Charles Spurgeon, in his introduction to Lectures To My Students, wrote:
Should this publication succeed, I hope very soon to issue similar work. . . . . I shall be obliged by any assistance rendered to the sale, for the price is unremunerative, and persons interested in our subjects are not numerous enough to secure a very large circulation; hence it is only by the kind aid of all appreciating friends that I shall be able to publish the rest of the contemplated series.
I often talk about the incredible opportunities available to us in communications today, but the reality of that statement struck me as never before when I read Spurgeon's words.
If I want to communicate something today, I do. I can blog. I can write for my websites. I can write, design, typeset, create a book and publish it with lulu.com, createspace.com, smashwords.com and many other sources. I can record a podcast and create a video at my computer. In minutes I can make these communications available to the world.
Spurgeon did not have that luxury.
The Prince of Preachers had to wait for his words to be published until enough money could be raised for the printing. We don't have to wait for anything beyond the moments it takes to upload our latest creation.
Enough has been said about how this instantaneous access to communication has cheapened public discourse; how any idiot with an opinion can become an instant authority or celebrity. The truth of those observations is obvious. Those who use technology need to handle the responsibility with care, but not with fear assuming that because a publication goes through the hands of a professional editor that it will come out a better publication.
Professional editors can be extremely helpful and in my early years as a writer I had the joy of working with tough newspaper and book editors who sharpened my skills. I'm not sure why, but it seems the precision and professional care of some so-called professional editors has deteriorated. In one of my more recent adventures with a national publishing company, (and I've had books published by a number of the major ones) I was given a very nice, but seriously grammatically challenged junior editor to work with on a book. He apparently thought my writing quite exciting—every few paragraphs he inserted exclamation points in addition to extensive and needless rewriting of much of my manuscript.
His flourishes did not make it into the final book. I'm trying to figure out a way to talk about this nicely, but the bottom line is that having to deal with the mess he made, being required going over his head to someone with authority to get permission to clean up the mess, all the time trying to be kind to him as a Christian sister, was a monumental and unnecessary waste of time. I can get a dozen articles written, five training videos, a couple of e-books created, and all of it posted on the web in a portion of the time wasted on that adventure. When the book was published it came out with a typo on the cover.
Writers do not have to deal with editorial and book publishing company obstacles anymore to get their words into the public arena
We should not use this responsibility to create irresponsible communications. As much care and craftsmanship as is possible should go into our work. We should always be working to improve our writing, design skills, technology expertise, and growth in godliness as we do our work. Our opportunities are not an excuse for sloppy, unthinking work.
But work we must. Publish we must. If we feel we have been given a message from the Lord to share with a lost and dying world, if we feel we have words that can encourage the saints and build up others in the faith, we have absolutely no excuse to not get our message out there.
We have the words of eternal life. We have technology that gives us an ability to communicate far beyond our wildest dreams. What am I, what are you, doing with this opportunity?
To whom much is given, much is required.