#2 Passage to Purpose: A Manuscript
When my family left the church where I taught and wrote seven book length teaching series, my faith in God was shaken to its core. I had walked through a twenty year desert. Shortly before I taught my first class, God revealed, via the gifts of the Spirit, that long endurance gives a greater anointing. At last my time had come to give my gift. God rewarded me with an assignment to teach in Hell. Then the shepherd scattered his flock robbing me of a place to teach.
I spent many days sitting in a dark place crying before I remembered the murmurings, “You should be published.” Before I ended up in a padded cell banging my head on a wall, I took one of the teaching series I’d written and attempted to turn it into a manuscript. The project lifted me from my depression.
When I completed the manuscript, I sought a professional opinion. An internet search brought me to Word Wright Consulting Services. The credentials of the editor looked impressive: Teaching Fellow, John Hopkins University, Master of Arts in writing. I requested evaluations he had prepared for other writers and read two Christian books he had written. The evaluations offered constructive criticism to help the author improve the manuscript, and I loved his writing style in the books he wrote. Satisfied he was a talented writer who could give me an honest opinion I paid him for an evaluation of my manuscript.
Several months later, I received the evaluation and groaned. I expected five to ten pages explaining how I could improve my manuscript. The first paragraph of the evaluation read as follows:
“Teena, I find Steps of Faith a dynamic, refreshing and incisive “grand teaching tour” of the nature and meaning of faith. Your choice to “unpack” the subject as modeled by the “father of the faithful,” Abraham is an anointed one indeed, especially because it allows your reader full understanding of how true faith and true foibles can coexist in us all-too-humans, and how grace alone enables us to walk as overcomers despite those flaws, sins and weaknesses to which “the flesh” is heir. Because you achieve these things so well, you offer, without compromise and without self-righteousness, hope for the journey and plenty of “equipment” with which believers can themselves follow in Abraham’s steps. For undertaking the monumental task of pursuing these lessons, first as “live” teachings, then in book form, I thank you personally, for I’ve received from your work many valuable insights that will help me in my own walk with the Lord.”
The praise continued for six pages and concluded, “Fine as is its content, your manuscript needs sorely some line-by-line editing, to clear up things like typos, punctuation errors, some grammar glitches here and there…That’s something we can talk about…”
Even though the other evaluations lacked the praise in mine, I reasoned that my first effort at producing a manuscript could not have been that good and found his evaluation of my work suspicious. Flattery, I assumed, so he could get more money from me to fix the grammar. He offered to do the work at 1.5 cents per word. I compared his offer with the rates of other professional editors and found an average of .07 cents per word. Even at the rock bottom price I had been offered, the total came to several thousand dollars. A sum I could not afford. I thanked the editor at Word Wright for his generous offer, tossed the manuscript on a shelf, and decided I had reached the end of the road. I was wrong. The journey wasn’t over, but more about that in my next post.