Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Talking the Talk by Andy Scheer

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.


DenaNetherton said...

I agree. I've seen churches make the mistake of hiring new converts who seem zealous for God's Kingdom but who lack the history as a believer needed to solidify their faith, to grow, experience, fail, repent, get back up, and be humbled.I'm sure the same could be said for new writers.

Rick Barry said...

Agreed. When I hear of teen celebrities contemplating writing an autobiography, my conclusion is similar. Live first, write later, when you'll have more to say.

Jennifer Major said...

Compression implies great force. Great force implies unbearable pressure. Pressure is shot out the weakest point. Boom. There goes whatever good was built up by patience and hard work.
Sound familiar?
I'm reminded of a woman who had a TV show with her husband and their 8 kids. That didn't end well. Nor did her books sell well in Christian bookstores after their very public break-up. Fine wine, famous paintings and good writing all do well with lots of time.