The smiles are warm

Author Lillian Tindyebwa of Uganda engaged participants of her writing workshop at LittWorld with a model poem on the theme, “God is here.” Her poem captures the devotion of assembled believers and the rich beauty of the Kenyan landscape.

God Is Here

The smiles are warm
Like the early morning sun
Handshakes are strong
Like the lions
Of Samburu

Windows fling open
By mesmerized
hands
At dawn
Sounds of bird songs
Fill the rooms,
Mingle with prayers
Of saints

Under the blue and grey
Skies of Kenya
they are gathered
From the ends of the earth
He created
Leaves shake with
His breath
Whispering assurances
Of His love to us all
God is Here

By Lillian Tindyebwa
Uganda

Illustration used by permission of Didier Millotte

How to convert the spoken word to the written word

By Ian Darke

Many Christian leaders, pastors and teachers share excellent spoken messagestony-wales-marketing-cropped worth hearing throughout nations and across borders. Unfortunately, these key communicators often either lack the time to write or the gift of writing. One solution is recording a talk or sermon, and converting the spoken word into written form.

David Porter was an acknowledged expert of the craft, a respected freelance editor from the U.K. He was responsible for the publication of the Keswick Bible readings, an outgrowth of the annual Keswick Convention.

While David was still alive, he shared these tips with me on overcoming the challenges of editing recorded talks.

1. Cut about 30 percent of the text. Apart from verbal “tics,” spoken communication requires repetition that is not appropriate in a written text. Remove some of the greetings, references to the immediate context and some anecdotes.

2. Create an “on page” flavor that is faithful to the speaker’s style and approach. This can be a challenge. You have to include the content of the message, preserve its structure and make it plain. In doing so, you need to keep his or her “voice.”

3. Find a written alternative to the speaker’s gesticulation or tone of voice for emphasizing the main points. The art is to maintain the flavor of the spoken communication, while making the sentence structure as simple as possible.

4. Leave in words like “this morning over breakfast” to give flavor if editing a conference talk. At times, indicate when things happen, like the conference tent falling down! Whatever you do, the message must be clear and interesting.

5. Look at the by-play between talks and the dovetailing between them when editing a series of talks, such as from a single conference. In the written text, include cross references and links. An introduction to the series or group of talks may be helpful.

6. Some biblical quotes should be included, but not all. Readers can look up quoted verses.

7. In a series of talks or conferences, it’s helpful to ask speakers to waive the right to approve your written version, although you may want them to check it at times. Speakers have to recognize that these are edited transcripts, not a book they would have written themselves. However, it’s good practice for a conference leader to check all the texts, just in case the editor has misunderstood something.

*The photo above has no relationship to the actual text of this article.

Publishing is like a four-legged table

He made a sketch of a four-legged table on the white board and asked us, “What are the names of these four legs?” We, the participants in this 3-part financial management workshop at LittWorld 2012, started to answer Tony Wales, global publishing consultant.

“Marketing.”
“Yes, that’s correct.” Tony wrote it on the board.

“Editor.”
“Yes, Editorial, what else?” He wrote the name of another leg.

“Distribution.”
“Yes, and what else?” He named the third leg.

“But, what is the difference between marketing and distribution?” Someone asked him.

“Marketing is sales. And distribution is how the books go to the readers. And the fourth is…”

“Money.”
“Yes, financial,” wrote Tony. “And what would happen if one of these legs is shorter than the others?”

We nodded. Looking at the picture, the message was so clear for us.

“How is the financial health of our publishing?” asked Tony. “Just as when we go to the doctor, so there are various checks we can make to assess our financial health. It just needs to be planned into our lives. Jesus commands us to plan, in Luke 14:28-33.”

We read that passage:
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (NLT)

“We are called to serve the Lord,” Tony said. “Jesus combines the challenge of discipleship with commonsense planning whether a building or a war. There are clear comparisons between our call as his disciples to be publishers of the good news and planning to build and to take the battle to the enemy. In every sense we need to plan and to go into action with deliberate care.”

And he continued, “This is why we need to know how to plan and understand our finances. The same principles apply for us personally as well as the organization we work with. Or are we careless about our personal finances?”

The class was so quiet as we pondered what he said.

Do we know the cost of doing the job, and do we have a plan for it?

By Eva Kristiaman, originally published on her blog, Salt and Light of the World.

Photos by Eric Gitonga

A walk in the tea fields

By Robin Jones Gunn

A vast tea field borders the Brackenhurst Conference Center where the LittWorld Conference was held. On Monday a few of us took to the red dirt paths with our umbrellas, eager to stroll through the tea fields before dinner. In every direction the rain washed tea plants spread out before us in variegated shades of green. Down in the valley we could see the humble village where the tea pickers lived and where the harvested tea leaves were taken at the end of the day. Workers reach for the pale, new growth and pick just the two leaves that sprout from the fresh bud at the top of the plant.

Kenyan tea fields: strolling behind Didier and Ernest. Photo courtesy Robin Jones Gunn.

Ernest, who grew up playing in Kenyan tea fields, taught us how to roll the long, dark green tea leaves and make a whistle. He told us stories about his wife and their wedding, while Didier, an illustrator from France, demonstrated his juggling skills with three umbrellas. Alice and I smiled. And smiled and smiled. We were mesmerized by it all; the people, the place, the soft air and the expansive view…

<<Read the full post now on Robin’s blog

Inspiring encounters at LittWorld 2012

Author and blogger Joan Campbell of South Africa shares her reflections on LittWorld:

Last week I had a little taste of what a UN meeting must feel like. I was attending the LittWorld 2012 Conference in Kenya, with the theme “Publishing for Global Impact.” There were 194 delegates from 50 countries, and today I would like to introduce you to a few of them.

But first, let me set the scene. The Brackenhurst conference facility is set in lovely garden-like grounds, surrounded by lush green coffee and tea plantations, and small tracts of indigenous forest. The conference organisers, MAI, had put together a fascinating and varied programme of talks and panel discussions: – a publisher from the Philippines, urging the development of local writers; an Egyptian author speaking about his use of social media in addressing some of the pressing needs in his country; and an African publisher from the Ivory Coast, succeeding at building his publishing business despite the unrest and political turmoil in his country.

In addition, there were elective sessions by well-known authors such as Robin Jones Gunn, Harry Kraus, and publishing gurus from around the globe. However, some of the most valuable lessons I learnt came from the—often brief—encounters I had with people over meals, on walks or on the bus. Time, space (and my reader’s short attention span) doesn’t allow me to introduce each one, but here are just a few of the people who had an impact on me…

>>Read more on Joan Campbell’s blog

Photo above courtesy of Joan Campbell