My New Book Has Taken Over My Head

What I should do is kill this blog. It’s about my only hope for finishing the book I’m now writing, which is so important to me I can’t think about anything else anyway.

Then again, stop blogging? Nayeth! I sayeth unto your eyeballs.

The working title of my new book is All In … Almost: My Life Between the Sanity and Insanity of Christianity. It’s an exploration of my thoughts and experiences of Christianity before and after my adult conversion.

The book is being represented by my new literary agent Kathy Helmers, of Creative Trust, Inc. Among the writers Kathy represents are Donald Miller, Philip Yancey, Ted Dekker, and Brian McLaren.

So, you know: Yikes.

We’re not expecting to sell All In to Christian publishers, who aren’t likely to want to be associated with what I say, or how I say it. But one never knows. A lot of people in Christian publishing these days say they want stuff that’s “raw” and “real,” that “pushes the envelope.” We’ll see.

If you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you know that within it I write about everything from … well, Appliance Porn and My Ghetto Laundromat to Letting the Beatitudes Quell Your Attitudes. The freedom to write whatever, whenever, and however I want is my favorite thing about blogging.

But writing in my usual eclectic manner and writing All In is starting to hurt my head.

So I thought that for a while now I would combine writing my blog with writing All In … Almost; that is, that I would blog about what it’s like to be writing this book. I figure it’s possible you guys are interested in everything from how I ended up writing this particular book; to what the book means to me personally; to how I ended up with an agent like Kathy Helmers; to how books these day are being marketed and sold, and what that all might mean to me. All that sort of thing.

Plus, I thought you guys might like to track what happens to the book as, over the next two months, it moves from the outline it is now, to manuscript, to proposal, to (if I’m lucky) Actual Published Book. How’s all that that go? How many words a day am I writing? When do I have to stop writing the book, and start writing the (freaking) proposal it? What is a book proposal? Who is Kathy showing the book to? How are they responding to it? What sorts of things do publishers take into account when they’re deciding whether or not to publish your book? What happens to the book–and what do I do–if no one buys it?

Am I freaking out about the fact that it’s no exaggeration to say I’ve been working my whole life just praying that someone would ever give me a chance to write a book exactly like this one?

All that sort of stuff is the only thing I’m thinking about these days anyway. I figure I might as well share it with you guys. What’s a blog for, if not to share what’s happening in your life and head? (Oh: for what it’s worth, no content from this blog will be in All In.)

If you would like to come along with me on my journey with this book, please do. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t even be writing it; your readership and encouragement is what has moved me to this place. (Oh: for what it’s worth, no content from this blog will be in All In.) You’ve gotten me into the big leagues; stick with me now, and let’s see now if I hit a home run, or a double, or strike out, or what.

[Update: You can read the opening of my new book here.]

Like This!



Don't click if you don't like me

"You have the floor Pastor he said it as we all faced that product of ..."

The fundamentally toxic Christianity
"Save souls, nourish them as the devil roars for opportunity to steal, kill and destroy. ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"Sorry for your loss."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"We will see our loved ones but only those who had a relationship with jesus ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ken

    I have always been amazed and awed by your humor, hope you get to put one of those conversations in there (like the Adam & Eve, Satan & God) I believe you are like God, funny and full of humour 🙂 Rock on!!!

  • Thanks, Ken. I, too, believe that I am like God: vindictive and demanding of worship.


    See, this is why Christian publishers don't know what to do with me ….

  • ken

    You have made my day!!!!! (evening in this part of the world)

  • I'll be honored to heckle… er… follow…er… cheer on the progress of your book.

    If you kill the blog, I'll be forced to send the Shields Hit Squad to San Diego to track you down.

  • DR

    I will expect Kathy to include us on all reviews. Can we get her cell number? I will want to provide extensive notes.

    (This is so cool. I'm not surprised at all that someone wants to take you and bottle you up in a book. In a Church that's going through such purification, it's well needed).

  • I'm thrilled to hear about your new book and cannot WAIT to read it. (Unless, of course, I've already read the whole thing via your blog.) And what great company you're in with those publishers! Congratulations. I know it will be an important book. You have a very unique voice and point of view. God needs you to help get the word out about Him in postmodern parlance. Just think… you could do for someone (or many someones) what C.S. Lewis did for me! Which was to literally turn my life upside down… in the best way.

  • Thanks, Margaret, very much. And thanks for reminding me to go back to this post and include in it the fact that no content from my blog will be in the book.

  • Robert Meek

    Well, I don't have any "Hit Squad" in my arsenal to summon up, but I do have Miss FiFi, Her Royal Poodleness, She Who Reigns Supreme and Must Be Obeyed, and I shall unleash HER on ya' ol fella, and SHE will put a good ol-fashioned Southern WHOMPIN' on ya with that tail of hers, and you will know you've been WHOMPPED, even if she IS a 12-pound 11-year old K-9. Let me tell you, she's not one to tangle with – when she stomps her paw, gives you that "evil eye" glare of hers, and goes after you! I know, as I am her Doggy Daddy, and know who runs things here – NOT ME!!! 😉 😉 😉

  • Laurie Rawson

    Ha! I will gleen as much info from you as possible. Thanks for sharing.I am also in the deep throws of writing a book myself.(thank yo God for spel chick)..Hope all goes well for you.

  • How exciting, Jon!

    Looking forward to reading all that is in your heart to share and following the process as well. This is good news indeed!



  • DR

    Does she call it the bat phone? I want a bat phone to be involved in this project. "Kathy! I have some edits! Shall I call you on the bat phone?"

  • Elizabeth

    (Excuse me, pardon me, ma'am. Can you tell me if this is the line to pledge allegiance to John Shore? It is? Wow, I'm glad I got here early. Just look at all of those people coming in behind us…)

    One of the first things I ever wrote to you, John, was that reading you was a hell of a ride. Well, I bought the around-the-world, unlimited ticket. No refunds, no returns. I can't wait to see where you end up next.

    Although, I do think you're missing out on a golden opportunity to call your book, Wow, Dickish Much? My Experiences With Christians and Other Troublemakers.

    Two months from now, I'll be in the stands behind home plate wearing the big foam finger that says, You're Number One. And I don't think I'll be alone.

  • DR

    As usual, Elizabeth inspires. John, have a contest for book cover and or book title. I think it would be so interesting to see what people will think you'll write which could be such an interesting insight into what people *read* when they read you.

    And for the prize, offer a pony. Or a Starbucks gift card, either one.

  • I LOVE "Wow, Dickish Much?" My Experiences with Christians and Other Troublemakers. I like it a LOT. A lot a lot. Very nice, Elizabeth. I could see actually USING it. If I do, I'll be sure to take credit for it.

    Maybe I should have a "Title My Book" contest. You guys are all good that way.

    I very much like "All In … Almost," but am not crazy in love with the subtitle–although it does a LOT I need it to.

  • Jennie

    To quote you: "Yayeth!" Don't kill the blog if you can handle it all — looking forward to tracking your progress and peeking inside the process.

  • Thanks, Jennie, very much. And no, I can't kill the blog: it's what publishers … like about me. I kill this blog, and they walk away.

  • You know, I REALLY like that subtitle. I might change the current titleso I can use it. I can't use "Dickish"; publishers wouldn't take it. But something like, "'Wow, Obnoxious Much?' My Experiences with Christians and Other Troublemakers" is really, really solid. I dig it.

  • The John Shore Obnoxious Troublemakers. (From Brian Shield's comment above.)

    How great is THAT?

    Man, I'm GLAD I decided to blog about all this book stuff. Better title; awesome T-shirt idea. You guys rock.

  • Appalachiana

    You're right that you need to get that book out of your head. Those pointy book corners hurt and it's too dark up there in the old cranium to read. If your bookmark falls into the ol' central sulcus, your never going to get that book outta your noggin. It'll be wedged between the two hemispheres of your thoughtful orb.

    But kill the blog? No, don't do that. I want to hear all about your journey. Maybe it'll inspire your readers to write and publish (or depending on the story of your experience–to avoid like a case of shingles). It would be great fun to follow your progress, and reading the work of a split-brained author could be quite interesting.

    Silliness aside, good luck on the book. I hope you will be able to find time to share your journey with us.

  • No. Some its core ideas will be further fleshed out, but … well, for one, in the book I'll be saying things I basically haven't dared to in this blog.

    Anyway, the short answer is no: The content of the book will be all new.

  • There are things that you haven't dared to say in this blog? I shudder at the thought. Shudder with excitement, that is.

  • Diana

    "…for one, in the book I’ll be saying things I basically haven’t dared to in this blog."

    For real? Wow! Now I know I've got to get the book. Good for you! Hurry up and get writing, so it can get published and we can read it!

  • Jeannie

    I enjoy reading your blog, but I look forward to your book as you have described it. So, hopefully you will not have to chose one over the other. I am fascinated with Christians who don't fit today's mass marketed, cookie cutter mold. I look forward to hearing of your progress.

  • To Elizabeth above, and her comment at… (hey, I just found out: if you click on the time that any comment was left, the url for that specific comment appears in your address bar!–from which of course it's an easy cut-and-paste): Have you really ever kept even one quote from anything I've written? Well … I guess you have.

    Wow! Nice! Thank you!

    Now that is is the kind of thing that makes publishers and agents … you know … sit funny.

    God bless you, Elizabeth. Way to make me seem, well, quotable.

    I should make a point of writing quotable stuff!!

    Ah. Today, outside the window of the office in which I mine and scribe the unfinished gemstones of my soul, I see the mist is gathering like unto the worries that cloud the mighty brow of Zeus.

    Wait. That sucked.

    Ah, the mist. Though it may rust the automobiles that tread upon the highways and byways, it does but serve as a lubricant ….

    Whoa, whoa. Okay, even I can't help but notice you never see the word "lubricant" in a famous quote.

    Okay, I'll get back to you guys with this. In the meantime, keep pretending I'm quotable!

  • No, as I say, I won't skip a beat with the blog. Thank you, Jeannie.

  • The book sounds great! And the fact that Christian publishers don't know what to do with you says way more about them than it does about you. (Though that's cold comfort when they're the gatekeepers.) Here's hoping your awesome mega-agent can help you drag some publisher's sorry butt into the 21st century.

  • Spoken like a true guy who used to work as an editor in the Christian book business.

  • Don Whitt

    In the spirit of Elizabeth's foamy finger and Brian's hit squad, I'm forming the Nat'l Organization of Shore's Hecklers, Idiots and Troublemakers. T-shirts emblazoned with our acronym will be available soon at Cafe Press.

  • Diana

    “See, this is why Christian publishers don’t know what to do with me ….”

    Yes, and why you’re actually able to reach people who have grown wary of the more “Holier Than Thou” Christian Machine. Hey, the religious establishment didn’t know what to do with Jesus either, which is why they had him cruci–oh wait. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up. Sorry about that!

  • You’re forgiven. You knew not what you did.

  • I fear the Shields Hit Squad.

  • Thanks, DR. I’d be happy to post Kathy H.’s cell phone number, but she seems to have changed it. And her business office number, too. And her e- and snail-mail addresses. I can’t seem to get through to her at all. But I’m sure that situation is temporary; for awhile there, I was calling and emailing her about twenty times a day. I’m sure she misses that.

  • amelia

    To quote our beloved author, "Nice."

    And I really don't give a flying flip about the date and time he wrote that, so there. I'll go back to melting while simultaneously sipping my sweet tea, now…acrimonious acronyms…T-shirt, anyone? 🙂

  • I am proud to be a founding member of “The John Shore Obnoxious Troublemakers”

    Maybe we can get some t-shirts made.

  • Diana

    Here’s a thought (stolen directly from the book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working” by Tony Schwartz–a book I highly recommend): what if you were to set aside an hour and a half per day of your designated writing time to work on the blog and then devote the rest of your working time to the book? This way, you could be assured that you were giving enough time to both projects. Of course, you might need to also specifically designate time for responding to the comments–or perhaps opt to stay out of the comment threads, depending upon what works best for you. Like I said, just a thought.

  • Thank you, Chad. That’s very kind of you!

  • Diana

    Elizabeth really did come up with the ultimate book title. Kudos to her!

  • Susan

    Will any content from this blog be included in the book?

  • Elizabeth

    Aw, shucks, guys. I’m glad you like my title but it was no biggy. “Wow. Dickish much?” was a comment of John’s on May 13, 2010 at 7:10 AM in response to Brent Rasmussen’s critique of “My Conversion Experience: Real, or Synaptic Misfirings?”

    I dragged out my special notebook with all my favorite John Shore-isms in it, written with my Baby Jesus pen in holy water ink and looked up… um, just like anyone else, right? Doesn’t everyone take notes on this blog? Never mind.

    I also tried but failed to work in “doinknut,” as in “By all accounts Picasso was a real doinknut of a human. Should that fact stop me from being enamored of his art?” (December 3, 2009).

  • I could use one of those.

  • Susan

    I was joking.

  • Gina Powers

    @Don: an acrimonious acronym or a sweet tea? Sorry…I just had to….;).

    @Robert Meet and Elizabeth: could you guys rock any more?

    @John S: You take down this blog, and–well, put it this way, if you think I’ve been annoying up until this point…..Mwwahahahaahaha!!!! In all seriousness, keep on doin’ your thing, bro….you’ve been a much needed spiritual shot in the arm for me lately, and your work has been pretty instrumental in my current reconnection with my maker (we’re such a tempestuous pair, God and I….so to speak). You da man! Well, one of them, anyway…;).

  • I want a t-shirt! I want all your books. I want the blog and all the info you promised. Please…

  • Good luck!

  • nelma e

    *** The new book sounds pretty interesting…and intriquing.