Friday, February 10, 2012

Aussie authors writing Aussie books for Aussie readers

As Australian readers we have fed ourselves on a basic diet of US literature, with an occasional book from somewhere else as a side dish. With the advent of Word Writers Fair, CWD and other writer networking events, we have now feasted on Australian books. That is, we, the passionate writers, have. Most of Australian Christians don't know we even exist.

As a reader I seek a good strong story. I'm choosy about what I read. I was an Aussie who mostly read books from well known Americans, because I could choose an author I was confident about. 
About a year ago, I realised that if I want my book to be read, I better see what is out there in the Australian market. Not all books are my chosen genre, but I've discovered many really good reads.  I've also read some that have made me cringe because they aren't well written or edited. So how do we lift the profile of Australian Christian Authors?

Many of you are working very hard on building an on-line presence, finding speaking engagements and signing books. All this is making a difference. And together we are encouraging each other to polish our work to very high standards.

This is good, but have we really assessed the battle we fight. Have we identified the enemy? Are we fighting American authors, Australian apathy and ignorance or the difficulty to penetrate the larger book stores? 
Is the problem with our stories or the standard of our writing? Is it our publishers  or editors? Or is there a bigger enemy?

Aussie authors have an important story to tell. God is planting within us a new level of revelation. We are on the cusp of the move of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied over Australasia, firstly by the early explorers and then by prophetic voices a hundred years ago. God needs skilled writers Downunder! Writers able to present His message to the rest of the world. He needs good publishers, thorough editors, and brilliant illustrators. He needs you.

So what is the enemy? Or who is our enemy? I believe our struggle is not against flesh and blood (or mindsets and prejudices), but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12)

It is logical when you think about it. Why would our enemy sit on his hands and let us build our profile unhindered. So look around your life. Can you see the dirty paw prints of an accuser, a liar, a thief anywhere? Has he planted a hand grenade of hopelessness, or discouragement in your family or business – or in your heart? Has he discredited you in the industry?

How, then, do we fight the hidden guerrilla warfare that Satan delights in? I know you guys follow these principles, but allow me to list them.

·        Believe that Jesus paid for all our mistakes, imperfections etc
·        Remove all unforgiveness
·        Confess all sin aloud so the enemy can’t use it against you
·        Worship & read the Word
·        Practice the presence of God
·        Pray.

Then get out your big bazooka and blast the enemy off your playing field. The Lord taught me to do this, once again using Ephesians. This is the way I pray.

I ask that the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which he has called me, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for me because I believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Because of that power within me, I negate the work of Satan in my life, the life of my family, my business and my book. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hallelujah!
(Eph 1:17-32, Isaiah 54: 17, Phil 3:13)

Maybe you would like to join me in making a way in the Spirit for the Christian book industry in Australia. Pray aloud and pray with passion. Let’s turn the tables and become hidden soldiers scattered around this country, pushing back enemy strongholds and releasing the good news of Jesus!

Jo Wanmer is excitedly awaiting the June release of her first book, 'Though the Bud be Bruised'. She is a passionate speaker and is available to speak in any state on topics such as 'How to protect your child from sexual abuse' 'You can create your world', 'Victory over darkness', 'Should we forgive the unforgivable.' Jo can be contacted on jowanmer@gmail.com or on Facebook. 

25 comments:

  1. I love your passion, Jo - for writing, for Aussie books, for Aussies in general, but most of all for God. Thanks for sharing your heart here with us. God bless and watch over you as you look forward to the release of your book.

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    1. Thanks Jo-Anne - I my passion building by the day:)

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  2. Hi Jo. Thanks for the reminder that we need to do battle first and foremost on our knees. That is where the victory will be won. Blessings :)

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    1. Thanks Amanda. And we have the victory. Yah!

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  3. I agree Jo. Thank you for your insight as always. Some days I am positive and excited, some days I am overwhelmed, most days a bit of both, but everyday I try to trust Him more...

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    1. A resounding AMEN!!!! from me.
      Jo, we all love and appreciate your way of speaking the plain truth and building us up.

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    2. Rochelle and Paula - you guys are the foundation that we are building on. Don't ever give up. xx

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  4. You may be right. But I suspect that we writers have an active part to play too. We must produce top-quality material that meets a market need (and obviously Jo already has).

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    1. I agree, Peter. As a sculptor keeps chipping away...

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  5. Thanks Jo for your wonderful blog and your challenging thoughts. I add a resounding 'Yes' to it. About 10 days ago I was having a wonderful time of prayer and sharing with 2 of my co-workers in ministry. Since one of them felt the attack of Satan on her life - we read through Ephesians 6 together. It was very powerful. As we read it, a light bulb went off in my head. I realised that a few difficulties and challenges that have come my way of late were not as I thought from the people concerned - but from the evil one. Exactly what you shared. It was a big Eureka moment for me. So it was great to have you re-iterate it for me here. I hear you Jo! Yes! Yes! and Yes!

    May all of us Aussie writers not only be faithful to our calling but also stay close to our God - so that we join Him in what He is accomplishing in our world.
    Many thanks Jo!
    Blessings,
    Anusha

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    1. Thanks Anusha. I love the power of God. I pray with a friend on the phone and we see the enemy's power break!!

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  6. Beautiful encouragement Jo. I've had to duck a good number of arrows this last year, and remind myself 'the battle really does belongs to the Lord.' Thanks for your words, and reminders from Scripture of this truth. And the promise of victory.
    Blessings,
    Dotti

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    1. Thanks Dotti. just as well we have a shield isn't it?

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  7. Good encouragement/reminder to keep our hearts focussed and actively pursue the Holy Spirit's input when we write.

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    1. Hi Meredith - thanks for the way you have made for us newbies to follow :)

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  8. I was editing my book the other day and changed a word. Then I changed a word to an American term. I realised what I was doing and thought. "I am an Australia, this book is set in Australia" so I kept it like it was.

    God has given us this talent, and with his help we will get it out there. As I have probably said before "I just want to make a difference" With God directing my writing and getting the right person to read it....
    MEL

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    1. Mel - we are unique and have a unique calling! It is fine to write for the US market as it will build profile of Aussie writers, but lets make a decision where we are writing for and write proudly for Australia!

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  9. Jo, thanks for your inspiring post :) I think we need to look at the big picture and remember it takes time to build and develop a broad readership of a relatively new genre. In the US back in the 80's & early 90's there were only a small number of Christian fiction writers, mainly writing romance. It took time for US Christians to embrace Christian fiction and the quality of US Christian fiction has also improved as the industry has grown. ACFW started off as American Christian Romance Writers a decade ago with a handful of members and is now a major force in the industry. I believe the same thing can happen in Australia and much prayer is needed as we unite to build a bigger Christian writing industry here. If we all do our bit and follow our unique callings, great things can happen :)

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    1. Thats an informative and encouraging response. thanks Narelle Great to learn the Americans had to struggle too.

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  10. Thanks Jo,
    Lets all keep praying for Gods will in our lives and work.

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  11. This post has got me all fired up Jo. You are right that most Aussie Christians don't realise we even have publishing industry. The only Australian author I knew of until recently was Kel Richards. I didn't really become aware of the industry until about a year ago when I met Mary Hawkins at her church. Since then I've been reading Aussie authors and loving their work.

    There is a lot of work to do, but I love how you highlight that this is a spiritual struggle.

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  12. I love your post, Jo. It gets right to the heart, and is a great encouragement.

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  13. In recent years I too have been thrilled to discover more and more Christian Fiction by Aussie writers. In fact we have been around for a long time. I was a teenager when I first discovered the Victorian writer, Marjorie Buckingham's books but don't remember reading any except over the years a couple that disappointed me. Then I found Meredith Resce's! Wonderful and a huge thanks to her.
    Thank you so much for a great post, Jo, and I want to pick up on one thing especially that you mentioned. Besides a great story line, good editing is essential to have a hope of competing with large overseas publishers who have more money and thus more editors. I certainly noticed a big difference in the editing of my first Australian published book compared to the ones by Barbour in the US! It also showed me how much I needed to be more careful about editing my own manuscripts too. And this is still a problem I have myself and see in too many Australian novels.
    To continue to improve our efforts, I believe attending face to face writer's groups as well as conferences is essential. However, while we all need to know the basics of writing, it is important to concentrate on workshops etc that focus on fiction if we are fiction writers and even on a particular genre we are targetting. I have been so thrilled these recent years to at long last have these opportunities to attend ones for Christian fiction writers. Bring them on!

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