I’ve Been A.W.O.L.!
Hi, folks! Sorry, I’ve been somewhat A.W.O.L. for a while. But now the project I’ve been buried in is done, and I can focus on the blog.
Kathy responded to my recent request for questions with, “Where do you think Christian writers are making their biggest impact these days?” She’s wondering if she should break into books or stick with magazine articles. Thanks, Kathy—don’t suppose you could have come up with an easier question?
As for impact, I would guess that some of the biggest is occurring in blogs. But so often, those who have a blog also have a book (or books) behind it all. There’s quite a lot of buzz going on right now about the emergence of what might be called “e-booklets”—short, punchy, low-cost e-books, maybe 20 or so pages in length. Many of them, however, are designed to whet your appetite for a book-length product the author has also written. And many writers are increasing their visibility by doing more public speaking. But guess what’s at the back of the room after the message is over? A booktable, of course. Are you beginning to see the pattern?
I’m crazy about books, so maybe I’m biased. But I’m convinced that if you want to make any kind of long-term impact, write a book.
I warn you, however: writing a book is not merely stringing together a bunch of vaguely related articles. A book has to be built on a big idea—something that deserves tens of thousands of words to discuss. It has to be a theme that is threaded through every chapter, every section, every paragraph.
And if that’s not for you, Kathy, that’s OK! The world and the church needs good Christian article writers. But I suspect that there’s some topic you want to write about that is big; you have a lot to say, and a mere article won’t cut it. Maybe you should write a book—go for it!
But don’t waste a lot of time worrying about whether the topic is hot right now, because that’s another thing about a book topic: it isn’t likely to succeed if it follows the crowd, but only if it blazes its own trail and creates its own following. Your book will have to wrestle for its own space in a crowded market, and if it’s a good idea and well-written, it will.