Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sometimes, Grace = Laugh Out Loud

So, a funny thing happened on the way to becoming an author...

Most of it fits somewhere between a head-scratching "huh?", and a laugh-out-loud "you have got to be kidding me". Whether you write as a humorist or not, a sense of humor is absolutely essential if you're a writer.

Now, please don't get me wrong: I've had tons of fun, I really enjoy the hard work, and I've experienced many positive things during the saga of two editions of Post-Charismatic.

But as always, it's the puzzling, unexpected, ranging-from-slightly-to-deeply bent things in the wacky and wonderful world of books that catch your attention. And you discover that you need to include "humor" and "laughter" as practical out-workings of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

For example:

Post-Charismatic? (1st Edition: 2008)
  1. The shortest review (three lines), which was both very positive and included this priceless observation: "McAlpine has done a [expletive deleted]-load of research".
  2. The suspicious & indignant reviewer who waxed darkly eloquent about my "obvious Vineyard agenda". (funny!)
  3. Not-so-funny: the website that sells an illegal PDF version for $25 a pop (ie. a grossly inflated price and no royalties paid to the author).
  4. Some websites wrote glowing reviews (thanks! you're making me blush!), and then proceeded to endorse the very teachings & practices that I wrote against (really? did you even read the book?!?).
In one case, a website included a decent overview of the issues that I was writing about (Latter Rain, Word of Faith, and the Shepherding Movement), yet attempted to sell the New Apostolic Reformation as The Antidote (face-palm).

I emailed them several times to protest that what I wrote was completely opposed to the NAR (so please stop insinuating that I approve of it). They were kind enough to respond (once).
The only change they ultimately made, however, was to periodically update my bio photo on their website to match whatever my blog had at the time. (double face-palm...)
See? You gotta have a sense of humor about these things! Sanctification (1 Peter 1:13-16) requires it.

Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick (2nd Edition: 2013)

I had an unintentionally-hilarious conversation with the original publisher of the first edition. He was informing me of the parent company's plan to discontinue the book after the current print run ended, as a result of what he termed "disappointing sales":
What I wanted to say:"Disappointing sales?!? Well, what else did you expect, when you did absolutely zero advertising or marketing, and waited almost a year to even make it available in North America at all?!? While everybody over here was trying to figure out Bam-Bam Bentley and blogging about how they disappointed they were that the book wasn't available on this side of The Pond?!?"

What I actually said:"I'm sorry to hear that, and I completely understand. Could we talk about an official 'copyright reverts to the author', so I can have creative control of my own work?" (Note: it took a while, but I eventually got the official letter.)
And just over a year later, Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick was released. And the surprising & puzzling gems continued:
  1. Encouraging: early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive; I even placed #4 on one blogger's "Top Ten of 2013" reading list
  2. Odd: the people who privately expressed how much this book was needed, yet vanished into thin air when I asked for endorsements
  3. Go figure: the deafening sound of crickets chirping when I offered free copies to various online entities after John MacArthur declared war on charismatics via his Strange Fire book & conference
  4. Absolutely Priceless: having coffee with someone who had just read the book, and hearing: "Your book really helped me sort things out. I think I'm ready to do ministry again". (That's why I write!)
God works in mysterious ways. I've given up (a long time ago) trying to understand and/or explain it. Neither do I doubt that God also possesses a very quirky sense of humor. :)

1 comment:

  1. If you can help it, don't read reviews. Whatever you do, DON'T respond to reviews. If you can stop writing -- DO it. If not, well, a sense of humour and a good dose of patience is essential. I hope you're enjoying the ride. :)