Another fun song from The Piano Guys. Enjoy!
by Tamela Hancock Murray
When I talk to writers about the day-to-day operations of my office, I usually mention weekends. And that we have them.
I make an effort to stay away from the computer for business on the weekends unless there is some urgent reason to do otherwise. This may sound selfish, and perhaps it is. But I also try not to bother my clients on the weekends because I want them to have weekends, too. Writers tend to pay attention when an email from their agent arrives, and I want them to be free not to think of business on the weekends.
I understand that many writers have other jobs and commitments and that may mean Sundays are their only time to write. But I hope these writers will choose another time or day to take off. Why not Tuesday? Or maybe Saturday.
Here’s why:[ Read More → ]
by Karen Ball
I know I promised you the final blog on accountability partners, but as I’ve talked with publishing folks and friends the last few weeks I’ve noticed a theme: Discouragement.
It’s a well-documented fact that people struggle with depression and discouragement more during the holidays than any other time of the year. I wonder sometimes if writers are among the most discouraged. Part of it, I’m sure, has to do with the in-and-out of finances this time of year—as in nowhere near as much coming in as is going out. I also think writers, introspective souls that we are, tend to look back on the year when December hits. You know, assess how we’ve done on meeting our NaNoWriMo or publishing goals. Many of us are forced to face what is rather than what we’d hoped would be.
Don’t you wish sometimes that you could write the story of your life? That you could tie up all the loose ends, show how even the hardest times are all a part of God’s plan to refine and restore? That we could craft a life where no one loses health insurance, jobs, or homes. And of course, in our wonderfully crafted story, family gatherings would be just like those heart-warming Norman Rockwell paintings, where everyone is smiling and happy and full of joy. But no, instead of Rockwell, we get a scene from Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation.” As for the job of writing or publishing, well, what a year it’s been, what with publishers shutting down lines, editors being laid off, advances getting cut in half, contracts being cancelled…[ Read More → ]
by Dan Balow
One hundred and fifty years ago this fall, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on the site of the battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War. It was 270 words and took two minutes to deliver.
Not as memorable was the 13,600-word oratory by American statesman Edward Everett that lasted for two hours prior to Lincoln’s epic speech. In fact, the program for that November 19, 1863 event consisted of eight elements…four songs, two prayers, Everett’s speech and a few words from the President.
History elevated those two minutes by the President to some of the greatest words ever spoken. The rest of the program is all but forgotten.
Recently I was in an airport terminal waiting to board a flight and the well-intentioned airline employee picked up the really bad microphone and began explaining the boarding procedure for my flight in tremendous detail.
Fifteen minutes later (I am not kidding, I timed it) the announcement was finished.[ Read More → ]
by Steve Laube
If you want the perfect gift for the bibliophile in your life consider this new book from C. S. Lewis called Image and Imagination (under $20 in paperback). To quote the description from the Cambridge University Press site:
This selection from the writings of C. S. Lewis gathers together forty book reviews, never before reprinted, as well as four major essays which have been unavailable for many decades. A fifth essay, ‘Image and Imagination’, is published for the first time.
Included are his reviews of Tolkien’s Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
But the crowning jewel is the 20 page essay “Image and Imagination.” This unpublished piece was found handwritten in a ruled notebook used by Lewis for his early drafts. Walter Hooper, who compiled this book, suggests that the essay was originally intended for but never sent to T.S. Eliot’s journal The Criterion in 1931. It is a rather dense exploration of ideas which, like much of Lewis’ academic work, demands much concentration of the reader.[ Read More → ]
by Tamela Hancock Murray
I have many people and circumstances to be thankful for but on this Thanksgiving Day, I am going to focus on you, our blog readers.
Thank you for being faithful to stop by every weekday, not only to see my posts, but the posts by Steve, Dan, and Karen. I can safely say all of us hope we edify and inform you — and even entertain you once in awhile.
Thank you for having the courage to make excellent comments and ask questions. I have learned from your comments and been challenged by your questions. I appreciate the opportunity to connect in this way.
Thank you for realizing that part of this publishing journey is to learn what’s new in the industry, especially as we continue to see dramatic changes. I’m glad our blog is part of your journey.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, and God’s best to you.[ Read More → ]
by Karen Ball
One more day and many of us will be seated around a table, mouths watering as we watch Dad or Grampa or Hubby carve a steaming, golden turkey. As I thought about the many Thanksgiving celebrations we’ve shared in my family–days of fellowship and laughter, gratitude and blessing–I remembered singing that wonderful old hymn, “We Gather Together.”
So join me, you lovers of words, you craftsman who create worlds and characters and stories that move and change us. Let’s read—and, if you want, sing!—together these powerful, beautiful words to celebrate this holiday:
We Gather Together
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free![ Read More → ]
by Dan Balow
Yesterday, Steve Laube asked you to thank those who have the most direct connection with readers of books…the retail bookseller. Steve has Christian retailing in his DNA. He worked for Berean Christian stores, managing their Phoenix, Arizona locations and was named the Christian Booksellers Association Store of the year in 1989. You win that award because you balance the business and ministry sides very well.
Today, I am thankful for the pioneers of the Christian publishing industry. At the founding of every Christian publisher are men and women who had a calling from God to publish books, Bibles and other materials that pointed people to Jesus Christ. If you knew one of these pioneers personally, your life is blessed for it.
I had the privilege of working with one such man, Ken Taylor, who founded Tyndale House Publishers at his kitchen table in 1962. He was also one of the founders of the Christian Booksellers Association in the 1950’s.[ Read More → ]
by Steve Laube
With this being Thanksgiving week I thought it appropriate to urge you to take a moment, visit your local bookseller, and say, “Thank you for supporting books!”
As I wrote elsewhere, it is tough to be in the retail side of the business. Online sales, rising rent and utilities, rising salaries, etc. are competition enough. I know many booksellers who are in the business for the love of the business not that they think they will become millionaires. They still enjoy the thrill of matching a customer’s need with just the right product. I still remember being honored when a customer came back and thanked me for recommending a particular book to them. One man even decided to go to seminary and enter the pastorate after reading a recommended title.
So before you join the chorus of pundits who seem to be gleefully announcing the demise of the bookseller, let us not forget they are real people with real jobs doing a real service to your community.
And despite the rise of e-books, the physical book is still at least 70% of all book sales. And a lot of those sales happen in a brick and mortar location.
We all have a part in a grand business. The business of changing the world word by word. Authors, agents, editors, marketers, public relations, sales, production, executives, designers, warehousing, accountants, shippers, printers, booksellers, AND readers. Quite a team we make. I, for one, am thankful for them all.[ Read More → ]
Today marks the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death (and also the 50th anniversary of death of both John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley). After a half a century it is Lewis’ legacy that continues to grow.
It is worth the time to watch this 24 minute documentary about Lewis. (It was written by one of our clients, Devin Brown.) It includes comments and observations from people like Tim and Kathy Keller, Chuck Colson, Doug Gresham, and Eric Metaxas.
Starting at the 8:30 mark is a section called “Rediscovering Christian Imagination.” (the section is only 5 1/2 minutes in length) We in the publishing industry should have this reminder placed before us on a regular basis.