SELF HELP!


            I published a book. How did I do that? Well I started my own publishing company. I am the author of that book, that is, I wrote it. So what happened is this: I got an idea for a book. Then I started writing. Then I started looking for a publisher. No publishing company rejected my book, for you see, no publishing company would even look at it. So then I got the idea of forming a publishing company. I didn’t know how to do that but I started investigating, and with no little effort finally got it done. Mary Crowley Publishing was born; the book was published. But the book has not sold.

            So what have I learned from all this? Well first you need a good idea. Then, secondly, you need to get in on paper. Thirdly, it must be edited and got into publishing form. Then fourthly one must find a publisher that will put it on the market. Fifthly, something must be done to get the target audience to notice and buy it. Sixthly, they must like it and recommend it to others who will buy it, read it, and tell others about it. Leave out any of those six steps and you will likely never have a successful book. Oh, by the way, all of this will take some money. Now that may not be a problem for you, but nobody has ever accused me of being a financial genius. The likely reason for that is that I am anything but a financial genius. If you want advice as to how to earn or invest money; ask somebody else.

            Oh, by the way, the title of my book is: This I Have Learned. The subtitle is: Reflections At Sunset. Neither the title or the subtitle was my idea but both were suggested by two friendly editors.

            So what have I learned; I mean besides what is in the book and what I have thus far related here? Well it certainly isn’t: How to sell books. But I have learned a few things. Firstly, if you want big book sales, write good fiction. A lot of people read good fiction. But if you are not into writing fiction but insist on writing nonfiction then write “self help” books. They sell well; just ask Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold millions of copies.

            So what does all this prove, if anything? Well, first off, of those who have read This I Have Learned their response has been very good. They like it. Secondly, I have come to the conclusion that people are looking for something that will “help” them in this present world; they have not put their treasures in heaven. I mean, how many “self help” books on how to get to heaven are on the New York Times best seller list? Well The Shack is on that list and the cover of it claims that there are over seven million copies in print. Perhaps some would say that it qualifies as a book on how to get to heaven. Well, I own the book, have read it, and am only sure of one thing; it is fiction.

            I see now that a new, updated, version of the NIV, i.e. the New International Version of the Bible is planned. I wonder how many millions of copies of that version will be sold. How much money will it make for those behind the effort? When I was young, a preteen etc. the King James Version was in vogue. The American Standard Version and the Revised Standard Version were also available. My mother used the RSV. I had a college professor who preferred the ASV, but it always seemed to me that the KJV was much the most popular. But then the new versions of the Bible seemed to explode onto the scene. The Billy Graham organization came out with the Living Bible, then there was the New English Bible, Phillip’s Translation, The Good News for Modern Man, and on and on. I Googled “Bible Versions” and found one website that offered over 100 translations of the Bible. There must be quite a market for the Bible. You say, “Well that is a self help book on how to get to heaven.” Uh Huh! Then why do we forever need new versions? Many would, no doubt say: “I don’t understand the old ones.”

            Is it that, or are you just hoping that the new version will show you an easier, more tasteful way to get to heaven?

            That old, (out of date?) King James Version of the Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul and Barnabas preached that, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” There surely must be an easier way: Perhaps this new version of the Bible will bring this out. So you buy it, look it over and put it on the shelf with the rest of your versions. Then while your versions of the Bible gather dust on the shelf you keep reading “Self Help” books on how to prosper in this world.

            The Scripture tells us that the Apostle Paul was run out of Iconium, stoned in Lystra, laughed at in Athens, and nearly torn apart by a mob in Jerusalem. He was then arrested, and had to appeal to Caesar to keep from being railroaded. From what I have learned from history, Caesars did not like to be bothered with such cases and death was often the answer. Christian tradition says that Paul was beheaded in Rome. Well now, there is one way to get to heaven!

            You might think that that was then and this is now, and things are different now. Are they? Well I was compelled to quit college, where I was a Bible major, just 3 and ½ months before graduation. I have been homeless with a wife and two small sons. I have been sued at law as a pastor of a church in my hometown, Princeton, Indiana. I was “asked” by the authorities of the “holiness” denomination of which I am a member and an “ordained minister” to resign from the church I was pastoring, even though I had a unanimous vote to stay by the people in the pews of that church. And lately, while attending a conference of a Wesleyan organization, it was suggested by all members but one, the chairman of that organization, that I should leave. I left. And, oh yes, I live on a small fixed income, which just won’t seem to stretch. But guess what! I have victory in Jesus and have the assurance of the Holy Ghost that I am on the road to heaven. But all this you could have known if you had read my book, This I Have Learned, and the articles on my web site, www.jimcaniff.com.

            But guess what! I have read none of the “self help” books and do not intend to. Also, in this life I am a failure. Of course that maybe puts me in with some spiritually elite company, such as my Savior, who was hanged between two thieves. Then there was the Apostle Paul as is mentioned above. George Fox, the founder of The Society of Friends (Quakers), who was in nearly every jail in Great Britain, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who at one point was barred from every pulpit in England. And the list goes on...And on!

            Question: Do you want to conquer the world or do you want to go to heaven? Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 KJV.

            I am sorry but you are confronted with a choice and the choice is yours. Are you going to work on bettering this life or are you going to heaven?