Monday, December 9, 2013

Radio Interviews

I've been doing a ton of radio interviews lately on Losing Your Religion.  In the last week I've done shows on the west coast, mid-west, the south, New York area...all over the place.  Doing radio interviews are always interesting because:
  1. I never know much about the host, so I never really know what I'm going to walk into.
  2. I don't know who is listening and I know few of them listen for the whole I'm always a little unsure of where to stop my comments.
  3. The host rarely reads the entire book before the interview so sometimes they ask really odd questions.
  4. Sometimes the show just seems like a bunch of commercials.
And then there are shows like I did the other day...
...a radio show that focuses on women.
That's always interesting for me.

Debbie Chavez does a show for Christian women in the Denver area, helping them in all sorts of areas.  Knowing this ahead of time I didn't really know what to expect.  But, I must say, she was a fantastic interviewer.  She asked great questions and, in my opinion, we had a great conversation.

I thank her for being so kind to have me on.  You can listen to that interview on her website, click here

Monday, November 18, 2013

Exert from the Introduction of "Losing Your Religion"

Well, the book is finally available for purchase.  Thanks for everyone's kind words about it up to this point.  Now we will see what happens with it.

If you'd like to get the book yourself, you can click on the icon to the right (or click here).

Here is a short exert from the introduction that, I hope gives you a better understanding of the heart behind why I wrote this particular book.  Thanks for reading.  Here it is:

"...I’m hoping this book will serve as a mirror to reflect aspects of our church sub-culture that are off base. When I say that, I’m not speaking of other people; I’m speaking about each of us as individuals. We each make up the sub-culture we live in.

I have a growing concern that more and more people who call themselves Christians are unintentionally slitting the wrist of their faith. In a pursuit to be faithful, they try to will themselves into embracing habits and routines and disciplines they believe will cause them to be a “better Christian.” Although this seems like the right thing to do and seems to be the norm for our culture, it’s actually suicidal.
It is this concern that leads me to write this book. I think people are dying to be made alive again in their faith. I know countless people who long to be freed from the religious chains that bind them, yet they cannot seem to put their finger on what chain is actually around their neck.

I’m not claiming to have unleashed any sort of secret formula to the Christian life; nor am I claiming to have all the answers. But one thing I do know: Far too many people think Christianity is simply about agreeing with a certain set of doctrinal points and modifying their behavior or managing their sin to be a better person. 

I claim this idea and thinking as fraudulent. It might not be how we talk about Christianity, but it’s certainly how we practice it. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the faith Jesus invites us to live—and I think deep down we know it. I think people feel the weight of shame and guilt of this system of “doing church.” I know there are many Christians in the world today who don’t feel quite right about their faith and, I would say, with good reason.

To that end, I would like to help you identify and distinguish the faith, love and hope Jesus calls us to live by from the behavior management system we too often refer to as Christianity.

To begin, I want to ask for grace. I write with some very strong language at times—especially in the first section—and I did that to promote deeper thought about how you think about the Christian life. This book will require some introspection on your part. It’s not that what I write is so deep as much as it is hard to see inside yourself...but I don't think it will take long to see how they manifest in your own life.

Well, that's just a brief exert, but hopefully a little understanding of why I wrote this.  If you read it, I hope it's helpful for you.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3 Things Haunting People - that few can put their finger on

As a pastor I obviously talk with a lot of people.  I usually have 2-3 "meetings" a day where I'm with people from our community.  Now, I'm not the best "counselor" available, to say the least, but I do talk with a lot of people.  Most of them I just consider friends.  And, as friends, we talk about all sorts of things.

Whenever the topic of faith comes up we all have struggles.  All of us have doubts that we think of as an enemy to faith, rather than a catalyst for it.  We all have areas of unbelief, that we somehow let overpower all the areas we can honestly stand firm in.  All of us have these types of struggles when it comes to issues of faith.

But there are 3 things that always seem to haunt people at the core of their being.  3 things that cause people to shrink back from embracing the very things they want to.  Guilt.  Shame.  Fear of what other people think.

You see, these are 3 of the 4 things that religion is founded on.  Whether or not we claim to be a "Christian," none of us want to be chained by this type of religion.  And, even though we may not recognize it in the moment, these 3 things counsel us to make all sorts of decisions that we later regret.

Religion is not necessarily a bad thing, but the kind that is founded on these three things certainly is.  I believe many people are struggling with this religious system, but don't realize just how much it effects them.  It changes the way they think about themselves.  It changes, in unhealthy ways, the way they interact with other people.  And, in my opinion, most unfortunately, it changes the way they view God.

To name just a few unhealthy outcomes of this religious system:
We think we need to be a better person and do more or work harder to get there.
We think others will judge us if we're really honest with them.
We view God as little more than a Santa Claus figure, judging our behavior.

These are the things that led me to write the book, Losing Your Religion.  I want to help bring freedom to these areas in whatever way I can.  I'm certainly not some sort of guru that found a secret to faith and I'm definitely not claiming to have all the answers.  I'm just a guy who has had to work through these three areas in my own life and, because of that, I can now see just how many people are struggling with these same exact things.  I want to help them see it.  But to be free from it, they have to lose their religion.  The good news is, they'll never miss it.

Oh, and the 4th thing that religion is founded on, well, it's you.  I explain that in the book.  I hope you find the book to be helpful.

If you want to read what others are saying about it (including Publishers Weekly), click here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Proactive Leadership

There are all sorts of tensions in our culture that, in my opinion, as leaders, we need to be proactive in addressing.  Unfortunately, many times we tend to just let them come to us (and then react to them) rather than proactively leading our people and equipping them to navigate conversations like:
  • same-sex attraction/partnership
  • gay marriage
  • legalization of marijuana
Then there are some other topics that we tend to just let go unaddressed in the church context, like:
  • the role of women in the church
  • specific (defers from context to context) spiritual gifts
  • navigating the church and state boundaries
These are all issues that are too often left unaddressed and therefore they become "unspoken truths" that leave people to drown in their own assumptions.  And this creates confusion.  We tend to think that people will be able to navigate these issues on their own and clearly understand our position as a local church.  Both assumptions are wrong.  And, it's my firm belief that we must proactively shepherd people in areas such as these.  So, here are 3 general guidelines for being a proactive leader in these areas:
  1. Provide Clarity.  Clearly state your position AND the underlying convictions that drive your conclusions.  Articulating the underlying convictions you have (such as scripture being our standard) are critical for these conversations.  
  2. Provide Framework.  Clearly lay out the expectations you have for people as they dialog about these types of things.  I recently did a forum for our church on the LGBTQ conversation (more on that in a future post) and one of the things I set up as a framework is the following statement: "Humility and love, not shame, is our mutual aspiration."  These types of things set a tone for dialog and are necessary to "posture" our people to be able to handle these conversations in God-honoring ways.
  3. Provide Freedom.  People need to be given freedom to discuss topics like this in our churches.  Everyone gets super tense when these types of topics come up in conversation and much of this is due to our lack of articulating the freedom they have to do so.
More on this to come...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Advance Reader Giveaway...

Well, I have extra Advance Reader Copies of my forthcoming book and I want to give them away!  So, like I have done in the past, I thought I would include my daughters into the process.

So, here is how you can get a copy:

  1. Retweet
  2. Share the post on Facebook
I will send out tweets that say, "RT for a chance to win a free copy of Losing Your Religion" and I will also be posting on Facebook, "Share for chance to win a free copy of Losing Your Religion."

I will give it a few hours and then my two oldest daughters will be choosing the winners - one for Facebook and one for Twitter.  To keep this fair (because my daughters will always pick a girl!) I will assign a number to each person that either RT's or Shares the post.  I will ask my girls to pick a number and if your number is picked, I will contact you for your address...and then I will mail you the book.

BUT here's the best part about it...whichever daughter picks your number will also write you a little note.  It's a way they feel a part of my ministry and a way that you can have a smile put on your face.  Their drawings are awesome - I may be a little bias, but that's the way that works.

If you're interested, click here for a brief description of the book. 

So, keep your eye out...hope you get a copy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Before taking massive steps of faith...

There have been many times when I have allowed my fears of what might (or might not) happen to overpower my faith.  And I must say that I don't look back on those times with total freedom.  I feel the most freedom and security and even happiness when I have operated from the premise of faith.  That's the truth.

I define faith as doing what God asks despite not knowing the consequences of your obedience.  

These steps of obedience can seem like massive moves of "risk" and 100% life altering.  But we can't limit it to that.  Faith tends to be much more practical for us, and most often embraced in the mundane aspects of our everyday lives.

That said, sometimes people are called to take massive, life altering steps of faith.  For instance, I was called to move my family a thousand miles away to plant a church in a city where I barely knew 2 of my wife's old college roommates.  I was called to do it without asking anyone to join our team and without asking anyone to give money.

I am certainly not an expert in living by faith, but I would say that I've learned a few things by taking some steps of faith like this in my life.  Here are 3 things I've learned and would recommend:

  1. Seek the RIGHT counsel.  If we want to actually get wise counsel, we ought to seek it from those who have and are living with the kind of faith we feel called to live by.  If someone feels like they are called to start an orphanage in a developing country, we would see it as being wise to first talk to people who are actually doing it.  It is no different with steps of faith.  Be cautious of seeking counsel from people who are not living by faith - you cannot expect them to think from the premise you are.  There is a place for balance and differing perspectives, but we must be careful that the love and concern others have for us does not blind their ability to see the bigger picture of the steps we are being called to make.
  2. Be disciplined and self aware.  Walking by faith requires making a lot of intentional decisions.  We naturally take the path of least resistance in life, but God doesn't always work that way.  Just look at what He called the apostle Paul to do.  I learned that I have to be extremely careful to not confuse my motivations of fear for wisdom.  Fear can easily overpower faith under the umbrella of "wisdom."  To differentiate these from one another takes discipline on our parts, a keen sense of self awareness...and counsel from people who have successfully sifted out their fears (as well as the fears of others close to them) so that they can take steps of faith.
  3. Be properly affirmed.  Getting affirmation from peers or people outside of your immediate context is one thing, but affirmation from those that God has currently placed you under is another.  God speaks to us and guides us through those He places over us (1 Peter 5:1-2; Hebrews 13:7, 17), so affirmation in this sphere can be safely seen as confirmation of calling.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Surgery and Musings In Recovery

As some of you know, I recently had surgery on my right lung.  To be exact, I had to get half of it removed.  Going into the surgery I didn't even really understand what they were doing.  I knew they had to remove a "mass" from my lower lobe because it was infected and increasingly getting worse, but that's all I really understood.  After the surgery, I found out more.

Each of our lungs have 3 lobes (top, middle, lower) and each set of lobes has one air passage way.  However, my right lung had a 4th lobe with it's own passage way - a defect found in a very small percentage of people I guess.  This was attracting all sorts of bacteria, was inflamed and beginning to cause a number of different issues.  The surgeon was confident that it would've eventually become cancerous.  So, they went in to remove this extra "lobe" and cut off the additional passage way to it.  But once they removed it they realized my lower lobe (the biggest of the lobes) was also infected and had to be removed.  So they did so.

I came home recovering pretty well.  Sore of course, but I was getting better each day it seemed.  But after 6 days of being home I had a set back.  I woke up one morning in extreme pain and not able to move.  I obviously didn't know what was going on with my body.  My wife called 911 and I was brought to the hospital my surgery was performed at.  They discovered that my chest was filling with fluid, which was putting all sorts of pressure on my nerves and muscles - causing them to cramp and spasm.  They drained the fluid through a "chest tube," which they insert between your ribs and it lies on the inside of your ribs, draining the fluid out.  To say this is painful would be a gross understatement.  And I still can't believe they put it in while I was awake.  It was honestly one of the worst experiences of my life, if not the worst. But they obviously felt like it was something that had to be done.  After two more days in the hospital, I was able to return home once again.

At my most recent doctors appointment they discovered some more fluid.  I may need to get that drained next week, but we will wait to see.

In the meantime, I'm home resting.  It's tough to just lay around.  But there is one thing I have time to do...think and remember and reflect.  Here are a few things I've learned or have been reminded of or have realized after my surgery:

  1. I have tremendous friends who have stepped up in some amazingly kind ways.
  2. My family at Colossae is even more wonderful than we realized.  And we thought they were pretty great before this!
  3. The television series LOST is pretty good - at least season one.  Not sure how much further I'll get into it, but it's helped me pass time and keep my mind somewhat occupied so I don't get up and do things I shouldn't be doing.
  4. Blessing has nothing to do with the absence of pain or the presence of material comfort.  Blessing is the fact that God is with and for us through it all.
  5. Pain causes you to do weird things.  Sometimes it causes you to want to give up and it certainly caused me to lose some motivation.  I got irritated pretty easily (and often) and I certainly got overwhelmed with people being around.  But really, it's a reminder of our mortality and the fact that we all have limitations.
  6. I've been reminded of how amazing my wife is.  There are no words.
  7. My neighbors have been absolutely amazing.  One neighbor came over to just give my wife a hug, another brought us fresh fruit and veggies, another watched our girls for two afternoons in a row, another has watered my lawn and has asked for a list of things he can do each night, another has watered our gardens for us...and yet another has watched our kids and helped me with a number of odds and ends around the house.  We have tried to invest a lot of time into these relationships and we have discovered that we live amongst some amazing people.
  8. I realize how much I love to hold my girls in my lap and hug and kiss them.  Since the surgery I have not been able to do that.  I miss it more than I thought I could.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Identity Statements

I'm 2 weeks into teaching through the sermon on the mount at Colossae.  We just covered Matthew 5:13-16 and walked through a few things that seemed to really stand out to people in these verses.  I know they did to me as well.  Here are a two very brief points I think changes the way we view this passage as well as ourselves:

  1. These are not commands.  We often think we need to try and be salt and light in the world.  But that's not what Jesus is saying here.
  2. This is an identity statement.  We don't need to try and be salt and light, because Jesus says his disciples ARE salt and light.  Jesus says, "You are salt..." and he says "You are the light..."

So, the question isn't whether or not we are these things.   The question is whether or not we are identifying ourselves as Jesus identifies us and living authentic to who he's made us to be.  It's an issue of identity.  How we identify ourselves will drive every aspect of our lives.  The truth is most of us don't view ourselves as being salt and light and so we don't live as that daily.  We identify ourselves in all sorts of other things and being salt and light is just something we think we should do because we are Christian.

If we viewed ourselves as Jesus identifies his disciples, our lives would look much different.  It would look much more like, well, salt and light.

So, here are 3 things I find helpful in embracing who we are:

  1. Recognize inauthenticity.  If we are not being salt and light, we need to repent and pray for God to give us the desire to be who He has made us to be.  We may even get very pointed in our prayers by saying something like, "God, make my desire to be who I am greater than my desire to be selfish."
  2. Digest scripture.  Scripture is God-breathed and is a means God uses to renew our minds.  If we desire to be who we are then we must be in scripture which constantly reminds of our identity and how to be authentic to that.
  3. Community.  To be who we are requires living among other disciples who are trying to figure all this stuff out.  We can't just show up on a Sunday morning and then go back to our life until Wednesday's small group - which we just go to and then go back to our life.  Our life must also be entangled outside of any organized circles with the lives of others who have are also salt and light.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Better Off Without Jesus Giveaway

Okay, just for fun I've decided to give away copies of my latest book, Better Off Without Jesus.  So, here's how it will work...

I will send out tweets that say, "RT for a chance to win a free copy of Better Off Without Jesus" and I will also be posting on Facebook, "Like for chance to win a free copy of Better Off Without Jesus."

I will give it a few hours and then my two oldest daughters will be choosing the winners - one for Facebook and one for Twitter.  To keep this fair (because my daughters will always pick a girl!) I will assign a number to each person that either RT's or Likes the post.  I will ask my girls to pick a number and if your number is picked, I will contact you for your address...and then I will mail you the book.

BUT here's the best part about it...whichever daughter picks your number will also write you a little note.  It's a way they feel a part of my ministry and a way that you can have a smile put on your face.

Sound good?

Keep your eyes out...I hope you win!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Note to Leaders: Expectations

My wife recently took my daughters to the Nutcracker play.  It’s become a tradition in our family...for the girls, that is.  They get dressed up, go out to dinner with some friends and then enjoy the play.  It’s something they really look forward to.

My wife was telling me about how much fun they had and then told me something my five year old daughter, Karis, said to her about a half-hour into the play.  It blew my mind.

Karis said, “Mommy, I have to go potty.  Can you pause it?”

What?  Pause the play?  Wow.  She had no idea if she was watching a screen or a play or live television.  She’s always been able to pause live television so, I guess, who could blame her.  This has been a luxury she didn’t know how to operate without in her life.  She expected to be able to pause it, go to the bathroom and not miss a beat.

This is cute for a five year old, but these changed expectations is a reality for all of us and especially younger generations.  I enjoy technology as a 38 year old man and in many ways my life can’t operate without it.  But technology didn’t shape my thinking the way it has younger generations.

I’ve found that technology has shaped college aged people in some ways that should drastically change how we approach relationship with them.  If we don’t take these to heart and adjust how we approach them, we’re in big big big big trouble.  Perhaps the biggest area we must take notice of is how technology has changed their expectations.

Sure, it’s changed their expectations with how fast they obtain information and technology has certainly made the world smaller.  But, in my opinion, the thing we really need to take notice of is how much they expect to have a voice into things.

Think about it.  They have never not had a voice.  They have always posted comments on blogs or articles when they had an opinion.  If they saw something that interested them, they write about it on their personal blog or post links on Facebook or post a video explaining their views.  They have always had a voice and therefore they expect to have a voice in just about everything.  And, truthfully, who can blame them?  It’s all they’ve known.  

It’s hard for older generations to grasp this idea as being appropriate, but it’s reality in our world today.  We must give younger people a voice in our ministries.  If we don’t, we will lose them.  We lose trust.  We are viewed as controlling.  We are seen as people stifling them.  So, here are 2 quick ideas of how to go about that:

  1. Cut off your toes.  What I mean by this is, make sure people know they’re not going to “step on your toes” by sharing their honest opinions.  Continue asking what people think about your ministry.  Let them know there are no sacred cows.  Ask them to tell you what they would do differently if they were you.  Ask them what they think you should be doing next.  Ask them to tell you what they think is not working.
  2. Open your ears.  The truth is the more we open our ears and listen to them, the more they ask for us to open our mouths to share our perspective.  If we want to have a voice in their lives, we must first listen to theirs.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Insights Into Publishing [2]: How The Money Works

If you missed part 1 of this series, please first see the post directly below.

Publishing is a business, no matter how you look at it.  Authors may realize this in theory, but practially speaking I find they are surprised at how much it actually is.  People pursuing to be published tend to view their work through a lens of "having something to say" and they simply want others to read it.  This is good and needed in publishing.  Publishers actually look for it.  But it can be a rude awakening for authors when their passion meets the business world of publishing.

Publishers want and need to sell books for a profit.  Period.  And if you are someone who wants to write a book, you must embrace this at every practical level.  Like it or not, you are wanting to enter a new business venture.  This may not motivate you, but that's a reality you must embrace.  If you are a reader, I think you should know this too.  Your buying habits may change after knowing a few things.

I personally only write books I feel like I'm supposed to write.  When it comes to publishing I'm not motivated by money.   This is a personal thing driven by my faith.  I talk with my wife and we think/pray about a concept/contract...and if I think it's what God wants me to write, then I move forward.  But once I land on that, I then need to navigate a business world.

I won't go into all the nuances of navigating that world in this post.  Rather, I will simply lay out how the numbers typically work.  After seeing these numbers and processes you may wonder why anyone would ever write with/through a publisher.  However there ARE very good reasons and I will address that in the next post.  Publishers are not the enemy.  Like all other businesses in the world, they simply need to make a profit and they are facing all sorts of pressures - particularly from distributors like Amazon.  I will try to unpack those pressures for you in the next post as well.  It will change your perspective, I promise.

For now, here is how the money typically works between a publisher and an author.

Advances.  Publishers are shying away from offering authors any "advance," but it does happen.  Successful authors can receive hundreds of thousands of dollars for an advance, but this is very very very rare.  How it works is the publisher would give an author a certain amount of money upfront, before the book releases.  Advances are usually paid in 2-3 installments.  A portion is usually given when an author signs the contract, another portion is given after the manuscript is officially "accepted" by the publisher and, if it's paid in 3 installments, another payment is made on or around the books release date.  If you are a first time author, you should not expect any sort of advance.  That's just the reality of publishing today.  You will need to have a very good size platform to ensure the sales of books if anything is given.  And what you think is a good platform, very well may not be.  That will be in a future post of this series.

The advance is given to authors "against future royalties."  In other words, authors are paid a royalty on every book sold, but since they were advanced money, their royalty report is technically in the negative and needs to work itself back to zero through book sales.  Most publishers do not require an author to pay back their advance if it's not all paid back through sales, but they are able to in most contracts.  But since they don't usually recoup this money they usually offer little/if any upfront for first time authors.

Royalties.  Major publishers will typically offer authors a starting royalty of 16%.  But recently I've seen authors being offered as low as 12%.  12% is very low historically, but I'm seeing this more and more for first time authors.  The royalty percentages can also be tiered.  So an author might receive 16% for up to 10,000 books sold, 18% for 10,001-20,000 books sold, etc.  But no publisher is giving out higher than 22% for any authors on any tier.  Now, that's simply an example using round numbers but how this is tiered, or if it is at all, is solely dependent on the authors influence and platform.

But this is not what it seems at first glance.

Despite what people tend to think, the author doesn't receive 16% of the retail price...or even what readers pay for a book.  Instead, they make 16% of what the publisher sells the book for (or "the publishers net receipts").  So, let's say the retail price of a book is $12.99, but someone buys the book on a distribution channel like Amazon for $10.00.  Well, the publisher likely sold the book to Amazon for something like $6.00.  So, through this example the author would receive 16% of $6.00, or .96 cents.

But this isn't always the case either.  There is more to the story.

In most contracts publishers put a clause in that can cut this royalty in half...and most authors don't realize this.  The clause basically states if the publisher chooses to sell the books at a discounted rate (like 55% or more) then the author's royalty is cut in half.   And here's the thing, they usually offer the books to distributors for at least a 55% discount off the retail price.  Especially big one's like Amazon.

So, if the book's retail price is $12.99 and the publisher sold the book to Amazon for a 55% discount (or, $5.85), this would mean the author's royalty for that sale now becomes .47 cents.  In the publishing world this is referred to as "trade sales" and this clause is often inserted to protect the publishers profit margins.

Now, you might be thinking, "Well, self-publishing really sounds like the way to go then!"  But hold on just for a moment, I will soon discuss why publishing is still a better way.  And it will soon get even better.

Until then, this has been a very brief overview of how the money works and I think understanding more about how this can drastically affect how people go about purchasing books in the future.  In the next post I will share how current distribution channels are putting pressures that have negatively affected this for authors (and publishers).  Then, I will share some things that will be changing this...for everyone involved.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Insights Into Publishing

I have published 6 books with 4 different publishers and am currently writing my 7th book that will be available in August of 2013 (more on that later).  Although my experience is not as vast as some others,  I have learned a few things about the publishing world.  Some I don't like while others I don't mind so much.  Some things I've learned the hard way and some prior to getting bitten.

But regardless of how I feel, I think by far the majority of people don't have a clue about how publishing actually works.  And I think, with some basic knowledge, people would go about writing or purchasing books differently.  Much differently.

I frequently get emails, Facebook messages, DM's via Twitter, Google+ messages, etc from people who are writing or have written a book they desire to get published.   Most of these inquiries are about how to go about pursuing a publisher.  But I've also helped a number of people negotiate terms with publishers from the background.  In other words, I've given the advice an agent might give, without the fees of an agent.  A lot of times authors receive an offer from a publisher and they are so excited about "getting published"that they don't realize what it all really means.

And, like it or not, publishers don't necessarily want you to be educated on all the nuances.  They certainly never offer any advice to authors about the contract offers they give.  That's for sure.

Most of the time authors are shocked with my responses to their inquiries because they are operating off an ideal that just isn't reality.  And I've found that when I articulate what they are up against, their dreams are altered.  Not crushed, just altered.

I don't mean all that to sound as bad as it may have come across.  The truth is publsihers aren't crooks out to get people (well, most of them aren't).  But the fact is there is a lot about the publishing world that most readers and authors don't understand.  But they should understand more than they do.  It would change things.  Drastically.

For instances, I believe if people knew where all the money actually goes when they purchased a book, they would go about buying books differently.

I think if writers understood the financial premise publishers operate from, they would change their approach to publishing.  Or, if not entirely change their approach, at least they would navigate their relationship with publishers differently.  I also think if the average reader understood this financial premise, they would purchase books differently than they do.

I believe if readers realized how little the author benefits financially or how much the publisher relies on the authors to sell the books, they would buy books differently.  Most people think selling the books is what publishers are supposed to do on behalf of the author.  Well, that couldn't be more wrong.

If people realized that the bulk of the money in publishing isn't made by the publisher OR the author they would purchase books, in whatever format, from different places than they tend to.

If people understood how the industry ACTUALLY works, I think publishing would change forever.

The bottom line is the publishing world, for the most part, is turned upside down and it operates entirely differently than most think it does.  It's very core is fundamentally different than ever before and nobody actually knows where it's heading.  But there are some things that still ring true...and I believe people should have more information than they currently do.

I believe people want to know more.  When I share some of the things I've learned with my friends or people I meet on airplanes, they are fascinated.  And usually, if not in every case, people change the way they purchase books.  Now, I'm not claiming to some sort of whistle blower here nor am I claiming to be the only person to unveil some secret "handshakes" of the publishing world.  I am simply saying there are some things I think people should and would want to know about publishing.  So, this blog series is going to be about explaining how the industry actually works and some things I've learned.  I'm planning on writing on at least the following topics (not in any particular order):

  1. Where does the money actually go when you buy a book?  I think most people will be very surprised once they realize how it all works.
  2. The "smart business" practices of distributors like Amazon and the negative effects they have on the entire publishing world.
  3. Contractual elements most authors have no idea about and readers should realize.  There are aspects to the contracts that nobody explains when authors are signing a contract.  But if readers and authors knew about them, it would certainly cause thought about how you purchase books and where you purchase them from.
  4. The process of actually getting published.  I will talk about a few things pursuing authors need to realize and embrace about the publishing world.  I also think readers ought to know this as well as it may cause you to rethink how you purchase books.
  5. The differences and similarities of publishers of Christian books versus others genres.  They are very different in ways and yet, unfortunately, very similar.

My desire in this series is to be informative versus bashing anyone or any one part of this industry.  I'm a part of it and I actually enjoy it.  Having said that, I do think some information is important for people to have so they can make more informed decisions about how/where/why they purchase books and/or pursue getting one published.

I think the next post will be about where the money you spend on books actually goes...