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Plight of Christian Authors
by Olabisi Obideyi
4/22/2013 / Writing
In the summer of 2004, I had a startling, life-changing Holy Spirit encounter. Following that encounter, I became a Holy Spirit-inspired writer. I had no previous experience of book publishing, therefore when I completed my first book I had no idea of how and with whom to publish my book.
My first book is a question and answer book with me asking God the questions on behalf of the entire human race and God the Maker providing all the answers. As far as I was concerned, this makes my book somehow unique and as such, I was confident it would be highly in demand, not just by Christians but also by non-Christians everywhere. I was certain that Christian publishers across the globe would be full of excitement toward publishing the book if not for anything else but to prove that that God still speaks today, and that He is willingly ready to answer any questions that we might have. With this thinking mindset, I began my journey into the world of book publishing in full confidence that my book would be on shelves everywhere in no time.
Since I had no knowledge or experience whatsoever about book publishing, the first place I searched to begin my publishing journey was on the Internet. It was not long after I began my search on the Internet that I realised that just as I thought I have a God-given book, so do thousands of others out there believe that God has given them a unique book to publish. I also quickly discovered that not only do we all think that we have something unique, we seem to be all looking for the same thing: Publishers. As I began delving deeper into the world of book publishing, I realised there are different kinds of publishers ranging from traditional publishers to Vanity Press type self-publishing companies. I was not at all clear at the beginning what the differences are between them. However, from all the information I could gather, I realised whilst self-publishing means putting money on the table, get a manuscript published into a book, traditional publishing does not seem to require any payment.
Paying to have my book published was the last thing on my mind. Besides, I had no funds available at that time to place into any type of self-publishing venture. I was totally unprepared for the amount of money some Vanity Press type publishers were asking me to invest in order to have my work published. Therefore, I concluded the best option for an aspiring-author like myself would be traditional publishing. Indeed I could not understand why there are so many Vanity Press type self-publishing publisher adverts all over the place when as far as I was concerned, all I would have to do is simply approach a traditional Christian book publisher who would be more than happy to publish my Holy Spirit inspired book at no cost!
Looking to find a traditional publisher willing to publish my book was like diving into the sea in an attempt to find one pearl. Indeed I soon realised the moment I started searching that it would be easier for me to dive into the sea and find that one pearl than ever finding a traditional publisher that would be interested in publishing my book. The first thing I noticed was I could not even approach most traditional publishers by myself because they only accept manuscripts from literary agents. When I tried looking for literary agents, I discovered that most literary agents already have all the clients they need and are not looking for someone like myself with no fame, no brand name, no nothing for them to go on.
Following several intense hours and days of surfing the Internet, I eventually came across some Christian publishers who stated on their websites that they are prepared to accept unsolicited materials. I copied their addresses and posted my manuscripts to them hoping that they would all agree to publish my unique book once they read my manuscript.
However, to my surprise just in matter of days after postage they started returning my manuscript back to me, an obvious indication that they did not even bother to read it. As the rejection letters flowed in, it soon dawned on me that I am not the only one soliciting the publishers.
My guess is that most first-time Christian writers probably dabble into the publishing world with the same kind of naive mind that I had. If I have guessed right, then only God knows how many manuscripts the traditional publishers must be getting in a week from the many hopefuls. One after the other, the publishing companies all returned my manuscript with rejection cover letters giving all sorts of excuses as to why they were not able to publish it. It felt at this stage as if I was sinking because what I had expected is the opposite of what I began to discover as the true state of affairs in the Christian book-publishing world.
The truth is, whether or not you are a Christian or secular author, I have come to realise that as far as book publishing is concerned, the same business rules apply to all authors. The publishing world of Christian books is largely a money-oriented business and just like any world business, it is all first and foremost about the moneymaking. When it comes to moneymaking, I found that it makes no difference whether you have gotten your inspiration from God or from the devil. The real question is: Are you a sellable product? I said, Are you a sellable product because what I have come to realise is that in the publishing business, like in any business involving the selling of talents, the product is not the talent itself but the talented person. If the talented person has moneymaking potentials, then everyone will be interested and if not, then no one cares whether or not you have a Word from God.
God is a God of talents and we have ample examples in the Bible of people who received their promotions through their talents. Joseph, being an obvious example. Today the Church is full of people who are highly frustrated in their attempts to market their talents for income generation for Kingdom-advancement purposes. The extreme economical pressures faced by many Christians in the world today have made the Christian population to be more and more a competitive selfish-group and not a selfless, complementary one. With emphasis and focus now much more on moneymaking and money grabbing, the end-time church world is much more into world business and not the Father's business.
The work of God, just like any work requires good monetary funding and God gave us our talents to use for wealth creation for the advancement of His Kingdom work. The people of God are not meant to be beggars in the world. Through the proper utilisation of talents that are within the Body of Christ, God intended the Body of Christ as whole to have the surplus that we need to do His work. The Church as a united corporate body is meant to be the first point of contact for our talent marketing and promotions. However, with so much in fighting, competition and divisions within the so-called Body of Christ, many truly talented persons are continually lacking in the necessary opportunities required to effectively utilise and market their talents. The talents of many Christians are well hidden behind the outward trappings of the world, never to be seen, cancelling out any potential to bring in a harvest for God's Kingdom.
Several talented Christians that are meant to be sponsoring Kingdom projects through effective utilisation of their talents remain as beggars experiencing financial frustrations, disappointments and discouragements. When it comes to God's work, everyone, most especially some so-called Christians expect the struggling talented individuals to give their products away free of charge, never once considering that the profit from their talents would better position these gifted hard-working believers to further God's Kingdom work.
These same critiques are the first to crucify the struggling talented persons for selling their wares for a fee. Yet they themselves will not think twice when it comes to giving their money away to already wealthy famous faces and buying all sorts of self-gratifying worldly-paraphernalia. It is shocking how ruthless, thoughtless and uncaring some professing Christians can be. No wonder it looks as if the world is getting richer day-by-day and the majority of Christians are looking poorer and poorer.
Many Christians today are still waiting for manna to fall from heaven when all they need to do is to tap into their unique gifts and use them for God's glory. Several who manage to discover their talents end up using them for worldly-aims because of what 'benefits' the world has to offer. Most talented Christians ends up utilising their talent for the world simply because those intended to promote talented people in the Church for the sake of glorification of the Body of Christ, are the same people who compress and undermine talented Christians further into economic darkness to rot.
The best selling book of all time the Bible, is a book written by a number of Christian authors through inspiration from God. The apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament would have faced lots of rejection from traditional Christian publishers in today's world. Moses would not have had his books published particularly given the world's strong objection to God's law and righteousness in today's world.
Writing is a very important legacy talent and it is an effective way of taking the gospel from the Church's four walls out to the hearts of individuals for them to digest in their private corners. God gave the saints their writing talents to help spread the gospel from generation to generation. Today, anyone can write anything and be called a 'Christian' author. As long as they have the right literary agent and publisher they will sell millions of books all for the world's benefit and gain.
The fact is, whilst I understand the plight of a traditional Christian publisher must be a tough one, we must not allow marketability to take priority over the main objective which is the promotion of God's Word and not just anything that can sell. If we begin to do God's work in mind of world business, then it will no longer be for God's sake but for worldly gain.
I eventually managed to get my manuscript published, although I spent a great deal of money to do so, and the final product was a huge disappointment. I was only able to barely manage the exorbitant publishing package. My book was published with nothing more than by creating a PDF document from my Word document, without proper professional proofreading, editing or formatting essentials. This meant the book had no chance right from the start of getting anywhere. Even though the message it carries is extremely powerful, people only seem to be interested in pointing out everything wrong with it.
I was highly discouraged by the criticisms no surprise, considering the stress and money I spent to have my book published. Considering the standard of professional quality fell short of the required standards, it goes without saying that book promotion would clearly turn out to be another wasted venture. Besides, I discovered, once I finally published the book that it was even easier to publish than to promote Christian books. There are adverts on the Internet for book promoters for a fee but most are not Christian based and finding a reputable one with so many scammers on the Internet is indeed another problem in itself.
The world expects people to use their talents to contribute into the world economy, and as Christians, we cannot expect the world to help promote our God-given talents for God's glory. Most websites on the Internet that have high traffic are secular and once they see the words 'God' or 'Christ', they want nothing to do with you. The secular world does not want to know anything pertaining to God or Christianity, so as not to offend others who are not godly and are not Christians.
Meanwhile, the majority of Christians are not much different in their lack of willingness to help promote the Holy Spirit empowered work of other believers. In the Christian world there is such terrible competition within the church walls that very few avowed believers are prepared to help anyone. If you have talents and people cannot see your marketability potentials then you are on your own. Only if you manage to breakthrough all the world barriers are you a true saint and only then will everyone be willingly ready both Christians and non-Christians alike, to say 'yes' to you.
I thank God for His ways because if it were up to mankind, I would not even have a Bible today. Sadly, due to the inappropriate sense of self-importance, elitism, and misplaced values spiritually void moneymaking sensationalism is at the top of self-serving promotional lists, leaving the Lord's commandment to 'go and make disciples of all nations' last on far too many lists.
If people are making money from Biblical materials in today's world, then the writers that God used to write the Bible must be entitled to an everlasting royalty from Him, especially given that most of them ended up being killed in their time despite the fact that what they had to offer is in fact power of salvation to the souls. As far as I am concerned, the possibility of receiving God's eternal royalty makes all of my sacrifice as a Christian worthwhile. My word to you if you are an aspiring Holy Spirit-inspired author, focus on God's purpose for giving you talent which is the salvation of souls by sharing the gospel through your writing. If your focus is on your godly purpose, I guarantee you will overcome every barrier that is in the way of you using your talent to reach out to other souls through your writing talents, and it will all be for God's glory.
To be a Christian writer is to understand that all aspects of your work is for the glory of God and not for worldly gain. God spoke His Word of grace to make all things work together for your goodness before the foundation of the world. With grace on your side, know for sure that everything that seems like a barrier in the way of your progress today is simply working out a glorious testimony for you in your tomorrow. Every godly inspired work is godly ordained and every ordination of God is to enable the unable. Whatever your barriers might be, be rest assured that the God Who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly much more than we can ever comprehend, will make a way for you in all things where it seems there is no way. He made a way for you to have His Word of Genesis unto Moses and Revelation unto John to place you in perfect revelation of His divine love for you.
The same God Who provided a way to place you in eternal benefit of His Word out of His grace for you, will always make a way for you to see that in all things you are already more than a conqueror. If God has anointed your soul to enable what seems impossible, know that God will always be on your side. He will never leave you or forsake you. If God is for you, then nothing can be against you. In Christ, nothing can ever prevent you from realizing and enjoying the heavenly advantages that He paved the way for you to have through the shedding of his precious blood, for the remission of your sins.
God indeed uses all our experiences to establish a perfect ministry for us for His Kingdom glory. God used all the disappointments and frustrations I experienced from my publishing saga to inspire me to start a Kingdom-oriented book publishing company. From everything I learnt the emphasis of Divine Grace is to present God's work in the highest professional way for His Kingdom's glory.
To ensure that first time authors have a godly-glorifying book we offer an affordable all-inclusive package which entails everything authors need to turn their manuscripts into outstanding books including proofreading, editing and proper formatting. God has also made it possible for us to connect with a Christian book-promotion company dedicated to achieving results that are Kingdom-centred. The services we offer are unbeatable with a team of true Christians working together for Kingdom-advancement's sake. Authors are guaranteed publishing results second to none and our additional promotional services all, at a very affordable rate makes us a highly unique Kingdom-establishment.
To God be the glory, I have since republished the book for which I previously paid outrageous fees to self-publish and what I have so far in the market include: Hell on Earth which is about an open vision heaven and hell experience I had in 2004; From Captivity to Freedom Housea book about my initial experience of Christ's deliverance powers; Holy Spirit led Prayers which is a book of life-changing prayers and Psalmist Meditations.
Although Divine Grace as a company is newly started, I have already published a number of books for other authors. We are very hopeful and optimistic that the Lord will order the footsteps of many more authors to come to Divine Grace for us to help birth His Word in them for the transformation of many lives. I bless God every day for turning my publishing tests and trials into a wonderful success testimony. No matter what you are going through right now, I pray this testimony will uplift you and encourage you to keep marching forward for the Kingdom glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My Prayer for You
I pray that God will continue to pour His Word of anointing upon your soul and that in daily appreciation of His love that you will always remain in good courage and continue to encourage others. I pray His 'living water' will continue to flow as rivers of life out of your heart and manifest from within you to openly bless people from generation to generation all unto His glory. I also pray that His entire Word of Life which is our Lord Jesus, Who came from the genesis of life to place you on exodus match from the genesis of your sins, into the revelation of His eternal life blessings will never depart from your soul. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Following a Holy Spirit encounter in 2004, Pastor Olabisi became founder and senior pastor of Freedom House International Ministries She is also CEO of Divine Grace Enterprises Limited, a Christian publishing company (www.divinegraceenterprises.com) (www.encouragedbygod.com)
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