After writing two non-fiction books, was one harder to write than the other? The Jesus book was much harder. With the Potter book, I’d worked through most of what I wanted to say before I started. With the Jesus book, I thought I’d done that, but it turned out to be a vicious rumor and lie. I had to throw away two manuscripts, and I had already started writing the third before I finally saw the approach I needed to take.
What made writing this latest book so difficult? Finding a way to actually communicate with the target audience. How do you convince Christians they need to stop using three-quarters of the Bible? Even now, answering that question feels like a closed-room mystery or a Mensa brain teaser.
The trick was to get inside the shoes of the people I wanted to reach, and figure out what might be more important to them than the Old Testament. The answer I came up with was: souls. Surely Christians would be concerned about the people who are lost to the church because of the OT. But the path to that answer involved walking a mile in the other person’s shoes. Probably that’s always going to be the key, no matter what the subject is.
Do you have any social media suggestions for authors? The social media stuff makes me break out in a rash. One thing I think helps, though, is to find a site that is dedicated to the kind of writing you’re doing. With the Potter book, I hung out on the Leaky Cauldron site, posting in the forums. With the Jesus book, I’m mostly hanging out at Huffington Post, in their Religion section. The general-purpose sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) are important, but try to find a site that’s focused on your topic or genre.
Do you have a hero as a writer? William Lloyd Garrison. He was like the world’s first blogger. He published a weekly anti-slavery newsletter for 35 years. That’s tenacity. Even after his position on abolition was vindicated, academia treated Garrison like a fruit-loop because of the other strange ideas he promoted: equal rights without regard to race or gender…. A really good biography of Garrison is All On Fire by Henry Mayer.
Do you have any advice on self-publishing? Make sure you’re signing on with a Print On Demand shop, not one that will ask you “How many copies do you want?” I met a lady at a writing conference just last month who says she’s got 3,000 copies of her book sitting in her bedroom…. I’ve used CreateSpace twice now, and I’m very happy with them.
I also used LightningSource once, so I could have a hardcover version of the Potter book. I figured libraries might be interested in a hardcover non-fiction book. I know one library did buy 4 copies of the book: 4 copies of the paperback! So the extra expense of a hardcover cover design, etc., wasn’t worth it. While LightningSource did a fine job, I’ve downgraded myself to the “straight to paperback” category for the foreseeable future.
In Romans 14:13, Paul tells us that we’re not supposed to put a stumbling block in front of another person. Neither should we just sit and watch people tripping over the same stumbling blook over and over. We should get up and move that stumbling block out of the way.
In Romans 15:1, Paul goes on to say that those who are stronger in their faith must make allowances for those who are weaker. “Don’t just think about what makes you happy,” Paul says. For a long time, ever since Marcion raised some of the first objections to the Old Testament way back in the year 140 CE, Christians have been clinging to the OT because it makes them happy. Now, it’s time for Christians to take pity on those folks who have moral objections to what the OT says.
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Genre – NonFiction
Rating – PG13
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