It Takes A Village to Publish a Book

Tim SullivanI’d like you to meet my friend Tim Sullivan, a cowboy singer/songwriter from Durango, Colorado.

Tim once said something to me that felt so important and generous that, years later, I quoted it in my book.  I sometimes write about how our words can ripple through people’s lives long after we’ve forgotten saying them and Tim did that for me.

I’d written an article for the local newspaper about Tim, who says he’s just a guy who loves to sing and play music. It doesn’t matter if five people show or 5,000 do, Tim is happy to play for them. When the article ran, he said it was one of the best anybody had written about him, and he was grateful. After that, every time I’d see him in town, he would say to me:

“Are you writing? You need to be writing. Whatever else you are doing that’s fine, but just make sure you are writing.”

Today is my 43rd birthday, and the book I wrote three years ago is gathering dust in a drawer. People ask me all the time what’s happening with it, and when I answer I feel like a nine-year old who can’t tie her shoes. I don’t want to admit I need help to get it out of the drawer, but I do. Specifically, I need you to help me grow.

Incredibly, Going to the Sea – A Sassy Liberal Wades in with Jesus made it, unrepresented, into a publishing committee last year, where it was shot down by marketing people who likely said:

Who is the author? Who? Somebody Google her. Nope. Next.

Maybe that should freak me out, but it doesn’t. The proposal got into a publishing committee on its own merit; it died there on mine. That’s not really bad news, because I can work on my Google rank. That’s where you come in.

It feels chancy and self-indulgent to ask your help because I have to be vulnerable and admit how important this is to me. It’s hard to lay your dreams bare for others to examine, but if people love you and/or your work, they will hold you accountable and encourage you like Tim did for me.

 

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So, in my 43rd year, I am going to do everything I know to get that manuscript into print. If I have to rewrite 90% of it, that’s fine, as long as someone will hold my hand in the process.

All I can do is write a little each day and talk to you as I go.

All you can do is share. So, if you like something I post, will you share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?

The rest of it is up to the Lord.

I have agents who are still interested in the book, they’ve just got to know they can sell it. How do they know? How many people already read and like your work? Thousands? Great, let’s do business.

And we can complain about that all day, but if Tim were here I think he’d say, who cares? Just like he is a guy born to sing and play music, I am a gal who was born to write and speak about Jesus. He’s the reason I can do it at all anyway.

So if you want to join my little team, here are three things you can do right now.

Follow Erin Kirk Writer on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Keep reading and sharing.

Thank you friends.


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Your Opinion Please.

IMG_2476If you’re much of a reader, you know back cover copy is often what prompts a book purchase.

Do you know who writes that copy? The author does, or at least takes a crack at it, and it’s torture….

In 300 words or less, explain your 60,000 word manuscript. Exhibit all your marketing savvy but don’t be cheesy – be compelling, clever and original.

So here’s the shot I took in the proposal I’m sending out this week for Going to the Sea: A Sassy Liberal Wades in with Jesus. Since you’re my tribe, I want your opinion.

Would you pick it up? Comments welcomed and appreciated.

When outspoken, West Coast, liberal feminist Erin Kirk quit corporate America and moved to Texas to farm organic vegetables and beef cattle, she thought she had it all figured out.

But Texas ripped away her Whole Foods-hip exterior like an old house dress, revealing decades of loneliness, anxiety and fear. Desperate, Kirk looked for a remedy in the one place Liberals in America supposedly never look: The Bible.

Thus began a fiery, yearlong experiment.

Rather than shouting, “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE” every day into dust devils of bone-colored sand, Kirk read The Bible – the whole thing – and attempted to do as it says.

Irate at the church but weary of freewheeling theology, Kirk excused everyone from the discussion and gave The Bible one year to convince her the transformative power of God is available to anyone who will seek it. She asks:

  • Must I be a pious, well coiffed, sweetie pie to follow Jesus? Or can I just be myself?
  • Am I short-changing my life, just to avoid obeying God?
  • Why bother with Jesus in a culture that often doesn’t, or worse, pretends to?
  • Is there value in…gulp…submitting to my husband?
  • Can God tame my smart mouth and the angry voice in my head?

With rangy, open prose rooted in her wild and willful past, and a journalist’s eye for detail, Kirk drifts from Northern California, through the Colorado Rockies to conservative West Texas, landing firmly on both sides of America’s religious culture wars.

 Speaking gently to those outside the church gates, and boldly to those within them, Kirk explains with kindness and heart why Jesus still matters.

 

What About The Hypocrites – An Excerpt.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Five of Going To The Sea. It’s called Leroy.

…So maybe it isn’t all my fault, I fashioned a version of God I liked better than the one peddled by guys like Leroy or the cable news hosts who bluster on about America’s Christian heritage and then tell their guests to shut up on tv. By my second month, on the porch with my bible, I discovered, the things I find infuriating about religious hypocrites, infuriated Jesus as well.

For example, many people, even non-Christians, have heard the story of the woman caught in adultery, because it includes the famous scripture:

Lucas Cranach d. Ä. - Christ and the Adulteres...

Lucas Cranach d. Ä. – Christ and the Adulteress – (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

In John chapter eight, the woman was brought by the Pharisees – the Jewish religious leaders – before a crowd to be stoned to death.  It wasn’t a trial, because she’d been caught in the act. Incidentally, no, the man with whom she was caught was not dragged in with her, and yes that’s galling, but welcome to the Nation of Israel in the first century.

The woman, the scripture says, was in that dangerous position because the Pharisees were using her to catch Jesus violating Mosaic Law – something they were convinced his teaching did. Remember Jesus was a Jew, people called him Rabbi and under the law of Moses, adultery was a crime punishable by death.

“What do you say Jesus?” The Pharisees asked him.

Jesus knelt and wrote in the dirt with his finger. When he stood up, he said, “let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent down and drew in the dirt again. One by one the crowd dropped their rocks and dispersed until only Jesus and the woman were left. Then Jesus stood up, looked at the woman and said,

“Where are your accusers? Has no one accused you?”

“No one,” she answered.

Then Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go on your way and sin no more.”

Jesus didn’t ignore what the woman had done, he clearly called it sin and told her to knock it off, but he didn’t ball up with a bunch of buddies and throw rocks at her either – even though the law required it. It was the Pharisees who wanted to throw rocks, but they couldn’t because Jesus called them hypocrites and dared them to prove it.

It’s a lucky adulteress who meets Jesus in a crowd.

How many times have I objected to Christianity because “Christians are hypocrites?” But read the story again if you must. Jesus extended mercy when the law required death. He called the Pharisees hypocrites, nobody called him one. Even though the Pharisees were pious and observant, they were merciless and very unlike the God they tried to represent.

Because I never studied the Bible, I didn’t know who the Pharisees were or that they created one of the gospel’s great ironies.

I, like many people, accepted the news peddled by the Pharisees of the 21st century. So each time one of those peddlers got caught stealing money or in a hotel room, I’d gloat and think, “See Christians are hypocrites, therefore Jesus is a fraud.” That is a common but bizarre logical failure, made by people who are clearly not looking at Jesus, but rather at his chronically flawed human followers – even well-intentioned ones like Leroy.

That approach will always deliver cynicism and heartbreak because the Bible doesn’t say a decision to follow Jesus immediately transmutes our bad behavior. In fact, some translations say, once we surrender we are “impregnated” with God’s divine nature. Pregnant women will tell you it takes lots of nausea, bloating and many other things to give birth to a happy baby, but mostly it just takes time.

So are Christians hypocrites? Absolutely. So are Jews and Buddhists and Muslims and Wiccans and Vegetarians and Evolutionists and all the people who call themselves “spiritual not religious.” That’s because hypocrisy is endemic to the human condition. It is a failure, the Bible says, Jesus came specifically to address.