to know what I know. I’ve been studying the Bible and leading student ministries and praying and stuff for a long time. I’m a good learner and thought it would be a good idea to grace you all with what I’ve found out. It’s been my pleasure, really, so don’t worry about studying or wrestling with this idea yourself, just get my book and follow the instructions there, ok?
- I have a lot of bills to pay. Again, with a household of 4 kids to run, there are some hefty bills to keep up with and writing a book that people would buy seemed like a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Every book gets purchased, right? How else would I easily make a little extra money? Start selling soaps and vitamin patches or stretchy pants or something? Steal my kids’ lunch money? Ask for a raise?
- I love selling things and wanted something new to sell. I’ve sold cars and food and junk at garage sales. I’ve recommended lots of other people’s books, which is a little bit of salesmanship for someone else’s benefit. But how much more fun to sell my own book? What could be more enjoyable than marketing my own work and annoying everyone I know with smooth insertions of my own book quotes into every conversation?
Ok, the truth is, I wrote a book last year because with all the chaos of life, I was reminded of something I knew a long time ago that I thought maybe other people had forgotten, too. I needed a reminder. I didn’t write PRAY because I have prayer all figured out, but because I needed to re-learn how to ignite the conversation of my life with my Maker. When it’s all said and done, I will make a few bucks from the sales of PRAY, but God has always provided enough anyway. I don’t love being my own personal shill (which may be the biggest part of finding an agent and publisher would be worth the delays).
We are absolutely dependent on God.
If there is any hope of us being the gate crashing church Jesus wants us to be, it is found through the conversation we have with Him running through our life. Deepen your conversation today. You probably don’t need my book. I don’t really need you to buy it. But you and I both need to live in constant communication with our Father. Our words can mingle with His in life changing, earth moving ways! Writing PRAY helped me remember that and to understand how that happens – and I hope it can help you too.
Get yours at the cover link below, or get in touch to talk about a discount bulk order for your whole team.