For those who have been following my publishing journey, you may have been wondering when, if ever, my book was actually going to get published. I got an agent back in Fall 2015 and I thought it’d be a pretty quick process from there. Little did I know what the future held…
After interviewing a lot of authors on my podcast who have struggled with the ups and downs of the publishing industry, I now have firsthand knowledge. The #1 reason I am indie-publishing (besides the fact that it has taken forever to try to get a big publisher) is because of the damage the process has done to my soul. The way Christian publishing works nowadays is you need a “platform” in order to get published. For some authors, their platform exists in the books they published before the “platform” / social media era took over. For others, being the head of a large organization or pastoring a megachurch is the platform. For someone trying to get his first book published and who does not pastor a megachurch, my platform lies in how many people read my blog, my podcast listens, follow me on Twitter, etc. In essence, my statistics prove if I am worthwhile to a publisher or not.
I explain this as objectively as I can, recognizing the cynicism that has grown in me from this process. I by no means think what I have written is the best thing in the world, but I’d be lying if I didn’t think it was worth publishing. I’d also be lying if I didn’t observe that the publishing industry is not a good system for the Kingdom of God at large. Working at a large church, something I choose not to do on purpose, should not be the indicator of what gets published (and what shapes the theology and thought of the Church at large). Some pastors of large churches are great authors, many are not. It’s too random of a connection to make sense, but more importantly, it creates an unhealthy environment for those seeking publishing.
The overwhelming spirit I feel in the air when I’ve attended writing conferences (these are attended by authors and aspiring authors) is insecurity. Most of the conversation is not on improving your craft, or on theology or content, but on platform. Or in other words: popularity and proving yourself. How can you sell yourself to as many people as possible so they might buy your book? If you do this, a publisher will pick you up, and then boom: validation.
This is not good for our souls, friends. In fact, I’d say it’s about as opposite to Jesus and the gospel as we can get as Christian leaders. Jesus says we are validated in what he did on the cross and in our position as his children, not in some external power like a publisher or fan base. Jesus tells us to pick up our crosses (the ultimate Roman degradation in Jesus’s day) and follow him and the publishing industry tells us to be as cool as possible and get as many people to follow us as possible. Jesus tells us to wash feet, the job of the lowest slave, and the publishing industry tells us how if we can only get more clicks, we can lead the Church with our writing.
The true self is who we are in Jesus. The false self is that fake shiny thing we put out there. The thing we want people to adore and yes, worship. There’s only so long you can live into that false platform-self before it caves in on itself.
I decided I didn’t want to chase big publishers anymore after getting the run around, only the find the inevitable conclusion time and time again: not a big enough platform. Ultimately I decided I didn’t want to put all of my soul’s effort into inflating my personal platform anymore, but instead to simply rest in who I am in Jesus. To let Jesus tell me who I am, instead of a publisher.
And for the record, there are a lot of great individuals in the Christian publishing world, it’s just not a healthy system, which I imagine many in the industry would likely agree with.
I used to think indie-publishing was embarrassing. Thank God he has humbled me to show me the freedom it actually carries with it. I actually feel quite slimy for all the ways I’ve tried to “build my platform” these past two years. I’m so glad I am done with that and I sincerely apologize to anyone I harmed in that process or who I gave the wrong representation of Jesus to.
I’m excited to say my book, Beyond the Battle: A man’s guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world will be available in Fall 2017. I’ll do a local book launch at a book store (TBA), will have hard copies with me at speaking engagements, and it will be available Amazon. I’ll also have bulk orders you can order from my blog at a big discount for your church or small group. I have 6 weeks of small group intro videos that you can view here, which accompany small group questions embedded into the book. After Beyond the Battle, I will be releasing a parallel book for women entitled More than a Princess: A woman’s guide to her identity in Christ in an oversexualized world. Churches will then be able to line up 6-week small groups for their men and women, with accompanying all-church sermon videos and small group videos for each gendered group. Stay tuned!
To stay up to date on when the book (and the next book for women) will be available and when Lansing and Grand Rapids book launches will be, sign up for my author newsletter below:
And lastly, thank you to so many who have prayed for me and encouraged me through the past two years, it has really meant a lot.