The last few weeks have been really busy for me; both in ministry and at home. In the midst of that I received a contract offer from a publisher. I had submitted that book a few years back.
This publisher had approached me just over a year ago. They were interested in it, but wanted me to pay for the publicist. That just wasn’t going to work for me financially.
A few weeks ago they made me a new offer in which they would cover the cost of the publicist. In the meantime another company looked at it. They liked it, overall, but believed it needed some major editing in places. I had asked someone to read the book and make some suggestions to help me identify those places that I needed to re-write to fix the problems.
Making a decision was not easy. I thought my process might be helpful for other people as they seek to make decisions.
Essentially, I used a triperspectival method as John Frame explains it in a number of his books. The 3 perspectives are the normative (what does the Bible say), the existential (who am I in this decision) and the situational (what are my circumstances in this decision).
Normative. The Scriptures note that of the writing of books there is no end. I think my book provides a different approach to the subject at hand. It could be a helpful addition to the many very good books on the subject matter.
The Scriptures neither prohibit nor require me to write a book, much less publish one. I do have a responsibility to provide for my family. This may help me do this, particularly if the funds are put into our rather meager retirement fund. If even remotely success, if could be an auxilary career that I could continue into retirement.
Existential. Why do I want to publish a book? Is it a matter of pride or greed? Am I seeking to be productive and make use of the gifts that God has given me? These are difficult questions to sort out. I’m still not sure I have the answers. There did not seem to be anything that would prohibit me from pursuing this.
Situational. This ended up being the most significant perspective to me as I thought thru things. The amount of work that this would require to get the book properly edited was more than I could envision doing in the next 2-3 weeks.
The time frame was important to them. They wanted it as part of their Christmas releases. Time was critical. It isn’t just the editing, but there is the time for book signings, interviews and other events necessary to promote the book.
Did I have that time? Right now at work I am dealing with the additional work that growth creates. I’m currently teaching a membership class on Saturday mornings. When that is done I’ll be teaching an Officer Training course on Saturdays. My teaching schedule this Fall is heavier than usual. Additionally we have begun discussions about how to expand our facilities in the near and long term. Soon I may be dealing with expansion issues.
This is a strange Fall for my family. One of my daughters recently had minor surgery. This week my wife will have surgery. Hers will have a longer recuperation time and require more time from the office and at home parenting and caring for her.
In light of these circumstances, it really didn’t make sense for me to sign the contract and take on additional but unnecessary responsibilities. It has been a dream for decades to publish a book. These seemed like a dream come true. In light of all these circumstances it would be more like a nightmare come true. I haven’t even read Crazy Busy yet, but I didn’t want to make myself even crazier busy.
Maybe I made a big mistake. I don’t think so. I think I put my necessary responsibilities for both family and church before my (selfish?) ambition. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up. I will continue to edit the book, on a more reasonable pace. I hope to fix the problems with the manuscript so that when I do get another offer the product will be much better, and more likely to build a positive reputation.