An open letter to indie authors.

img_9461As an indie author myself, there’s few things that make me cringe more than when other indie authors publish books rife with errors that would have been caught and fixed had the author employed a professional editor. This lack of concern for the professionalism of their book, the writing craft, and indie publishing, hurts the rest of us.

Every time a reader of traditionally published books boldly ventures into the indie market only to find themselves holding a book containing page after page of grammatical errors, structural issues, and plot holes, indie authors everywhere lose credibility. Those discerning readers oftentimes make a resolution right then and there to never waste their time—or their money—on another indie published book. I’ve even made that same resolution myself.

It’s because of this ripple effect that I plead with my fellow indie authors to stop chasing after the glory of how many books you put out (and how fast you put them out), and start focusing on the quality of those books. Your readers will appreciate it and the collective body of indie authors who take their craft seriously will thank you for it too.

The writing profession is a marathon, not a sprint. If you can’t afford a professional editor, then wait. Practice a little patience and save up your money until you can afford one.

You can also try raising the funds to pay for a professional editor.

I currently have a Kickstarter campaign for my book, The Island, in order to help pay for its professional editing and cover design. And I’ve resigned myself to the fact that if that campaign fails, then I’ll need to wait a little longer to publish The Island in order to save the money necessary to hire an editor. Publishing my book without professional editing is not an option.

We’re all in this together. What one indie author does in the publishing world—good or bad—ripples throughout the entire indie publishing community. A poorly edited book not only hurts your own sales, but it negatively effects sales for the rest of us.

Please publish responsibly.

Sincerely,

J.L. Pattison

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Ichabod and coffee. 

I admit it. I had to read the second half of Kimberli Lira’s article through tear-blurred eyes.

IMG_1574Kimberli (the woman who wrote the candidly heart-wrenching article “Why the church doesn’t need anymore coffee bars“) has successfully captured in one blog post what I had been lamenting for years. Through her husband Mel’s death, she has effectively exposed the problem with most American churches. 

It’s the rotting fruit that I warned against for years only to receive countless verbal lashings for it on Internet forums, on blogs, and in face to face conversations. I was regularly labeled “judgmental” and called a “Pharisee” for warning about the very thing that Kimberli is now enduring. And all of it came from professing Christians content with wading through life in their mile-wide, inch deep therapeutic social clubs that masquerade as churches.

I enlisted in the battle for the purity of the Gospel, and it was for those like Kimberli, her dying husband, and her grieving kids, that I fought.

IMG_1573And it was for these reasons I took an almost daily verbal beating from those endorsing the great downgrade of the church while they dined on its rotting fruit. In the end, there were too many of them and not enough of us. They seemed to have a neverending endurance, energized by the comfort, pleasure, and entertainment that was the source of their strength and numbers. So much so, that I eventually laid down my arms, fatigued from the endless battle.

Before you do anything else today, stop and read Kimberli’s story. I pray that it does for you, your church, and for American Christianity, what my years of defending and contending for the faith never could.

God bless you, young widow, in your time of loss, and God bless your children.

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.”

Ecclesiastes 7:2

Why the church doesn’t need anymore coffee bars by Kimberli Lira

More and more on my social media feeds I have been seeing a lot of churches boast of the cool, trendy new initiatives that they have begun. I have seen pictures of coffee bars that resemble Starbucks. I have seen lighting that resembles one seen on Broadway. I have read catchy sermon titles and have seen how people have brought the movies into their sermons.

To say he battled cancer is an understatement. He was hospitalized two weeks out of every month during the first year. He was hospitalized a total of 18 times. He was rushed to the emergency room 8 times. He spent hundreds of days separated from his two children. And eventually the chemo, designed to get rid of the cancer, caused him to be paralyzed. And for the last four months of his life he was paralyzed and confined to a bed.

My husband endured cycle after cycle of chemo. He was separated from his children many nights. He was hooked up to chemo for 24 hours at a time. He listened to the doctors tell him bad news after bad news. He was left paralyzed and unable to get out of bed. And he never said how much he appreciated the coffee bar at the church. Never once did he say he loved the lighting in the sanctuary. He never told me how cool it was that they put a couch on the platform. He didn’t boast of the graphics and props on the platform. He talked about Jesus. He quoted scriptures. He reminded me of sermons we had heard. And in the middle of the night he sang songs of praise and worship to God and he spent his time praying. Because nothing a church does to strategize to bring in members helps you in the time of the storm. It is only Jesus.

On February 13th I had to most difficult task of telling my children their dad was not going to make it and the next day at 7:24 the doctor’s declared him dead. And as I lay next to my children at night listening to my daughter sob uncontrollably because she misses her dad so much I am not thinking about how trendy my church is. I am thinking that my strength comes solely from God.

I don’t have my best friend with me anymore. And even though I take comfort in knowing he is in heaven I can’t talk to my husband. I can’t text him during the day. I can’t share with him my frustrations. I can’t hold his hand. I can’t hug him. I can’t kiss him. He is not here. And as I drive to church during the week, I am not thinking that I am so glad the leadership are reading “how to grow your church” books and adopting cool sermon series. I am thinking how desperate I need Jesus.

As I look at two young children who now have to grow up without their amazing dad by their side, I am not thinking of how it was so awesome that the minister related the message to a Hollywood film. I am thinking of how much I need Jesus.

Continue reading Kimberli’s story on her blog.

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Why I will never participate in NaNoWriMo.

Right now thousands of writers are preparing to begin the annual National Novel Writing Month project on November 1st.

The annual month-long writing event, better known as NaNoWriMo, challenges authors to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.  This contest is quite popular and has helped launch careers of some authors as they ended up publishing the novel they wrote during NaNoWriMo.

img_1056NaNoWriMo promotes discipline, dedication, and perseverance to the craft of writing as authors must maintain a daily word count of 1,667 words a day for 30 days in order to complete 50,000 words by December 1st.

Although the idea of the project is fantastic, its timing isn’t. And it has nothing to do with it being football season . . . although that argument can reasonably be made.

No, the reason I am opposed to NaNoWriMo is because of the distraction it creates during the most cherished and anticipated holiday of the year for my family and me.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of sharing, caring, gratefulness, and family bonding, and I look forward to it every year. The distraction of NaNoWriMo pulling me away from precious time with my family is not a compromise I am willing to make.

img_1055If you want to participate in National Novel Writing Month but, like me, you don’t want the most wonderful time of the year to pass you by while you’re staring at a computer screen, then I have a solution for you.

Enter JunoWrimo. No, it’s not a month set aside to write your novel in Alaska’s capital, Juneau, it’s National Novel Writing Month in June. And what better time to be spending in doors in air conditioning (and away from direct sunlight) than during the hot month of June?

So go ahead, write that novel in June and spend more of November sipping hot lattes by a fire, eating pie, playing in piles of leaves, and making memories with family and friends. You won’t regret it.