THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 10 FIRST DRAFT
The phone call I received after I taught my last class and left the church early revealed things I did not know.
“I know why you walked out of the church,” said the wife of one of the deacons. You are not alone. A lot of people are having problems with the pastor.” She told me about the confrontation she had with him, and the names of people who had already left the church. The deacons were meeting secretly to pray for the church hemorrhaging members. She pleaded with me to return. I returned because my husband was not ready to leave the church. He worked with the children during the main service, and never saw the pastor’s childish temper tantrums.
It was a mistake to walk out of the church. Rev. Meyers had remained in her church until God resolved the problem between her and her pastor. Instead of taking the problem to God, I tried to solve it. Initially, I considered leading a rebellion. At the time I was writing Surviving the Wilderness. Fortunately, God spared me from making that error by showing me why he dealt more harshly with Miriam than Aaron when they led a rebellion against Moses.
Without any prospects of teaching again, I fell into a severe depression. I was debating making an appointment with a psychologist when I remembered how often a student told me I should be published. A project would distract me from my misery, and be cheaper than a psychologist, so I googled “how to write a manuscript” and rewrote the Steps of Faith series into a manuscript format.
Before I took another step down the road to publishing, I wanted to know the truth. I contacted a professional editor for an evaluation of my writing. His credentials looked impressive: Teaching Fellow, John Hopkins University, Master of Arts in writing. I requested evaluations he had prepared for other writers and read two Christian books he had written. The evaluations offered constructive criticism to help the author improve their manuscripts, and I loved his writing style in the books he wrote. Satisfied he was a talented writer who could give me an honest opinion I paid him for an evaluation of my manuscript.
I expected five to ten pages explaining how I could improve my writing. The first paragraph of the evaluation read as follows: “Teena, I find Steps of Faith a dynamic, refreshing and incisive “grand teaching tour” of the nature and meaning of faith. Your choice to “unpack” the subject as modeled by the “father of the faithful,” Abraham is an anointed one indeed, especially because it allows your reader full understanding of how true faith and true foibles can coexist in us all-too-humans, and how grace alone enables us to walk as overcomers despite those flaws, sins, and weaknesses to which “the flesh” is heir. Because you achieve these things so well, you offer, without compromise and without self-righteousness, hope for the journey and plenty of “equipment” with which believers can themselves follow in Abraham’s steps. For undertaking the monumental task of pursuing these lessons, first as “live” teachings, then in book form, I thank you personally, for I’ve received from your work many valuable insights that will help me in my own walk with the Lord.”
The praise continued for six pages and concluded, “Fine as is its content, your manuscript needs sorely some line-by-line editing, to clear up things like typos, punctuation errors, some grammar glitches here and there…That’s something we can talk about…”
I reasoned that my first effort at producing a manuscript could not have been that good and found his evaluation of my work suspicious. Flattery, I thought, so he could get more money from me to fix the grammar. But his other evaluations I read before hiring him were not wall to wall praise like mine. He offered to do the work for .5 cents per word. I compared his offer with the rates of other professional editors and found an average of 1.5 cents per word. Even at the rock bottom price the cost came to several thousand dollars. A sum I could not afford. I thanked him for the generous offer and declined. He told me if I ever changed my mind the offer stands.
I put the manuscript in a box and set it on the top shelf of my closet to collect dust. I thought I’d reached the end of the publishing road, but I was wrong.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Link to the page did not work for me
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