A Little Something about E-Publishing

Patton Dodd, a long-time friend, is the executive editor of a new publishing venture called Bondfire Books. He interviewed me about my own foray into ebooks and posted the intertview on the Bondfire blog:

One of my favorite short ebooks of this year–and given my love of Byliner, Kindle Singles, and The Atavist, and my work at Bondfire and Patheos Press, I read more than my fair share–is one you may not heard of unless you’re a theology nerd: Tony Jones’ A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin. Fortunately for Tony Jones, theology nerds aren’t hard to find, especially online, but they aren’t exactly an audience that major publishers are lining up to serve.

That makes Jones’ ebook a perfect example of one of the best things about epublishing today–authors can serve even the niche-iest of audiences with a low-cost, quick-to-market title.

Low-cost and quick-to-market do not mean “cheap.” A Better Atonement is less than 15,000 words long–you can read it in a single evening–and costs less than a latte, but it offers a helpful, thoughtful, and balanced overview of the dominant views of the atonement, that hard-to-pin down doctrine about how humans can be reconciled to God. I’m not a theology nerd so much as I am theologically curious, but I found the book an ideal primer on the major schools of thought about Christian atonement, and I appreciated seeing Jones consider how the received wisdom of an idea like “original sin” inspires particular ways of thinking about salvation. If I were teaching the atonement to a group of students or leading a church discussion, I’d have a hard time coming up with a better introductory resource.

Click thru to read the interview: A Better Ebook: Tony Jones’ “A Better Atonement” | Bondfire Books.

Raised Right? Or Wrong?

This is a sponsored post and part of the Patheos Book Club.  Check out the Book Club for more posts on this book and for responses from the author.

Years ago, I received a manuscript in the mail from my dear friends at Jossey-Bass.  It was in the midst of a glut of books in the suddenly popular sub-genre of religious memoir (think Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott, and Lauren Winner), and it was a book by a guy who had attended ORU and then seen the error of his ways.  I declined, writing something like, “The world needs another memoir by a 27-year-old like I need another hole in my head.”

The book was by Patton Dodd, who has become a friend of mine and, as fate would have it, is now the managing editor of Patheos.  (I’ve told Patton this story, and he has forgiven me for not endorsing his book.)

I’ve generally held to this in the years since; few memoirs hold my attention — a recent exception is David Carr’s riveting Night of the Gun, about which I’ve already blogged.

Alisa Harris’s Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from My Politics is just this: a religious memoir by a young woman who has seen the error of her parents’ ways.

[Read more...]


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