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The Year of Kindness

This past year, my colleagues in Christian publishing have treated me with immense kindness. Thank you.

I wish I could say I have witnessed the same kindness in other arenas. If you follow current events even as a casual observer, I don’t need to recount the bitterness and rancor over ideas, processes, and how to deal with misdeeds.

But processing debates helped me progress in my own attitudes. For example, I felt unexpected emotions upon seeing personal, nasty jokes about a political figure. Rather than finding the lowbrow humor amusing, I felt offended and then, compassion, for the victim. I realize those in the public eye know that being made fun of by people with opposing opinions “goes with the territory” so to speak. Yet when you run out of legitimate arguments and decide to resort to dirty jokes, you’ve lost the battle. Even the war. The forum of ideas can be enlightening when everyone is respectful. Bullying, mockery, and namecalling do nothing to elevate any exchange.

I hope people think of me as kind. Even so, rank “humor” and many other instances of meanness I witnessed, particularly in the past few months, made me resolve that the year 2018 will see me be as kind as I can be to everyone. I am hoping to take empathy to the next level.

May you experience the lovingkindness of the Lord, as well as everyone you encounter, in 2018 and beyond.

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A Year in Review – A Look at 2017

I find it a healthy exercise to review the past as it can be encouraging to note progress and look at the foundation for the future. The Industry Our industry continues to create tremendous books but few new ones “break out.” It is hard to gain the attention of readers …

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Our Rapidly Changing Culture

Every year Beloit College creates a “Mindset List” which reflects the culture that the incoming Freshman class have grown up experiencing. It helps their faculty know how to relate to these incoming students. Click here for this year’s Mindset List.

I download this list every year and read it with increasing wonder at the speed of our cultural changes.

The college graduating class of 2014 was born in 1992. Think about that for a second. If you are a writer, you can no longer assume that your audience will understand your cultural references. In a mere six years, today’s 18-year-olds will be adults…possibly with families and jobs and children…they will be reading your books and articles.

And you will only be six years older than you are now.

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Retail is Dead! Or is it?

You’ve read the news. This calendar year bankruptcies or total closures were announced by Toys R Us, Gymboree, Bebe, American Apparel, Guess, Rue 21, The Limited, Gander Mountain, Vitamin World, and Family Christian Stores. Sears and Kmart announced last Friday that they were closing another 63 stores in January, on …

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“Response” Books

When considering a topic for your next book, I suggest you avoid a response to another message in the media, especially in another book. Publishers and readers love books which are fresh, containing original thinking, and are well written, creative, with an identifiable purpose, a strong message and usually not …

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Media Changes and The Writer

The other day, a copy of the new Yellow Pages and phone directory was delivered to our house.  As I picked it up off the front step, I was reminded it has been years since I even looked at one. The recycling container has it now. I suppose I will …

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The Best Selling Christian Books of all Time

I realize attempting to compile a list like this could ruffle some feathers from both publishing and literature purists, not to mention the theological issues raised in the process of determining a “Christian” book. But I thought I would take a stab at it anyway. The list of the best-selling …

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Confusing Industry News in Bookselling

Last week the Hastings, a chain of 126 retail stores, declared bankruptcy. Approximately half of their sales are from books (the other half are movies, music, games, etc). They claim “a decline in the market for physical media properties like music, movies, books, games and media rentals.” They had losses of $16 …

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Dear World, We Have What You Want

Dear World, Those of us involved in Christian publishing can’t help but notice you are hurting. While our work is to write and publish books, one or more times each week we gather to worship and pray to the Creator God, considering ways we can ease your pain. I hope …

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Reaching a New Generation of Readers

Last Friday I posted a fun song about Millennials. Earlier this year a number of articles told of a Pew Research report that declared there are more Millennials in America than Baby Boomers. There are now over 75 million people ages 18-34. Boomers (ages 51-69) are no longer the largest demographic. …

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