Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

I've shared before that book writing is a long process. But I had a moment of progress in my newest project (today) that not only fits perfectly with this ongoing Lenten theme, but highlights to me how this particular manuscript is managing to straddle both worlds - the instantaneous and the timeless.

First, we now have a title! My new book - to be released this fall - has an ISBN and is listed in the Library of Congress as "Reaching Toward Easter: devotions for Lent". And so today's email from one of my editors was more than timely. "I wanted you to get a chance," she wrote, "to see the 1st draft of the catalog copy I’ve written for your book."

Before I share what she came up with, I want to explain how the project bridges the gap between something that's 100% instantaneous and current (like this blog entry), and the unbelievably lengthy conception-to-completion timeline that defines book production.

Two years ago (Spring of 2009), I decided to blog Lent on a day-to-day basis. I pulled it off, never missing a day over almost seven weeks. Everything I wrote came fresh out of my head and onto the screen - it was published without any rewriting or editing - just "click" and there it was.

The result was rough, but very much alive. When I looked at the blog entries again, later, I realized they still held the vitality of immediacy. So I decided to use the copy as my basis for a book proposal and - by the end of the year - landed a contract.

My new manuscript was due by early the next summer. Consequently I wrote the book in real time during Lent of 2010. I captured some of the ideas from 2009, added fresh material as I was blogging my way to Easter of 2010, and - simultaneously - started from scratch on my manuscript. The result stunned me in terms of vitality. By continuing to rewrite and refresh I had created a book that resonated with the same fresh voice that defines my blog - yet with the gravitas of a legitimate tome.

And here it is, Lent again and this time 2011. We're in the late production stages of a book that will hopefully be read, together, by thousands of people throughout the English-speaking world this time next year.

Here's a rough version of what Upper Room Books plan to use in their catalog when the book comes out.
Peace - DEREK

Short Consumer Copy: Join Derek Maul on a 47-day devotional journey through Lent. Using the narrative in John 12–20 as a guide, Maul invites readers to remember Jesus daily and to live as  “Eighth Day Believers” true followers of Jesus. 6 weeks - Includes Leader’s Guide.

Long Consumer Copy: Derek Maul beckons you to join him on a devotional pilgrimage through Lent, and to engage in a sacred daily rhythm in the presence of Jesus. You’ll walk with Jesus on the dusty path from Bethany to the gates of Jerusalem, listening to his words of grace, hope, and challenge as he moves toward the Cross.

Reaching Toward Easter features 47 meditations, taking you from Ash Wednesday through Easter and into “The Eighth Day”. Using the Gospel narrative from John 12–20, Maul guides you to journey with Jesus from Bethany to Jerusalem.

Maul’s hope is that you will “arrive at Holy Week refreshed rather than tired, inspired rather than discouraged, reflective rather than overwhelmed.” By the time you reach Easter, your pilgrimage will have prepared you to live as an “Eighth Day Believer”—a true follower of Jesus.
- 6-week study for individuals or groups
- Includes a Leader’s Guide

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