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OPINION: Writing, publishing books is laborious

July 29, 2020 at 5:23 a.m.

I have been working on some new books. Two are already up on Amazon, "Knowing God's Word" and "Hearing God's Voice." The third, "Speaking by the Spirit," is unfinished, three or four weeks more. Writing is rewarding but it's very hard work. No other job is quite like it. Other work is easy by comparison. I pray more when I'm writing.

I'm writing, but I'm also reading. One mark of any good author is they love to read. I'm reading a book by Frank Viola and George Barna, "Pagan Christianity." I'm also watching a video by Dutch Sheets. He leads intercessory prayer events for America. Plus, I'm studying how to prepare podcasts. These are downloadable audio talks. They'll supplement my YouTube videos. Meanwhile, family life goes on. I love making time for grandkids. I have two days slotted for kids this week. My wife helps me plan things. Family is first for us.

I've discovered that there's a huge difference between publishing print books versus ebooks, such as for Kindle. All of my books are available in print and electronic formats. Publishing ebooks was a breeze. After months of writing, editing, rewriting and rewriting, my books were uploaded to Amazon and published in only one day. That was the easy part. The cord was cut. The baby was born.

Ebooks are cheaper to buy (if you're a reader) and they take less effort to finish (if you're an author) than print books. You can download an ebook in a moment and be reading it a minute later on your iPhone, tablet or laptop. On the other hand, formatting books for print is a laborious task. If you order a book, it will be printed on demand and shipped overnight. Formatting print books is a challenge. It is tedious. Did I say it was difficult?

After writing and formatting several print books, I've learned how. It still isn't simple. After you've written a book, the work isn't over. There's formatting, page size, cover creation, editing for style, spell-checking, editing content, editing grammar, fixing typos, adding pagination, headers and footers. All of this complex design work takes many intense hours. I've finished several books, so I know the process. I'm familiar with Microsoft Word and its styles tool. After all that work, you'll never find every error in a manuscript. Self-editing is next to impossible, even with "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser.

Writing a book is the closest thing I'll ever experience to having a baby. The labor is true travail. It can be gut-wrenching. For me, it's difficult to bare my soul and tell the unvarnished truth. But being authentic is what makes a book appealing instead of an academic exercise. I get personal. I don't know how else to do it. My experiences in God are real. I'm called to report what I've seen and heard. To do that, I have to give an eyewitness account. Pray for me that my reporting will be accurate and readable.

Hey! I just saw somebody in Japan buy one of my books. What an amazing world we live in. I never dreamed that what I say in Arkansas, using my computer or iPhone, can touch someone on the other side of the world.

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Ron Wood is a retired pastor and author. Contact him at [email protected] or visit or follow him at Touched By Grace on Facebook. Opinions expressed are those of the author.


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