Back when I was a magazine editor screening queries for articles, it was fairly easy to see if writers had the qualifications to tackle their topic.
These days, screening book proposals in an era when platform is paramount, it's still obvious when a wanna-be author is trying too hard, too fast.
This morning I got a request to connect via the professional networking site LinkedIn with an individual self-described as: “Author / Evangelist / Speaker / Humble Servant.”
That last reference prompted me to check the person's profile.
I saw this humble servant was a “Newly Published Author at Big Name Christian Publishers - Gotcha Press Subsidiary (names changed). The qualifications to be “published” by Gotcha? A manuscript and a bank account.
The individual had come to faith in Christ less than two years ago—in 2011. And the book, “A wake up call for Today's church,” was released in 2012.
Back at Moody magazine, we never accepted salvation testimonies by new converts. Yes, they had enthusiasm. But aren't those who teach others held to a stricter accounting? Aren't leaders in the church supposed to display a mature, proven faith?
Having worked in Christian publishing for decades, it's easy for me to talk about the need for writers to pay their dues. But I've seen the progress of many now-successful book authors whose work I first encountered when they weren't quite ready to write for a national magazine.
It's great to get a book published. But compressing the path from salvation to publication to less than two years might not be the mark of a humble servant.