© By Mark and Patti Virkler
The outline of this short article:
Stage One: Start with a real life story.
Stage Two: Prepare an outline.
Stage Three: Write the book (revising several times).
- Write using the RIGHT hemisphere - following the anointing (flow).
- Revise using the RIGHT hemisphere - adding more anointing (flow).
- Revise using the RIGHT hemisphere - until your heart comes to complete peace.
- Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, clarifying each sentence.
- Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, adding headings throughout.
- Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, adding documentation and finalizing reference notes.
- Do a final reading, looking to see if you have a good balance between right and left hemispheres
Stage Four: Add personal application questions.
Stage Five: Get critiques and endorsements.
Stage Six: Turn it over to proofers and editors.
Stage Seven: Copyright, publish and market.
Stage One: Start with a real life story
A life-giving book is birthed in a life story. The seed from which my books grow is a desire planted in my heart by the Holy Spirit to come to a new understanding or a new level in some area of my life.
Generally it takes me six months to two years to master a new area in my life. During this time, I read extensively in the area. I talk to others about it. I go to conferences on the subject. I experiment in the area. And I stay open to the Holy Spirit’s flow, allowing God to lead me in the learning process.
I notate the key things I am learning, either directly in the books, or on my computer. Some books are so helpful I read them two or three times. Others I skim, because they do not offer much to my study. The ones I read two or three times are set aside for future reference. When I am ready to write, I go back to these and re-examine the highlighted areas to draw out the concepts and weave them into my own book, putting the concepts in my own words and footnoting them as necessary.
Stage Two: Prepare an outline
Let the outline for the book expand on your computer. As the new knowledge or skill is growing within me, and I begin to live the principles successfully in my life, I start developing an outline for the book.
I may begin listing potential chapter titles while I study and grow. Whenever I feel I am discovering a key concept or series of concepts, I list them as potential chapter titles or sub-parts within chapters. I then finalize the basic structure of the book, organizing the chapter titles and sup-parts in a way that will be meaningful and enticing to the reader.
Since the reader will probably have to take the same steps I have taken, I can tell the story of my path to knowledge and understanding, and the reader will be enticed, captured and brought along with me as he reads.
I keep the book practical, real and interesting by describing my own personal struggles as I sought to implement this new skill and knowledge.
Stage Three: Write the book
As you write, clearly envision:
* The intended target audience, and
* What God wants to speak to this audience through this book.
Write when your heart says write. Wait to begin writing the book until you feel your heart and spirit are fully pregnant with the message and ready to pour it out. If you try to deliver the message before it is ready to come forth from your heart and spirit, you will have a miscarriage.
You will know when it is time to write. You will feel a passion about delivering the message and getting it out of your heart and mind and into the world.
Let God give you more during the night. When you are drained from writing, stop, go to bed and sleep on it. You will be refreshed and anointed the following day, especially if, as you drift off to sleep, you ask God to grant your heart a fresh anointing while you sleep. He can and He will (Job 33:14-16).
Revise the draft several times, sometimes writing from the right hemisphere of your brain, sometimes writing from the left hemisphere, and a final time using both hemispheres.
Right brain functions include:
Pictures, flow, emotions, music.
Left-brain functions include:
Reason, analysis, logic, spoken words.
The indwelling Holy Spirit is sensed as “flow:”
Out of your innermost being shall flow...this He spoke of the Spirit (Jn. 7:37-39).
One must know how to change hemispheres based on which hemisphere is needed for the job he is doing, and also how to tune to the “flow” of the Holy Spirit within him. (Mark and Patti Virkler teach these skills in the book Communion with God.)
1. Write using the RIGHT hemisphere - following the anointing. I always begin my writing projects by moving to the right hemisphere and writing out of “flow.” The right hemisphere is where creativity, spirit, flow, pictures and emotions originate and are registered. I want my book to have all of these. My book must come from the river of God within my heart. Therefore, I pray, asking God to anoint my writing, I establish an attitude of faith in the Spirit’s flow, which resides within me, and I tune to flow and begin writing in faith. I trust the Holy Spirit to “bubble up” to my attention those things which should be written, and in the order that they should be written, if I keep a picture in the back of my mind of Jesus speaking to the intended reader through me, as discussed in the section below.
Since music is a right-brain function, SOFT classical music or string music may help you tune to flow. However, don’t use songs with words. Speech, you may recall, is a left-brain function. If your background music has words being sung or if you know words to it, it will probably be counter-productive to your goal of tuning to heart flow. The words will keep pulling you back to the left hemisphere and disrupting the flow.
Principle: Use vision to move to the right hemisphere and to purify the flow within. Vision is a right-brain function, so one can easily move from the left hemisphere to the right by holding a picture in his mind as he writes.
Principle: “The flow” is directed by the vision being held before one’s eyes. Since my goal is to bring the revelation of God to the hearts and lives of my readers, I have a picture of God communicating to the people to whom I am writing. I hold this picture (i.e. of Jesus speaking to the intended audience) in the back of my mind as I write. This causes the book to have an anointing and a flow, because I am constantly in the state of vision and “Spirit flow” as I write.
Principle: The wrong picture in your mind distorts the flow. If you do not purposely maintain a picture of God speaking to the people you are writing to, then another picture will inadvertently, unconsciously appear there. Whatever that picture is, it will be guiding the flow of your writing, making your writing less pure, less anointed, and less powerful.
For example, I might unconsciously develop a vision of myself driving my point down my opponent’s throat as I write, or I may recall a picture of some unhealed hurt in my past, and I may vent and steam about that hurt as I write. This causes the flow of my writing to become impure. It is no longer the clear anointed revelation of God.
If, as I write, I am picturing Jesus speaking to the reader of the book, THEN FLOW ONLY GIVES TO ME those things my reader needs to read and hear in order to be touched and moved in the direction in which God wants to take him. In this situation, “I” have become transparent, and I am simply bringing together the river of God and the heart of my reader. I have lost my life in Christ as I write. This is so much better than being lost in my own unhealed hurts or my own pride.
Principle: Stories touch the heart, ideas touch the mind. If you write in story form, your audience will love you because stories touch the heart and ideas only touch the mind. A book full of ideas may instruct the mind. A book full of stories will move the heart. Long-term change only results from a changed heart. Being a left-brain individual myself, all my early books are left-brain, idea-type books. My more recent books are storybooks. I believe that is a great improvement in my writing style.
Principle: God reasons by painting pictures (Isa. 1:18). First God paints a picture of man’s need, and then a picture of His solution. Note God using this process below:
“Come now, and let us REASON together,” saith the LORD: “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
I suspect painting back-to-back pictures (of man’s needs next to God’s provision) is the most powerful writing and speaking style there is. I recommend this for all writers and speakers, and seek to use it myself.
2. Revise using the RIGHT hemisphere - adding more anointing. As I go back and reread my first draft, more ideas “spring” to my heart and mind. I add them to the manuscript. This is the Spirit filling in, deepening and broadening sections of the book.
3. Revise using the RIGHT hemisphere - until you come to complete peace. I reread the book again, asking my heart if it is at peace about each section and each paragraph. If my heart feels uneasy about anything, I rewrite it until there is peace. The uneasiness is because I have not stated something accurately, properly, or in the right spirit. Keep rewriting until your heart jumps up and screams, “Yes!” Then the anointing upon your manuscript is complete.
4. Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, clarifying each sentence. Now it is time to begin analyzing the book from a logical point of view, making sure all the thoughts are properly connected and build logically upon one another, making sure each sentence and paragraph is clear and cannot be misunderstood. I do this by reading each sentence and asking, “How could my reader misunderstand this sentence?” Then I change anything that could be misunderstood. Generally, I am shortening sentences, switching pronouns to nouns, and doing anything else that will make the thought crystal clear. Principle: Anything that can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.
5. Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, adding headings throughout. One way of clarifying my thought processes and my readers’ thought processes, and keeping us both tracking together is for me to add headings into the text. These headings may ask questions which I am going to answer in the next several paragraphs, or may make bold statements, which I am going to explain. They tend to highlight the movement and transitions of thought and keep the text more stimulating than 100 pages of solid print.
6. Revise using the LEFT hemisphere, adding documentation and finalizing reference notes. You must always give clear recognition to the sources used in your research with a bibliography and reference notes. Unless a fact is common knowledge (something mentioned by nearly everyone who writes about the subject), you should tell where you learned it. There are three main reasons for this: 1) to preserve your honesty and integrity; 2) to lend authority to your work; and 3) to make it easy for the reader to find out more about the information you have given.
To avoid plagiarism, you must give reference notes for all facts, ideas and quotations taken from another person. In addition, if you have not completely paraphrased your source, put quotation marks around the phrase or sentence(s) taken from someone else, as well as giving the reference note.
If you are not sure of the proper form of a bibliography and reference notes, refer to an authoritative source in your local library for instruction.
7. Do a final reading, looking to see if you have a good balance between right and left hemispheres. If you become too left-brain, the book will be dry. Add stories whenever it loses spark. If you become too right-brain, there will be many stories but no clear thread, which draws them together, and readers will become confused. In this case, add a heading, which helps the readers understand why the story has been included, or make an initial or summarizing statement concerning the story.
Stage Four: Add personal application questions
Add application and discussion questions at the end of each chapter which draw the reader into the personal application of the principles discussed in the chapter.
Discussion questions should revolve around the six pillars for discovering truth as discussed in the text Experiencing God in the Small Group. Following are the six pillars and some sample questions from which you may draw as you develop meaningful discussion questions.
Questions concerning illumined Scriptures:
What has God shown you from Scripture concerning this topic? Are there examples of this in Scripture? What can we learn from Scripture about this? Have you ever studied all the verses in the Bible on this topic? Has anyone? Can you draw from their research? Has God illumined any verses to your heart concerning this topic? Pray about this verse as it relates to the topic under discussion. What is God saying to you through this verse? Write down what He is saying and come prepared to share it in class.
Questions concerning illumined thoughts:
What are your illumined or spontaneous thoughts on the issue? Do they seem to line up with the ways of God? Remember God’s ways are not our ways. Have you had any spontaneous thoughts about this topic while you have been doing automatic activities? If so, what were these thoughts? Write them down and come prepared to share them with others.
Questions concerning illumined understanding of life’s experiences:
Have you tried it? What happened? How did it work? What has been your experience? What have you learned from your experience? Have you journaled about your experience? What has God shown you about your experience? Would you recommend others try it? Is experience teaching you that you have realized the truth in this area or are you still missing some insights? (The evidence that you are walking in truth is that you are getting the results that the Bible says you should be getting - i.e. no condemnation, effective healing ministry, etc.)
Questions concerning what your heart is sensing:
How does your heart feel? Are you at peace about the issue? Is your heart disturbed or at rest? Are you ill at ease? Is your heart comfortable?
Questions concerning receiving illumined counsel from others:
Have you read any books on the subject by spiritual authors? Have you received any input from the hearts of other spiritual brothers or sisters in the body of Christ? What are they saying? What are their experiences? What insights do they have from Scripture? What have they tried that didn’t work? What have they tried that did work? Have any non-Christians researched this area intensely and discovered anything of importance? If so, who and what?
Questions concerning the direct revelation of God to you:
What is God saying to you through your journal? What is God saying to you through your dreams? What is God showing you through visions? What is God speaking to you through prophecy from the Body of Christ? Record what God is saying and come to class prepared to share it with others.
Stage Five: Get critiques and endorsements
Send it out for three to six critiques and endorsements. These should come from people who have thought much about the area about which you have written so they can speak authoritatively and intelligently into it, and their critiques and endorsements will have value and weight. Make every attempt to get endorsements from the top people in the field about which you are writing.
Prayerfully add their suggestions into your text.
Stage Six: Turn it over to proofers and editors
Utilize a minimum of two proofers who each go through it carefully at least two times checking for grammar, spelling, clarity, etc. If you are not good with grammar and spelling, have one of these people proof it once before you send it out for critiques and endorsements.
Stage Seven: Copyright, publish and market
The book is automatically copyrighted by you if you put the word “copyright” or its symbol in the front of the book and your name above or under it. You may file this copyright with the U.S. government for about $25 if you desire by filling in Copyright Form TX and mailing it to Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. 20559. The value of filing the copyright with the government is that if there should ever be anyone who wants to steal your book, you would have proof that it is yours.
If you need to get an ISBN number for your book, Mark Virkler has purchased 100 of these and can sell you one much cheaper than the $250 they charge if you purchase ISBN numbers one at a time ([email protected]). My charge to you will be $25 per ISBN. These can then be registered at http://www.isbn.org/ . There is a free service to create bar codes at: http://www.tux.org/~milgram/bookland/#online
To find publishing companies which might want to publish your book, purchase a copy of Writers’ Market which lists all current publishers, what they want to publish, a contact person, and what that contact person would want you to send him so he can consider publishing your book.
The other alternative is to self-publish the book. You should plan on investing about $10,000 for this venture and printing about 5000 books if you are printing in the U.S.
We do printing of 2000+ copies at a time at a great discount through a company in Thailand. Contact “Asia Communications” http://www.Actsco.org
Check out PublishAmerica http://www.publishamerica.com/
They cover the cost of printing and they do lots of books
For those who would like to proceed with getting your book published, we can suggest a few P.O.D. (Print-On-Demand) publishing companies that you may want to consider.
All of these publishers offer many options, so please check out their web sites completely and thoroughly to have a complete understanding of the benefits and services included with each package. Some services may cost extra.
- Snow Fall Press: www.snowfallpress.com. The way it works is that you upload your book and the artwork for your cover and then order a sample copy to make sure all of the margins are properly aligned. You can make adjustments if necessary before reordering. Although they warn you that they don't really offer customer service for people who can't figure it out on their own I have found them to be very responsive in going above and beyond their stated policy.
- Lulu: www.lulu.com
This is a secular company, but seems to be less expensive than most others. Basic printing cost per book is $4.53 plus .02 per B/W page. Bulk discounts begin at twenty-six copies. Distribution services are extra. Their services do not include formatting or cover design, nor do they have customer phone support.
- Lifevest Publishing: www.lifevestpublishing.com
This is a Christian company that specializes in children's books, Christian works, and poetry. Their packages start at $699 and include complete interior layout and a basic cover design, with the author providing the artwork. Order processing and fulfillment is also included in package prices.
- Pleasant Word (Division of WinePress Publishers): www.pleasantword.com
This is a Christian company. Their packages start at $799 and include text formatting and cover design using available templates. Packages that include distribution begin at $999.
- Xulon Press: www.xulonpress.com
This company, founded by Christian author and publisher Tom Freiling, is now a part of Salem Communications Corporation. Their publishing packages start at $999. Not only do they provide formatting and cover design, each author is assigned a personal author service representative. Distribution services are included with packages beginning at $1499.
- Lightning Source https://www.lightningsource.com
A Christian company offering many services.
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Email: [email protected]
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Q. I know you offer a 100% guarantee, but how much work is this going to be on my part?
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