Welcome to today’s episode of the podcast. This one was a long time coming, as it had been on my mind to invite today’s guest on the show for quite a while, but I never went for it until a few months ago. I guess you could say I’m putting into practice some stuff I talked about a few episodes ago with David Edwards about “going for it.”
If you are a subscriber to the podcast or a long-time listener of this show, then you have heard me refer to him on many occasions, sometimes as a point of reference when talking about certain things like hyper-grace or revival.
Listen or Download the entire episode here (Audio mp3):
Today’s guest Dr. Michael L. Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire, author of a bazillion books, such as Authentic Fire, Hyper-Grace, and the five-volume series Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, among many others. He was also one of the leaders of the Brownsville Revival, which birthed the FIRE School of Ministry that several other guests of the podcast went to, graduated from or have taught at. As of late, Dr. Brown is also a columnist for Charisma magazine and Town Hall.
So needless to say, this was a very big get for us to land on the show!
After my intro to this episode and some words from “sponsors” we jumped right into things, and the first thing we discussed was how Dr. Brown got started in writing. It surprised me to hear that he knew he had a passion to write, but it was still about 17 years before he published his first book. He shared some of the fasting and praying that led to page after page just pouring out. That book, by the way, was The End of the American Gospel Enterprise.
Around the 15:55 mark, Dr Brown shares how he determines what he’s going to do with inspired content, whether something is to be put into a blog, something he’ll preach, or write a book about. He tells us how when he’s burdened with something, he talks and writes about it everywhere and those themes are with him all the time.
At 19:45 I asked him What lifestyle habits do you have in your life so as to keep fostering the habit of writing? What are your tools of choice for writing?'I don’t have to cultivate anything to write, it’s who I am.' @DrMichaelLBrownClick To Tweet
He shared with us how when you’re gripped with something and all you want to do is write, you need discipline and focus so that you can actually listen to people in your office who are talking to you. He talked about references and research, proofing and editing he does before even sending it to the editor. I enjoyed the analogy he used of feeling like you’re being carried by a lawnmower as opposed to pushing an old lawnmower through thick grass. If it’s not carrying you, but you have to push forward, it might not be the chapter for this book or the right time.
Here’s a short video clip from the interview about inspiration.
Around 25:25 I picked his brain about Traditional publishing over the years versus the self-publishing revolution of today. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The advantages and the disadvantages. Key takeaways include:
- The positive: It has gotten much harder to get traditionally published as a first-time author. Self-publishing has provided the opportunity for people who have something to say to still be able to get their thoughts or message out there whether a publisher will help them or not.
- The negative: with the absence of such gatekeepers like publishing companies, the whole scene is ‘untested’ just like the broader internet in general — there’s good and bad out there.
Check out a short video clip where Dr. Brown shared his thoughts on the pros and cons of self-publishing.
Learn from your editors!
Around this point in the conversation, we got talking about the importance of editing. You may already know this is a drum I beat often on my blog and podcast. Dr. Brown shares his thoughts:
- Lack of editing makes an author’s book seem less valuable and less credible.
- A good editor is worth the money, and a good learning experience for authors.
- I ended this section of the conversation asking about recording audiobooks and how doing my own to date has helped me catch errors from my work by reading them out loud in their entirety and catching things from a different angle than just reading alone will do during the editing phase.
At 31:02 I change gears a little and ask Dr. Brown about book proposals and manuscripts. He discusses how he doesn’t often submit manuscripts or book proposals anymore, but has several different publishers who ask him from time to time if he would write books on certain themes. However, he shared the story of how his book A Queer Thing Happened to America was a book no publisher wanted to touch, but yet since self-publishing it he has sold in excess of 18,000 copies and has had three publishers apologize to him. I bet they were kicking themselves after hearing of how well it sold, after all.
The sales of a book depend on word of mouth. The publisher can only do so much to sell a book. Whether traditionally published or self-published, word of mouth is still the number one way to sell a book.Word of mouth is still the NUMBER ONE way to sell a book.Click To Tweet
Building Your Platform & Godly Book Promotion
At 44:57 Dr Brown shares his insights on ethical self-promotion.
- In the prayer closet. First and foremost, if God is with you and has birthed the message, He will help get the message out. The God who moved on your heart to write the book will be the one who opens the doors to get the message out
- Do your best to edify people all the time on social media and other means that you have. Sow into other people on a regular basis. Work to regularly put out quality content.
- Proper motives. Do you have an ulterior motive? If the message is important to you, you’ll want to get it out and the money will be immaterial to you.
- Social Media – especially visual content. If you put some work into making good graphics or videos, those tend to get shared more and may lead to more followers and an increase in your platform and people you can share your message with.
- Ask for candid reviews on Amazon. But don’t illicit dishonest reviews. See why I refuse to do review swaps with other indie authors; Check out this recent post about how Amazon reviews help the author.
- Ask high-profile ministers for endorsements. As Dr Brown mentions, there’s nothing wrong with asking in an honoring way if they would share your book or message on their platform. Just remember they are getting asked often — just like a billionaire gets asked all the time for money. No harm in asking, but just do it respectfully.
Watch Dr. Brown discuss ethical book promotion in this short video.
Around 56:43 towards the end of our conversation I asked Dr Brown about how many books he keeps on his computer at any given moment that eventually will become books. I specifically asked him about a book I remember he was working on when I was at FIRE School of Ministry about house churches and spiritual elitism. Regular listeners of the podcast might not be surprised to hear me ask that question as it’s come up a lot on the podcast and my blog in the last few years.
Listen to the Entire Episode, Writing For God’s Glory on YouTube (Audio only)
Dr. Brown’s forthcoming book from Charisma House is The Grace Controversy due out in May. Pre-order it on Amazon:
A Sampling of Books That Have Impacted Me Over The Years
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Edit: since this episode was originally published, David Lee Martin no longer offers Scrivener Unleashed at the price I mentioned in the show. He now offers it for two different packages and price points.
If you’re interested in checking out the word processing program Scrivener, you can find their website here. You can get a free 30 day trial, and give it a shot before making a purchase.
Scrivener Unleashed will teach you how to use it whether for Windows or Mac with Pastor David Lee Martin as your tutor.
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Thank you so much, and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode of Fire On Your Head.