Culture > Q&A

Book buyer beware

"Book buyer beware" Continued...

Issue: "Believing in Iraq," May 17, 2014

Francis Schaeffer also spoke and had transcribers, right? Almost every word he uttered was taped and transcribed. Then Schaeffer would go over it and turn it into what he wanted: He retained minute control over his manuscripts to where it was sometimes a little frustrating to work with him, because he insisted on saying things in his own quirky way. What makes Schaeffer powerful is the passion and the content.

So, it’s legitimate to take a pastor’s ideas and move them into a different medium, without really adding new thoughts ... That was true of Martyn Lloyd-Jones: I think his daughters did that for him, converting what he said. He preached on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and I think also on Saturday evening. 

I understand that John Piper writes his own books. What you see in John Piper is what you get: He is one of the most straightforward, completely honest people I’ve ever been around. He writes his books himself. He was an English major at Wheaton and it shows: His books come in and rarely need any corrections. John would take a “writing leave” in the summer. His church would let him go off and spend some time alone, and he would just sit there and write like a machine. His books are his books. 

Should readers take back-cover endorsements seriously? I’m not going to tell you who this is, but one author we published wanted his book endorsed by a famous member of his congregation. The famous member of his congregation contacted me and said, “This is how much I will charge for endorsing the book.” Because we really, really wanted to publish the book, and we respected the author and the person, we said, “OK.” The pastor himself wrote the endorsement for his own book and sent it to the endorser, leaving a blank in the middle with a note, “You can add your personal comments here.” The endorser sent it to me and said, “I don’t think I need to add anything. This is good enough as it is.”

A ghostwritten endorsement for a ghostwritten book? That was a pretty disappointing episode.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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