Friday, October 16, 2009

wealthy emerging church authors? yeah right!

Every now and again, around the internet, I see people making blog comments about emerging church people with their book contracts and PhD’s. Often this is linked to snide implications about “gurus” making money from ministry.

Just this week I have been signing book contracts in regard to two chapters I have written for two books that will be published in 2010, through two different academic presses. One is on the Spirit in the world, the other on Bible in popular culture.

For the record, one contract gives me no money. Instead I get given one free book, plus a 50% discount if I buy any copies of the (my) book. The other contract also gives me no money. Instead, they simply give me one free book. So two free books is the sum total of “wealth” I am generating!

Both chapters have taken hours of work. In fact, in order for me to write them, in between pastoring and lecturing, I have paid people, to help me research and edit. It costs me personally, which I am very happy to do because it does ensure I actually produce something. (This is funded by any speaking fees I get paid.)

I’m not complaining. Not at all. When I write I feel God’s pleasure. It gains me “credibility”. Correction – if well-written (and well-edited:)) it might gain me credibility! It helps spread ideas. It is part of my role/charism.

But I thought I would make this post, just in case readers have come across those rumours regarding “wealthy emerging church authors”!

Posted by steve at 01:44 PM


  1. In spite of the fact that you confess yourself willing to take on the cost of producing these two chapters, it’s extraordinary that book publishers still manage to get authors to write for nothing. (Sorry, two books given back in return is hardly payment.) Plainly they’ve forgotten that even the Bible says, The labourer is worthy of his hire. Regrettably, Christian publishers are amongst the worst in this regard: by playing on the Christian charity/volunteerism aspect, they manage to get books published for a good deal less than a secular publisher would.
    Still they’re not alone: the local newspaper that I write book reviews for has never paid me (or any other reviewer) a cent; they ‘allow’ me to keep the book I’ve reviewed. They’re another publisher that relies on the good will of the authors to do what would normally be paid for. (Compare them to the NZ Listener, which paid me $300 several years ago for a review that was no longer than most of the ones I do for the paper…)

    Comment by Mike Crowl — October 20, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  2. i think its the academic thing mike. the “reward” is the publish or perish driving of the academic scene.

    but it does make me think. the usual economics of scale work like this: the market is limited, so a limited run is done, which costs heaps. so the only people that can afford it are seminary libraries, who have to buy it to keep up with the academic market. so it feels like a cartel.

    i think that LOTS of things run on voluntarism – not just Christian publishing. worship? most cafes? political parties? book clubs.

    congrats on listener reviews – lots of authors use reviews to subsidise their income – cos face it – all art does not pay.


    Comment by steve — October 20, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  3. come on, we know it’s not about the money… you just love having your name up there in big typefont letters 🙂 haha

    Comment by Darren — November 10, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

  4. mate, have you seen an academic book? good looking fonts in larger size aint’ there thing! 🙂


    Comment by steve — November 10, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

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