Mission of Start2Finish Books
Late last year, I launched my own publishing company (Start2Finish Books) along with the release of a book I had labored over for nearly five years. Folks have asked me lots of questions about the book and the process, and the #1 question I get is, "Why did you self-publish?" Elsewhere, I have explained some of the reasons that led to that decision. But I haven't done much to explain THE reason. I want to change that here and now.
The greatest reason I decided to self-publish "The Epic of God" AND launch my own publishing company is because I believe I'm trying to do something different, something that doesn't fit in the traditional molds of Christian publishing.
In my experience, commentaries that deliver "meat" for a passage are often:
- Hard to understand. Some scholars enjoy using $100 words for 10 cent ideas.
- Boring to wade through. I've never heard someone, even a preacher, describe a commentary as a "real page-turner; I couldn't put it down."
- Cost-prohibitive. It is not unusual for a very good commentary to cost $30 or more. Douglas Moo wrote a great commentary on Romans, but it will set you back $37 if you purchase it from Amazon.com.
For these reasons, I think the very word "commentary" intimidates some folks, and I don't blame them. On the other end of the spectrum, books that are accessible to the masses (in content or price) don't often present a challenge to the reader. They offer nothing that will make you think. Some of them are based on incorrect information, on half-century old clichés no one takes seriously anymore. There is no meat, nothing to chew on. I may be too harsh and too general in that opinion, but it's how I feel.
I believe Scripture is alive and engaging because it comes from a God who anything but boring. Thus, I also believe Bible study shouldn't be a chore. My heart soars every time I read it. I want others to feel that way also. I want people to know Scripture so that their lives can be transformed by it. I want people to experience--to know and comprehend--the meat of the Bible. I want them to see Scripture as funny, frightening, weird, convicting. I want readers of my books to witness the profound relevance of the Bible. When folks read the Bible and books about the Bible, I want them to say it was a "real page-turner; I couldn't put it down."
And I don't want people to have to sell their firstborn into slavery in order to afford books that help them see the Bible as gripping and engaging. With the advent of digital publishing, books (even very large ones) can be made available at a much cheaper price than before. Now that print-on-demand technology has become more mainstream, self-publishing authors are not forced to invest as much $$ into printing their books, and they can pass the savings on to the reader. In a world where we pay $5 for premium coffee and $8 for fast-food "value meals," spending $9.99 on an eBook and $14.99 or less on a paperback that helps one better understand a book of the Bible is, too me, a bargain (biased, I know).
I care about the cost of these books because my target audience is faithful Christians who want to study the Word in-depth. I hope that preachers and ministers (young and old) buy and read my books, but only as a gateway to further study. I am MORE interested in making DEEP study of the Word accessible to folks in the pew, to those with no formal biblical education. Over time, I hope that the name "Start2Finish Books" becomes a trusted name to guide people to a better understanding of what God is saying to his people. I hope that church leaders trust us enough to put our books in the hands of their members in order to equip them for teaching and ministry. If God allows, I'd like to publish a book like "The Epic of God" for all the books of the Bible; volumes on Daniel and 1-2 Thessalonians will be released in the next 12 months or less, Lord willing. I'm committed to keeping each one an affordable value for those willing to read what I have to say. But I'm also committed to high standards of quality. A good brand is not built overnight, but rather over many years of hard work. This is a task that may take decades, but I'm ready for the challenge. If God is with me in this endeavor, there is no question whether I will succeed.
But I'd also like to solicit your help. I'd love it if you would...
- Pray for the work of Start2Finish Books. I won't lie; there are challenge to be faced. Does the world really need another Christian publishing company? Does the world really need more books to explain the Bible? Because I self-publish, some stores are refusing to stock the books; how else will others discover Start2Finish and the resources we offer? These are the external challenges. More personal challenges include the reality that I have a little boy to take care of now. It would be wrong to become so consumed with this endeavor that I neglect him and his momma. Learning to balance these things so that neither is neglected will be a challenge. That's why I would be so grateful if you would pray for me, my family, and for Start2Finish Books on a regular basis. It would mean so much. In fact, would you stop reading for a moment and say a prayer right now?
- Tell someone about Start2Finish and our mission. If you haven't already, watch the YouTube video that briefly explains what we're trying to do. Subscribe to our Newsletter. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and promote both our YouTube video and our website via social media. Every time someone new learns about us and purchases one of our books, they have the opportunity to better understand the Bible. When that happens, their faith can grow and they can become more like Jesus.
We have lots of other, smaller ways you can support Start2Finish.
- Our next book, "The Derision of Heaven," is now a project on Kickstarter and is also available for pre-order. You would be surprised at the financial investment required to write and publish these books: cover design, editing, promotion and advertising. Even little things like gas to drive 97 miles (one-way) to the nearest theological library to do research adds up.
- If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, consider coming out to one of our Book Signing Events in May at Barnes & Noble. We will be promoting "The Epic of God" and its message: "Exchange your fear for faith. Surrender your story to the divine Author." Our hope is that if these events are a success, it will behoove Barnes & Noble to promote more books that will help people grow in their relationship with God. Is such a goal a longshot? Maybe, but our God excels at longshots.
- We are also trying to donate a copy of "The Epic of God" to as many libraries as possible; would you help us in this? If so, send me an email to learn how.
Below, I have listed four passages that have become a guiding light to what I hope to accomplish through Start2Finish Books. Sometime soon, I hope to blog about my understanding of these passages and why I love them so. But for now, allow them to sink into your heart. Thanks for reading this and for supporting the mission of Start2Finish. May God bless you richly.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
He [Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. – Colossians 1:28-29
From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:15-17
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