Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wanted: Feedback on my Book

One concept for my book's cover art.

It's true: I've written a book.  Don't be too impressed, though--it's not all that long.  It is designed to be readable in 3-4 hours.

The topic is something I have thought about for years, as I experienced tragedy upon tragedy and found myself continually on the receiving end of the service continuum.  The book will likely be entitled "The Other Side of Charity: Confessions of Love, Loss and Hope" and will be published by Deseret Book sometime next year.


My question for you, my readers, is this: in what format would you read a wee book like mine?  Digital, or print?  Given the topic, what format do you think best?  What kind of books do you generally read?  
In your comments, if you'd like to also leave your email address (I'd recommend [name at host dot com] format so web crawlers won't find it!), I'd be happy to send you the completed introductory chapter.  

Here's a bit from the introduction:

My next lessons in receiving began as a teenager. I contracted strep throat and one of its evil after-effects (for which antibiotics are designed to prevent): poststreptococcal glomerulnephritis. Along with making me very ill, from this I experienced my first episode of a mysterious walking disorder. This disorder would plague me in inconvenient, 24-hours-to-one-month episodes over the next eleven years, catching me in the middle of AP exams as a high school senior in 1997, in the ruins of Pompei, Italy in 2000, twice on my mission in 2001 (the second episode to send me home in a wheelchair), during my last semester of law school in 2005, and twice in 2007 while working furiously to help the non-profit that I co-founded become self-sufficient. During these episodes, I was served by parents, siblings, friends, roommates, classmates, employees, and dedicated Relief Societies. Often, I was bed or wheel-chair bound. The termination of the episodes was always uncertain and, if I went back to full-speed too soon, the legs would go—again—as quickly as they had returned.

....*

[A]lthough the service rendered at each loss of legs or family helped me physically and emotionally, I did not allow this service to penetrate my spirit and sanctify me. As an adopted mother once told me, I had taken but not received.

The difference is spiritual. Just as one might perform service without being charitable, I had accepted service without being charitable. Worse, with every new act of service rendered me, the guilt and presumed debts I incurred steadily mounted. No matter how many thank you notes I wrote or how much I committed to serve my companions, roommates, friends, or ward in return, I felt I would never balance the service ledger.

As it has been for me, receiving charity is often much more difficult for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Christians to allow and to have. “Charity” often conjures visions of baking casseroles, making a quilt, or preparing personal hygiene kits for refugees in a cultural hall assembly line. Most of us remember Paul telling us that this action-charity is “sounding brass” without the feeling-charity. This means the service is empty and hollow yet sounds really good! It also avails us nothing in our spiritual quest to the Savior unless it is done with pure intent. So it is with receiving these casseroles, quilts, and hygiene kits. Although we can go through the motions of graciousness and even feel real gratitude for such gifts, unless we charitably open our hearts to the gifts and the givers to receive them, we accomplish “nothing” in allowing the experience to draw us closer to the Savior. So it was with me. I was exhibit “A” in the sounding brass category. And, unfortunately, I insisted on learning to receive charity the hard way.

It has been difficult to write something like this, as it is incredibly personal.  Yet my hope (and purpose in being so very personal) is that something I've learned along the way may possibly be helpful to someone, somewhere.  Hopefully.
Thanks so much for your feedback on whether you would prefer digital or print!

*As you may discern, I skipped over my summary of a few other experiences, as they might not be fit for the light-heartedness of a blog.  

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I am impressed.
    And touched right down to my soul.
    You've taught me a lesson already with only a few paragraphs.

    While I have an eReader and use it, I still prefer books. A slim volume like you are proposing is the type of thing I might give as a gift. I'm not sure how to give an ebook to someone, but I suppose I could figure it out:)

    I wish you all the best with your book. It's going to be wonderful.

    cathy dot ferguson101 at gmail dot com

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  2. Good concepts to learn-there's great value in a work like this.

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  3. I found your blog a few months ago on my wanderings from here to there and have been blog-stalking you since. I hope you don't mind. I think your book sounds very interesting. Much of my master's degree research focused on how people use different types of media (specifically digital vs. print). From what I have read and found in my own research (and practice), it's less about length and more about topic. Digital is successful for gathering information and social connections. Print is successful for diversion, escape, and also social connection to an extent. Because of your topic, I think your book would be successful in either format, as long as the digital format is on an e-reader. However, I'm sure it would also work in a print format because of the emotional factor involved. Anyway, I'd love to look at your introductory chapter, if you're willing. My email address is maurianne at gmail dot com.

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  4. @ Cathy - really good point. Perhaps the nature of the book lends itself to the intended beneficiaries receiving it - as gifts, as they would never buy it for themselves. Interesting. Thanks!

    @ Mauri - Not a problem at all. Do you run your own blog? I'll email (both of you), but do you think I could read your thesis in exchange? Thanks!

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  5. You are brave to share yourself like this and I really appreciate that you're willing to share to help others. I enjoyed talking with you (and the others) Monday eve and appreciated you sharing what you did. I prefer books in print, but I am seriously considering electronic in the future. I would love to read more (kim dot catron dot gmail dot com -- I'm glad your other reader explained what you meant by that! ha!).

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  6. This sounds like it will be an amazing book, and moreso that powerful concepts will be conveyed so concisely. I normally consume books in print, and, as already mentioned, this sounds like the kind of book that could be bought many times as a gift for another.

    Is it that hard, once published in paper, for DB to add it to their collection of eBooks? Is the hurdle to print publication stratospheric compared to electronic?

    Either way, having read the excerpt above, I'm buying it whatever the format...

    nathaniel at chell dot org

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