Jerry Jenkins, self-publishing, and the end of civilization as we know it

February 1, 2013 | Written by Chip MacGregor

I’ve had more than a dozen people write to ask me about the new self-publishing service Jerry Jenkins has set up through his company, CWG. I’ve looked into it, read the stories, studied the comments, and four thoughts have come to my mind.

First, Jerry Jenkins is not a con man. I don’t understand the vitriol being leveled at a guy who wants to help authors get their books published, and make a buck while doing so. Some people in CBA are acting as though there’s been some breach of faith — as though this is a sign of the end-times, and the world’s most famous apocalyptic writer is behind it. Look, Jerry and I aren’t friends, but we’re certainly friendly — I’ve gotten to know him a bit over the years, and was at the literary agency that represented his LEFT BEHIND series that sold 70 million copies. It’s not like we’re hanging out together, and I have to leap to the defense of the guy… but give me a break — he’s made a pile of money, doesn’t need to bilk anyone, and has basically run his Christian Writers Guild as a service, not as a money-maker. I can tell you from firsthand experience that he’s honest and fair, and a much nicer guy than, say, me (who would be calling these people nasty names if they said those things about me). He’s not out to con anyone.

Second, Jerry Jenkins is a businessman. His name and celebrity certainly draws in potential writers, and the long list of people who have participated in CWG classes, conferences, and training creates a perfect list for potential self-published authors. How is that unethical? (For the record, PW asked me for a quote about all of this, and I told them I didn’t have much to say. It’s pretty much the same as what Thomas Nelson did with Westbow, or what Rick Christian did with Bondfire.) If a well-known author wants to start a service to help people self-publsih, why would I be up in arms? I’m not really enthusiastic about all the attendant marketing copy (claiming that there are piles of great unpublished CBA manuscripts crying out for a publisher is more marketing hype than actual fact, in my view),  but there’s nothing inappropriate or unethical about it. It’s a business.

Third, the service is certainly expensive. My defense of Jerry and CWG is not to be seen as a wholehearted endorsement for their program. The cost is apparently $10,000 to get some writing training, a substantive edit, a copy edit, a cover, and the book posted as an ebook and available as a print-on-demand. If you checked into it, you could get all that done for a third of that cost, so it’s not something I’ll be encouraging a bunch of writers to do. But so what? Some people want a turn-key operation, since it’s easier than doing it all yourself. And the folks who do it will probably trust the process better than if they were working with free-lancers. Hey, some people want to eat steak at Ruth’s Chris, others at Outback, and still others with a hunk of dead cow they bought at Wal-Mart… I’m failing to see how offering choices is a bad thing. Sure, if they’re caught scamming people down the road, I’ll be first in line to criticize them — but I don’t see that happening. Again, I’ve always found Jerry and the team at CWG to be people of integrity. So lighten up with the uncalled-for criticisms.

Fourth, I’m dismayed how the anonymity of the internet seems to bring out the worst in people. The nastiness of the comments I’ve seen, many of them personal, are certainly disappointing. I poke fun of things on this blog, but try to stay away from personal attacks on people. I worry that the influence of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the consonant responses from MSNBC and The Daily Show have generated a nastiness in our public discourse. We saw it during the presidential elections, we see it on a daily basis on TV, and its filtered into our personal communications. The lack of civility in comments from “Christian” writers is dismaying. The lack of listening is alarming.

A case in point: I recently said “the shooting in Newtown has me re-thinking handgun control laws.” I didn’t call for any big changes, but said I was considering things, in light of the tragedy. To me, that’s a reasonable reflection… Instead, you’d have thought I had tattooed Ted Kennedy’s face to my chest. People came onto the site to argue gun control as a sort of spiritual evil. One author fired me over my comment. People didn’t want to reflect or listen — they wanted to shout their point, then go home, angry.

That’s a perspective that amazes me. I generally try to stay away from the really volatile topics online — abortion, gay marriage, politics, etc. But when I’ve made even moderately political statements (such as saying that George W Bush, while a nice guy, wasn’t really a great president), I had my salvation questioned. To me, that’s an opinion, there’s adequate evidence to support it, and the support of one political party doesn’t make one a Christian or non-Christian. It’s okay to disagree sometimes. So I just want to encourage people to tone down the vitriol over this topic. Jerry Jenkins isn’t going to be scamming anyone, and will probably offer very good help to those who can afford the hefty price tag. In my world, that’s a perfectly acceptable path to take.

 

Posted in Current Affairs, Self-Publishing

  • http://danieldarling.com Daniel Darling

    Chip, you are spot on on all the fronts: Jerry’s a great guy and people have a level of vitriol that’s unbecoming of Christians. Kudos to you for calling it like it is.

    • http://twitter.com/JMZeiger Jennifer M Zeiger

      I agree, Daniel. Although I’ve never personally met Jerry Jenkins, I’ve taken some of his writing courses. It is set up as a service. Kudos to Chip for saying it like he sees it.

      • chipmacgregor

        Thanks, Jennifer.

        • http://twitter.com/LinoreRose Linore Rose Burkard

          Hey, Chip,

          I noticed the uproar about Jerry’s new venture, and my take is that people resent the hefty price–because it puts a lot of them out of the running. It certainly winnows out hobbyists and the less serious, unless they happen to have scads of extra green stuff lying around, and I suppose some people do.

          Anyhow, I noticed your mention of disappointment about Rush Limbaugh and the language of debate. While he’s assuredly a conservative, Mr. Limbaugh makes no claim to be a believer. He happens to line up with lots of our values, but he has no qualms about how he presents his views based on “playing nice,” or any other “Christian” ethics. Just wanted to mention that. :)

  • http://twitter.com/cindyswriting Cindy Thomson

    Well said, Chip. It’s a small industry and if you’re nasty online folks will remember that when they meet you in person or when you query them later…

    • chipmacgregor

      I suppose I’ve been rude to people in emails, but you don’t go onto a website and bash someone — it’s just bad manners. Appreciate your comment, Cindy.

      • http://twitter.com/cindyswriting Cindy Thomson

        Somebody should write a Miss Manners book for Christians. You should start getting queries on that any day now.

        • chipmacgregor

          You’re the right person for that one, Cindy!

          • http://twitter.com/cindyswriting Cindy Thomson

            Nah. No one would listen to me. I mean, they don’t even listen to Saint Paul.

        • http://www.facebook.com/McNairWilson C. McNair Wilson

          I think the apostle Paul already did that with a little “tract”called the “Fruits of the spirit.” When I draft a criticism or ANYTHING—before I publish—I pour my thoughts and words through the Paul’s letter to believers in Galatia (5:22-23): the qualities we are given by the holy spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control—and no law exists against any of them. DOesn’t appear to be any room for gossip, name calling,. personal attack and …let’s throw in (for the current issue) jealousy.

          • chipmacgregor

            Hmmm… I respect that, but think it’s a bit overdrawn, McNair. All of us write stuff without filtering it through Scripture, in my experience. But okay — I’m not arguing. Just thinking this may be a bit overstated.

  • Virginia Munoz

    Hm. I wonder if you were fired for JUST that comment. Probably there were more issues at play and that was the final comment that provoked the reaction. But yes, let’s all try to be civil and just and fair. I personally would love a strict gun-control law that affects all tiers. But I won’t be battling over any of my friends over the issue. We are stronger as a Christian force, than as individuals, if we can get to that point.

    • chipmacgregor

      I sort of doubt you know anything about the situation, Virginia, but I appreciate you trying to guess.

      • Virginia Munoz

        Lol! How sweet you are. Puts the entire post into perspective.

        • chipmacgregor

          There was supposed to be a smiley face at the end of that last comment, Virginia, but it got dropped by the system somehow. Sorry!

          • chipmacgregor

            Trying again — :o) (emoticons not working apparently)

          • chipmacgregor

            And by the way, is this the same Virginia Munoz that just got her first book deal? I read about it online somewhere. If so — congratulations!

  • Ron Estrada

    Wow. That requires a long comment. You’re right, Jerry is running a business. He’s not hiding anything and writers are grown up people who can make the decision whether or not to buy his product.

    I also agree with you about politics. Anyone who requires that his agent agree with 100% of his politics had better learn how to sell his own book. But I’ve decided, after three years of letting politics eat my life, that I need to concentrate on the writing. Unless you’re Anne Coulter, it’s not good for sales.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Chip. God bless.

    • chipmacgregor

      Thanks, Ron. I appreciate the note.

  • Sheila Kane

    Really, Chip? I happened to see your posting on Facebook that day and you were not exactly “listening” to the commenters who had a different opinion about the 2nd Amendment.

    I completely agree that we need to listen more and argue less, just feel like it’s a little pot calling the kettle black in this case.

    • chipmacgregor

      No. I posted a simple phrase (“After the events in Newtown, I’m considering re-thinking my stance on gun control”), and the argument took off, Sheila. Some people were over-the-top rude about it. Others less so. There was some healthy debate, but the overall tone was incredibly negative and mean-spirited (with the exception of a few calm people like novelists Don Brown, who could make his case politely). I never brought up the 2nd Amendment.

  • chipmacgregor

    Let me offer a second example: Yesterday, I posted a funny clip about a fake psychic telling people about themselves (and it turns out he’s simply getting his info from Facebook). Some people felt a need to use my FB page to talk about “people hearing from demons.” Um… I tried to say, politely, that no, the fake psychics weren’t hearing from demons, they were simply scamming people. (I’ve written a book on the topic, if you’re interested. There’s no evidence anywhere that demons know the future, or have intimate knowledge about our lives — it’s a wives tale that many people want to take as gospel.) One guy feels a need to come on and correct me — “READ YOUR BIBLE, stupid!” Because I guess we’re all supposed to take his word that he’s an expert. When I asked him his qualifications for straightening us all out, it was “I’m a pastor, and I know.” Well… bull. But his response was to come on and harangue, leave me a sharp personal note, dump Bible verses, and disappear. Stupid — but it makes him feel like he’s the expert. And my point is that, if we’d been face to face, my guess is he would have been much more reasonable, less angry, less “I’m right and you’re a jerk!” That’s my point. It’s too easy to be uncivil on the web.

  • http://twitter.com/davesheets Dave Sheets

    Chip, I agree with your position. Good article. I also know that Jerry isn’t making any money from CWG, and isn’t doing the publishing project to make money either. This whole idea started because he wants to help authors. That is why he purchased the CWG in the first place…to give back.

    I personally stand up and applaud the efforts and his heart.

    • chipmacgregor

      I’ll be honest — I have no idea if Jerry is making money from CWG or not. But he’s offering a genuine package of service here, which is legit — so people who are upset seem only to be mad at the price, which makes zero sense to me. It’s like picketing a Mercedes dealership for charging more than Toyota.

  • Judith Robl

    Our entire society seems to have forgotten civility and manners. I began to see it when comedian Don Rickels came on the scene with his insult comedy.

    I don’t think he caused it, but he certainly did reflect it. Rudeness and coarse language seemed to flourish in the wake of his tenure on the Tonight Show.

    It betokened a lack of respect for anyone and/or anything. The remedy, I believe, is a faith in God (who created man in his own image) and respect for the Creator and by extension the creation.

    Thank you for trying to be a voice of reason in the maelstrom of knee-jerk reactions.

    • chipmacgregor

      Well… yeah. And I’ve sometimes been part of that, Judith. But I’ll admit I never got the humor in Don Rickles, since I don’t find it funny just to demean people. In this case, I didn’t understand the attacks AT ALL. I’ve attacked stupid ideas before, but why all these personal attacks on Jerry? Again, I think it’s because people feel they can say things online that they’d never say face to face. Appreciate this note.

  • Susan Faw

    Being a fledgling writier I am finding the various blogs a fascinating peek into the shark filled waters that can be writing. Prejudice is world wide and castless, it is a disease that infects all humanity to one degree or another. Melting down your comments, I see only another example of how people carry their podium with them into every corner of their lives. To be able to step back and allow for freedom of expression, freedom of thought and yes, freedom of business, is a frightening prospect to many. In the end, as the saying goes, I plan to tread lightly and carry a big stick… to use in self defense, not in agressive behaviour. Those who feel that shouting the loudest or being the most offense gets their point across, do the exact opposite. They display their ignorance and fear for all to see.

    • chipmacgregor

      I think it’s easy to be on the web, feel fairly anonymous, and say really nasty things, Susan. In publishing or any other venture. But it’s a double shame in publishing, since we WANT people to be expressing new and different ideas. If people want to disagree with Jerry, that’s fine (though I’ll admit I”m not sure what they’re up in arms over). Anyway, thanks for the note, Susan.

  • Pegg Thomas

    Ah. A voice of reason. What is it about Christians that we turn on each other at the drop of a hat? Like a pack of slobbery bulldogs sometimes. Nasty business, that.

    • chipmacgregor

      I don’t know. (And some people would say I’m part of that culture, though I tend to think of myself as offering perspective and humor, rather than attack.) But you’re right– it can all get nasty. Appreciate your note, Pegg.

  • Kathryn J. Bain

    It’s amazing how people, who would never work for free, expect others to do so. Jerry has every right to charge what he feels he’s worth. If you don’t like the price, don’t ask for his help.
    And I agree with how the internet has made people a bit uncivilized. What they say in a short blurb on Facebook, they’d never say in person.
    However, Chip, if you have a vacancy you’re trying to fill, just give me a shout. I don’t really care what your stance is on gun control. :)

    • http://twitter.com/Dabneyland Dabney Hedegard

      Ha, Kathyrn. Nice pitch at the end. :) And, Chip, thanks for smoothing this out. I’ve only heard Jerry at his conferences and his heart is super big and his passion for recruiting and training new Christian writers is evident. You just have to meet him once to know he’s genuine.

    • chipmacgregor

      Well put, Kathryn. Thanks. As for vacancies… we’re working on that!

  • Sharon A. Lavy

    Thank you Chip, for once again sticking your neck out. My husband lost his best friend a long time ago because the friend has issues with someone else. Husband refused to take sides. Sigh. The “best” friend still thinks his life would be better if only my husband would admit how terrible my husband is. Sometimes life is tough when you tell it like it is.

    Thank you for sticking up for truth.

    • chipmacgregor

      You know, I’ve been a jerk sometimes, Sharon. But I’ve usually got myself into hot water over a joke, rather than a personal attack. An example: I have occasionally said something was “stupid.” I’ve noticed some people believe that calling something stupid means you’re calling the person stupid. There’s a difference. But it’s funny, I see people jumping to conclusions and really taking sides on things that are really not that important. I mean, who cares if Jerry Jenkins wants to charge $10k for this? What if he charged $20k? So long as he can prove the value to people, I don’t see why the price is the sticking point. And there’s nothing wrong with him offering this as a service, so… where’s the problem for people? I don’t get it. Glad you came on and offered your story. Thanks.

  • Cavin

    Hear, hear, Chip! I never ceased to be amazed at the way in which the “Christian” community can be so nasty and irrational on so many fronts. You’re right when you say there is a “lack of civility”, and more noticeably any ability to engage in genuine and gracious dialogue. I know Jerry casually as well, and I can assure you this is a welcome, albeit pricey, opportunity for many writers who can’t penetrate the traditional publishing world that Jerry has promoted most of his life. The unethical people are the ones making the bizarre accusations without any research or first-hand knowledge. The art of public and private discourse seems to almost non-existent in our day That’s sad, because there is so much we can all learn from each other.

    Thanks for leading the charge in this arena.

    • chipmacgregor

      Appreciate the note, Cavin. I’ll try to do a better job of living up to that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dana.mcneely.5 Dana McNeely

    Well said. All of it. I, too, was dismayed at the tone of conversation on a Christian loop. I quietly stayed out of it. I applaud you for sharing your thoughts so coherently and kindly.

    • chipmacgregor

      Thanks very much, Dana. I was shocked to see some of the vitriol being spewed.

  • http://Www.hgsurvivor.com/ Rachel Smith

    Sorry an author left you. Sounds silly to me, but I understand how emotionally charged these political issues are. I appreciate the honesty in your writing, whether I agree or not, and that’s why I’ve followed your blog for so many years. Keep on writing, and remember that people tend to make themselves look bad when they shout and run away.

    • chipmacgregor

      Yeah, it’s the “shout and run away” part that I don’t like, Rachel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.dowdy Cecelia Dowdy

    Wow, perfectly acceptable, but, OH SO EXPENSIVE! Sheesh! It’s almost as if Jerry is taking a private flight to writers’ houses to give writing instruction! But, I guess if one can afford the hefty price tag, and they get an acceptable service, then, I suppose it’s fine. However, I would not encourage spending that kind of $$$ to publish a book.

    • chipmacgregor

      Yeah — expensive, from my perspective, Cecelia. I agree. I think an author could probably procure these same services for less than $3000, and get a very professional, credible job done.

  • Cherry Odelberg

    Hear Hear! Quite possibly the most articulate and cogent piece I have read – written by you; and that is saying a lot, isn’t it? Well said, well said.

    • chipmacgregor

      I think that’s a backhanded compliment, Cherry… :o) Thanks for coming on and commenting.

  • Anna Labno

    I’m one of the people who cancelled the membership. Every time I got something in the email, it asked for $. I don’t go out and ask the same people for money each time I connect with them. Who would like that? Be honest with yoursefl now…

    You need to also be aware of your audience. Most unpublished authors don’t make any money from writing. They are not people who are able to pay the amount that’s advertised.

    Your wrote:
    “Hey, some people want to eat steak at Ruth’s Chris, others at Outback, and still others with a hunk of dead cow they bought at Wal-Mart…”
    The amount paid doesn’t gurantee value. You can eat the best stake if you learn how to do it yourself. You can buy a lot of books. And that brings me to that you can buy a lot of books about the craft of writing for $1000. I’m sure that the writer who wrote 100 books before being published has a lot to say to new writers as would any writer who would go the same path.
    I didn’t send offensive remarks toward Jerry Jenkins. I don’t know the man. Good luck to him. I wish him well. But we have so many choices to choose from now these days. What seemed impossible a couple years ago, is open to so many possibilities now.
    I support writers. I buy a lot of books about the craft of writing. I attend conferences and seminars. But I do have bills to pay, and I need to choose wisely where my money goes as so many other writers.
    With all respect to all writers,
    Anna

    • chipmacgregor

      Cancelled a membership to what, Anna? To Jerry Jenkins’ organization? I appreciate what you’re saying here, since I agree that a writer has many other avenues for spending money on professional development, but glad you can disagree with something like this and not offer a personal attack. Yours is an example to others.

      • Anna Labno

        I’m sorry I should I have said subscription.
        It was too late to make a change after it showed up.

        .

        • chipmacgregor

          What did you subscribe to, Anna? Sorry, but I didn’t realize there was a subscription aspect to Jerry Jenkins’ stuff.

          • http://twitter.com/cindyswriting Cindy Thomson

            CWG has memberships, which allows discounts on the conference, free webinars, a free critique, and more. I’m guessing that’s what she meant. Like ACFW has memberships.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.donetti Susan Donetti

    A friend of mine and I often joke about how nice it is to ‘be right.’ Something we are both aware is one of our foibles. I often suspect that is at the heart of so many negatively ‘directed’ comments as opposed to simply expressing an opinion. In order to ‘be right’ we often feel the need to make someone else wrong. Struggling to increase our emotional intelligence is often a challenge for us, myself (of course) included. Thank you, Chip, for your typically straightforward and forth right (pun intened :)) comments.

    • chipmacgregor

      The best part about having a blog, of course, is that I ALWAYS GET TO BE RIGHT. :o) Thanks for writing, Susan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sally.h.bayless Sally Howe Bayless

    Thank you for being a voice of sanity. Hatred is a sin. Just because it is used in political situations doesn’t make it any less so. Still waiting for Christians to wake up and realize they should contemplate issues in the context of the Bible instead of swilling down the hatred that so many media spew.

    • chipmacgregor

      I don’t know how sane I am at times, Sally. I think where I really get into trouble is poking fun at Christians specifically. I suppose I could stay away from that… but I am one, and I notice they offer a LOT of material to poke fun at!

  • Ginger Garrett

    Still shocked an author left because of your position on the second amendment. Of course, I only hired you to represent my books and secure my contractual rights. I had NO IDEA you controlled my constitutional rights, too.

    Guess I need to read the fine print…

    • chipmacgregor

      And please, Ginger, if you plan to assemble or quarter soldiers in your home, you need to check with me.

  • Dawn Shipman

    Wow, Chip. They do come out of the woods, don’t they? Sorry you’ve had to deal with all this. I appreciate your call for Christian civility–we can be every bit as nasty as the world and we have no excuse. I, too, have had second thoughts re: gun control, after Newtown. Why can’t I be free among my Christian friends to express those thoughts? A healthy difference of opinion is fine, but when is name-calling ever necessary? It’s very discouraging and certainly makes more understandable why non-believers want no part of us. :(

    • chipmacgregor

      I’m not saint — I’ve poked fun at lots of people, and called things “stupid” plenty of times. But my focus was usually aimed at the idea or the foible, not the person. I certainly understand that I can be viewed as two-faced on this, but I’d say my experience is that a lot of people struggle with the issue of dialogue. They want to present one side of things, declare themselves right, and question your maturity/ salvation/ intellect if you don’t immediately agree. To that I say… “Remember college? When you’d sit around with people and talk about ideas?” Thanks for your kind note, Dawn.

  • Becky Doughty

    Chip, I just watched a session with Thomas Umstattd on blogging and how to draw more traffic to your site. One of the things he talked about was along the lines of taking a stand for something. He did NOT say to go out looking for a battle to fight, but to intentionally draw lines that will draw comments and viewers. Well done – did you watch it, too? :-)

    I think it’s a bold thing to draw a line because, intentionally or not, we’re asking for rebuttals. But one of the reasons I come back here all the time (besides my dogged pursuit of your mad skillz) is because I know there isn’t any beating around the bush over here, or wishy-washy, playing both sides stuff. I think it’s brilliant that you even said you’d be first in line if the above situation turns sour. I may not always agree with where you stand, but at least I KNOW where you stand. You may not always agree with my comments, and that’s okay, too. God forbid there should be two people who think and act and believe EXACTLY like me – ask my husband, one is enough. Even worse, if there were two like you…. :-)

    Appreciate your thoughts on this surprisingly volatile aspect of the publishing industry.

    Becky

    • chipmacgregor

      Nope, didn’t see it, Becky. I’ve never heard Thomas Umstattd speak (but I DO think he has way too many t’s in his name). And no, I didn’t intend to be controversial — tackling something like this is a bit out of the norm for this blog, which tends to stay closer to “career advice for writers.” But sometimes you have to speak out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeggyDallmann Peggy Dallmann

    I will disclose up front that I am one of those who believe in stiffer gun laws in this country anyway. That said, I can’t help myself for what I am about to add. I cannot believe the shooting in Newtown hasn’t left everyone re-thinking handgun control laws in this country. The fact that you or anyone else cannot state that this horrific event has led you to reflect upon these laws without coming under fire is a sad, sad state of affairs. So many Christians today hold our country up as the shining example of all that is good and fair in the world. I remember that we are all, as individuals, works in progress. I certainly do not pretend to be a shining example to anyone. We must remember that in this great nation, the First Amendment allows each of us an opinion, and the majority rules. We must all learn to accept these important principles graciously. I have to work on this too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.e.huff Cindy Ervin Huff

    Excellent comments. I too am weary of nastiness. I appreciate your well- stated opinion. One thing I will say for CWG there is a feeling of trust and confidence when you take a course or attend a conference or webinar. There is great stuff there. That trust goes a long way in choosing how you want to publish your book.

    • chipmacgregor

      Thanks, Cindy. I’ve not taken their courses, so I don’t claim any first-hard knowledge. Appreciate this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Osner/100000148519230 Tim Osner

    I don’t know, you can shell out twice or even three times as much for an MFA and you’re not even guaranteed a book out of it, much less one that will sell. Jerry Jenkins may not have the literary gravitas, but he sure has the commercial and that could be rationalized as something worth paying for if you want to self publish; it may give your book an edge or not. I think it’s up to what the writer wants.

    • chipmacgregor

      Sure you can, Tim. And yes, it’s definitely up to the writer. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.scinto Cindy Valenti Scinto

    Well said! In a New York kind of way!

    • chipmacgregor

      :o)

  • http://twitter.com/DanaMentink Dana Mentink

    I completely agree that the internet allows us to make comments and not take responsibility for their impact. It is a disturbing trend. Words have power whether spoken or written, as I tell my little students, so use them wisely. Sometimes I think my eight year olds are smarter about that than grownups!

  • Michelle Medlock Adams

    Well put, Chip. A voice of reason for sure! I like the way you think, my friend. In fact, I think I’ll see if you might be interested in being my agent…oh wait, I already did that. :)

    • chipmacgregor

      You’re way too big of a name for me, Michelle…

  • http://www.facebook.com/McNairWilson C. McNair Wilson

    I just self-published—my 5th book, but first self-published book. My literary agent (decades of experience as publisher of a reputable, know house, now agent to few clients) was stunned we could not place my book after near twenty rejections (including a few New York editors who loved the book, but had a far narrower path toward green lighting a book than they might have had a few years ago.) So, I think Jerry Jenkins is correct that many good books are going unpublished. New book lists with every publisher are smaller than ever. Jerry should know, as author of 180+ books and someone who sees scores, maybe hundreds of manuscripts through his hands-on work at Christian Writers Guild. As for the cost of their program ($10,000): if I add up the TWO freelance editors I paid to work with me on two of my FIVE full rewrites; a young up-and-coming graphic designer to assist in making my covers (front, back, and wacky spine concept) press-ready: a second designer to assemble the interior (w/ 150+ of my cartoons/doodles ad font festival); hire a publishing partner to assemble all the pieces PRODUCE the book (printing, shipping AND secure ISBN an copyrights: and a proofreader to examine the final galley) …ALL that would easily be in the $10,000. range. And it was worth it. My book—”HATCH! Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer”—released in Sept. 2012 and our SECOND printing (with a dozen “fixes”) is on the presses NOW. There’s room in CBA, in the publishing universe for any new program to create GOOD books. Most self-pub’d stuff is unreadable because they’ve not been in the hands of an editor, proof reader and the best you can say about their layouts is the pages are in order …maybe. (Can we please stop wit the sna-serif text?!)

    • chipmacgregor

      Appreciate your perspective, McNair. One question… Just to be fair, since you were the one interviewing Jerry on the you-tube clip I saw: Are you an employee of CWG? (I’m not picking a fight, I just think it’s fair to point out that you were on some of the advertising for this, so I thought I’d ask.) Thanks, McNair. I appreciate you coming onto the blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/candice.prentice.1 Candice Prentice

    I like to ask people WHY they believe what they believe. I’ve run into many Christians who spout what they’ve learned from a pastor/teacher/parent/talk radio host/etc. but can’t back up what they say with facts or Scripture or even their own thoughts. It seems that anything contrary to what they’ve heard scares them. That makes me wonder how secure they are in their own beliefs.

  • Sandi Rog

    Chip, I haven’t been on your blog in a while. It’s great to see you posting again, and I see your agency has grown another person. Well done! Thanks for clarifying things about what Jenkins is offering. I do think the price is steep, but I also think prices are steep at Macy’s (or other big-fancy-stores-that-I-know-nothing-about), which is why I don’t shop there. If you don’t like the price, don’t buy it. :-)

    • chipmacgregor

      Nice to see you come on and leave a comment, Sandi.

  • Suzy Parish

    It’s funny, I used to subscribe to a Christian writer’s loop years ago when I first began writing. I thought, wow, I bet I’ve missed a lot lately, so I re-upped it. The first topic that came up was Jerry Jenkins self-publishing service.
    The more I read it the more I became like Crocodile Dundee— “Oh, yeah – – I remember television from way back. I saw it at a buddy’s house one time. [turns on the set and sees an "oldies re-run" of an "I Love Lucy" show pop up on the screen] Yup – – that’s what I saw that time.” [Turns off the television.]

    • chipmacgregor

      The more things change…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1035377262 Stacey Zink

    Excellent post, Chip. I agree the anonymity offered through the internet isn’t always a good thing; it seems people tend to forget their manners. I am a two year student of the CWG and enjoyed reading your thoughts. Very well balanced.

    • chipmacgregor

      Thanks, Stacey.

  • Dave Fessenden

    Chip, thanks for a strong, reasoned, loving perspective on an issue that has been blown way out of proportion. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.scinto Cindy Valenti Scinto

    I don’t have enough room in my brain to understand why this was ever a subject or an issue. Big deal … Jerry Jenkins is offering self publishing services now. I can think of much worse situations. So there. Ha! 8^) (Jerry’s an awesome person.)

  • Charise

    I am stunned to see how often I agree with you when, in person, I find you frightening. Well, okay, not frightening but more intimidating than I’d like to admit. I remember handing you a piece of paper and my hand SHOOK. Anyway, I do think the media noise desensitizes people and the ease of communicating on line (along with anonymity) all works in favor of a sort of rude mania. In the rush for immediate content, there is also a rush for the immediate answer and with any real life experience in your pocket, it should be clear that immediate answers are not easy to come by. I wholeheartedly agree with you about Jenkins’ project. No need for people to go whackadoodle over it but I did think it was too expensive and I do worry about someone being disappointed that 10,000 didn’t make them more money than a fraction of that would have done because better design and craft classes does not a bestseller make. And because of the faith aspect, will people use as much business discernment as they should. That’s where it starts getting sticky for me. There is an accountability (in my opinion) when you are a person of faith and running a business.

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