Acquisitions Director: God

This subject has been covered before by smarter people at our agency, but I am hoping that Steve Laube considers imitation truly the greatest form of flattery!

Every aspiring or experienced Christian author is alerted to avoid mentioning that “God told me to write this book” when speaking to an agent or publisher.  Why is that?

Reason #1: Working within the Christian publishing world there should be an assumption that authors are motivated by God, that agents seek wisdom from God in deciding who to represent and that publishers are seeking God’s guidance in the process of deciding what to publish.

Reason #2: Invoking God’s guidance when talking to an agent or publisher could be viewed as an attempt to manipulate whether you intended to or not.  I am very sorry to say that over the years some authors have done that intentionally and frankly, it poisons the well for the genuine good-hearted author.

Years ago, in a meeting with a group, an author asked if they could pray for the discussion we were just about to have. Of course, we agreed. The prayer was a good start, until the author asked God to make the rest of us in the meeting see things the way they wanted…because, of course, the author was on a mission from God and the rest of us evidently were not.

Reason #3: Should your book be published, a God-led editor will be asked to join you in a journey to make your book the best it can be. Was your motivation to invoke “God gave this to me” an attempt to avoid being edited?  You need to check your real motivation.

Reason #4: Using “God gave me” language elevates you (intentionally or unintentionally) to a position of authority or importance over a group of people who will be spending a lot of money to publish your book. Rather than trusting their experience and wisdom, you are appearing to elevate yourself above them.  At a time when teamwork and collaboration is important, you have just broken that down by declaring your opinion more valid.

Sorry for the tough words on all this.  My intention is not to offend anyone. This entire issue is about heart-level issues, which are truly between each of us and our God who gives us the strength and wisdom to do anything.

By simply assuming that people working in every aspect of Christian publishing are on the same page spiritually, it can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and questionable motives…whether real or perceived.

To end on an uplifting note, here is an example how all this really comes together.

Many years ago, working with an elderly pastor on a project, I received a phone call from him in the morning telling me that he had a dream the night before and God spoke to him, giving him some new things to say.  I asked him to send us this “new material” given him because we were concerned about “creating Scripture”.  After receiving the material, our team reviewed it and smiled.

This dear man of God, who had studied God’s word for decades, had dreamt Scripture. All the hours immersing himself in the Bible came pouring forth in a dream as if God was speaking to him personally…which he was.

The words given him were from the Psalms and God spoke to him in soaring words to encourage an elderly servant.  It was God’s gift to him that night.

Rather than doubt whether someone hears from God, I’d rather assume that God is always speaking to each of us who love him.

Leave a Comment

What is on Your Summer Reading List?

Since we are in the midst of Summer and I’m on a brief vacation I thought I’d ask you to tell us what books you are reading or planning to read this Summer. I’ll start… My list is intentionally eclectic because that is the way I graze with my reading: …

Read More

Enclave Publishing News

A couple major happenings over on the publishing side of my world. Enclave publishing has two events that happened this past week. First is the launch of a Kickstarter campaign as a means to have fans of Science Fiction & Fantasy have pre-publication access to the new titles at a …

Read More

Fun Fridays – July 18, 2014

Amazing what they can train some animals to do! You know this is real because it is on the Internet. Right? Bonus Fun Friday for you avid viewers… Why we are glad World Cup Fever is over:

Read More

When Your Agent Appointment Flops

In keeping with my conference posts, I want to talk a little today about agent appointments. I’ll use agents as the example for brevity but this post can also apply to editor appointments. That is, what if the agent or editor doesn’t like your work? Don’t despair. Seriously. Here’s why: …

Read More

Test Your Genre Skills!

Today feels like a writing day, so let’s try an exercise together. Write a scene, up to 150 words (no more!), about making a sandwich, but do so in a way that makes the genre clear. I’ll go first. Guess the genre: Almond butter. She hugged herself. Oh, he loved …

Read More

Publishing in the Rear View Mirror

Every author, either self or traditionally published would like to write a book that sells today, but also tomorrow, next week and next year. Book publishing in all of it’s forms is the art of trying to predict what readers will want to buy in the future. I use the …

Read More

Gone or Dawn? The Golden Age of Publishing

Recently Philip Yancey, a revered and bestselling author, wrote an article mourning the decline of the golden age of Christian Publishing. His words got me thinking… Are the Golden Days Gone? I have heard a lot of negative statements about the book industry, and the Christian publishing industry in particular, these …

Read More

Making Friends at a Writers Conference

Conference time is exciting for everyone, especially those who are looking forward to meeting people they’ve only met over the Internet and reconnecting with old friends. For certain, strengthening relationships is one of the best benefits of any conference. But what about the person who’s new, who hasn’t had a …

Read More