With the news that my book, Blue Blood, is coming out next week, I want to take this opportunity to answer a few questions that some people might have about the project:
What is it and how did it happen?
Blue Blood is a history of the Indianapolis Colts. Some of you may be aware that I run a popular blog about the football team. I also wrote a novel in my spare time. The novel is about basketball in a small town. In trying to get an agent to represent the novel, a non-fiction agent strongly encouraged me to write about football and said he would represent the project if I did. Having attended Colts games since 1986, I felt I had a unique opportunity to tell the history of the team since it came to Indianapolis. I started writing in January and finished in March. I wrote in my spare time (which is limited). Yes, it was extremely stressful, because we knew the book needed to be ready for this summer if it was going to do well.
Why are you are writing books?
There are several reasons that both Deb and I have been working on literary projects
1. Our team is philosophically committed to finding new ways to fund missions work. Deb and I both have writing talents, and we felt that it was our obligation to use them to find ways to solve the funding crisis that all missionaries face. We are just trying to do our part.
2. It gives us a clear, understandable answer when Argentines ask us, “What are you doing here?”. We are writers who work with churches. That answer makes more sense to people than, “We are missionaries”.
3. We want to set an example to Argentine youth of how to practice bi-vocational ministry. We want them to reach the Muslim world, but they won’t get in as ‘missionaries’. They need examples of people willing to work bivocationally. We want to be role models they can follow.
4. We’ve got stories to tell and love to tell them!
When do you write?
We carve out space in the day. Deb and I try to give each other space and time to do uninterrupted work. It isn’t easy. Because until now, our writing hasn’t generated any income (I make about $50 a month from my blog!), we have been careful not to let writing interfere with any of our normal ‘missionary responsibilities’. Until now, this has been a hobby for our free time.
Why not write Christian books?
There are two answers:
1. We are Christians. Everything we write is from the perspective of a Christian and is imbued with our view of the world. Even my book on the Colts is a Christian book. I can’t write any other kind of book!
2. Though there are expressly “Biblical” projects that I hope to pursue eventually, the truth is that writing strictly to the church doesn’t meet with our overarching goals. We want to ‘make tents’. I don’t want to write ‘Biblical’ books until I can offer them as gifts to the church. Right now, we are pursuing commercial endeavors so as to not be a burden to our supporters. The time will come for other kinds of projects, but when I write them, I want to be able to view them as gifts rather than a means to earn money.
What will happen to the money?
All money I make on the sale of Blue Blood goes:
1. To help Rich and Jil Elledge make it back to Argentina. They need roughly $20-25K a year (more) for the next three years. I hope to make a dent in that.
2. If we are satisfied that they can come back, Deb and I would like to augment our GBIM salary. We have been operating $5-7K a year under the recommended missionary salary since joining the mission 8 years ago. I cannot in good conscience ask for another penny from all of you for myself. I know how deeply our team (you!) is sacrificing to keep us here. Still, the financial pressures on us are real. You’ve done your part. We are trying to do ours.
3. If we can get our team up to full salary, then I will seek to use any book profits to live on, thus reducing our support level. We are a loooong way from that, however.
My eventual goal would be to be able to provide my own salary from my writing, and depend on all of you for the various other expenses we have. This project is just the first step, and will not get us there.
What other projects do you have?
I have written a novel, Invincible, Indiana, that is currently being shopped by an agent.
Deb has also written a novel for young adults that is the first in a series. We are currently exploring representation and publication options for her books. We are investigating new and nontraditional publishing options.
Deb has a blog as well: tellmeastorymommy.com
Where can I purchase Blue Blood?
Blue Blood will be on sale June 9th. Blue Blood will be for sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other major retailers. You can check out the site
for more details.
Anyway, I hope this letter makes the how and whys of things clear. We covet your prayers in this whole process. We see writing as a big part of our ministry and our future. We need wisdom and guidance at every step of the process.