Archive for July, 2010

30th July
2010
written by Alden

First, the other day I signed up for a new site for writers and other creative types called Scribd; check out my page.

Also, Westbow tells me that the whole cover design (including back, spine and dust-jacket flaps) is complete, and now is being reviewed by their Quality Assurance folks.  When they get the interior and cover both done – perhaps in the next week or so, they’ll send me pdf’s to review.

I won’t have a hard copy in time for my trip to San Diego in August, but I should be able to have some pre-release flyers printed up to distribute.  I’ll try to hit a few bookstores when I’m there.

Soon, The Gospel will be Uncensored wherever great books are sold.  ;-)

16th July
2010
written by Alden

Yesterday I received an e-mail and a phone call from the Design Consultant who will be in charge of the book design, and I have her personal e-mail address, not just a generic customer service address. She will be my contact throughout this process, and has advised that as she actually is working, she may not be able to return calls/e-mails the same day. Nice.

I e-mailed Erin this morning with a question, and got a response within minutes, with enough information to let me know that I can trust her design team. Nicer.

I’m once again becoming impressed.

14th July
2010
written by Alden

(Cross-posted at aldenswan.com.)

A great post today from Molly Friesen at Route 5:9, Forgiveness is an Investment: What it Costs. She’s blogging through Paul Tripp’s book on marriage, What Did You Expect. This, and Linda’s prior post,  The Dark “Benefits” of Unforgiveness, are worth reading. I’m guessing Tripp’s book is, too.

It’s interesting that so many legalists forget about the rule of forgiveness, which is a key element in Jesus’ teaching. He even went so far as to say that if we don’t forgive, our Heavenly Father won’t forgive us, either.  Seriously – it’s at the end of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:

12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Now, you can try to take the position that this “is more of a guideline than a rule,” but Jesus doesn’t seem to give much leeway here.

So how does this fit into a theology of radical grace?

It fits quite well, actually, with a proper understanding of forgiveness.  As many of us were taught in Sunday School, Jesus dies for the sins of the world.

1 John 2:2: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  (NIV)

Jesus’ sacrifice was not made for us individually; forgiveness was truly once and for all.  If we refuse to acknowledge and participate in this forgiveness for someone who has wronged us, we are simply refusing to participate in God’s forgiveness. Being forgiven means we agree that everyone is forgiven. Refusing to forgive someone means we are closing our heart, not that God is withholding anything from us.

Now, do we forgive perfectly?  I seriously doubt it. I don’t think I do, even if it is my intent. But, God’s grace–God’s power made real in our lives–is sufficient for that, too.

We have been set free, not to sin, but so we can live–and forgive–freely.

14th July
2010
written by Alden

This past Sunday, a friend of mine was in a car accident on her way to church. During the coffee/fellowship break (the contemporary version of  “passing the peace”), the pastor announced it to the church, mentioning that it was the 2nd time my friend has been hit on her way to church. He asked, “Have you been tithing?”  The church broke into laughter.

Now, I’ve been to churches where this question would have been asked seriously; or at the last, it would never have been the subject of a joke.  The fact that the church treats the “tithe superstition” as a joke is a great sign that you’re in a grace-filled church.

Ain’t freedom grand?

13th July
2010
written by Alden

I called Westbow’s customer service dept. today to follow up on my missing manuscript and follow up, and I got the impression that I woke up the customer service rep.  It turns out that the person I had been dealing with before, who had confirmed receipt of the manuscript, had left Westbow. I got the impression that it had not been her choice.

I was also told that I was supposed to have sent the manuscript to a different department, however I was never given any such instructions.  Again, they are not getting passing grades in communication.

However, I resent the manuscript and have confirmed that they now have it, and the cover. The design team will now put the book together, which should take about 10-15 days.  I’ll be getting a pdf proof of the entire jacket cover once that is complete.   I have read that at least some authors are quite impressed with Westbow’s services and quality.  I’m still keeping an open mind and am willing to be impressed.

So, the book still may be out this summer, which by definition ends on Sept 22 or 23.  It will probably not be available for my trip to SD in August, but that’s okay – patience is a virtue.

12th July
2010
written by Alden

The good news is that Westbow has reviewed and approved the cover design.  The bad news is that it appears there are coordination issues within Westbow, as the person I heard from today said they were still waiting for my final manuscript.  I e-mailed back indicating that I had sent in on 5-27, and had received confirmation that it was received.  Due to the 3-hr time difference, I will not get a response until some time tomorrow.

Thoughts about Westbow

I had been very impressed with Westbow’s front-end. Their marketing department is very professional and enthusiastic.  I had great follow-up in the initial stages, but always by people who also wanted to sell me on additional services.  I regret to say that their support staff is not quite so responsive as their sales staff.

While they have put a lot of thought and money into the marketing portion of their site, their author support section is quite deficient.  They have an online form to provide all of the pertinent information about the book, however once the information is there, you can’t make changes. Instead, you have to e-mail a pdf copy of the form.  It works, but it would be more helpful to fix their site so you can update the info.

Furthermore, some of the information they provide is sketchy, and sometimes incorrect. For example, in one e-mail they indicated they subscribed to an online image bank for authors to choose photos for their covers. However, the link they provided didn’t work.   They do have such a service, but I had to press them for that information.  We ended up shooting our own cover photo anyway (and I’m really pleased with the result).

Part of the package I purchased involved an editorial review and sample edit.  I passed along the editorial review to a friend who teaches English at a major university, and his response was, “The overall editing comments are pretty much inert, what I would write on a student paper I didn’t have time to look at closely.”  I did find the sample edit helpful, although I decided to hire my own editor.

Westbow still has time to impress me, and I’m giving the chance to do that. I fully expected Thomas Nelson to put the same effort into customer service that they did into marketing.  So far, the process seems like it’s still in the beta stage.  What is needed most of all is more information; as a first-time author, I pretty much had to find my own way.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the book is progressing.  I really can’t wait to see the proof copy; I hope I’m impressed.