We’re happy to announce the birth of the January/February 2011 issue of Alive Now magazine on October 21, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. – 10:0 p.m. We took a party out to Courier Printing in Smyrna, TN and watched as the presses were prepared and the magazine began to be printed. We took cookies to the Courier employees, received a tour of the plant from Sam Suppa, our contact at Courier. We got to see the first half of the magazine run on a gigantic web press — it prints, heat-sets, cools off, and folds the pages of the magazine faster than you can say “hermeneutic of suspicion.” The cover was run on a sheet-fed press. It looks really great!
The J/F 2011 issue of Alive Now is scheduled to be mailed in early-mid November. If you are not already a subscriber either at home or at your church, I hope you’ll consider ordering now. You’ll receive the January/February issue if you sign up by November 1.
This week I paged the January/February 2011 issue of Alive Now. “Paging an issue” is when the editor sits down with all the potential copy (poems, quotes, scripture, stories, etc.) and the theme (“Living in the Present” — in this case) and decides what goes on what page.
I was trying to get this task finished all of last week and, instead, ended up doing quite a bit of “housekeeping.” I put up pictures in my office, cleaned out files, and alphabetized all the Upper Room books on my shelves. Then on Monday morning of this week, all the chores completed, I faced the task of paging the issue.
I had a bad case of “Editor’s Block.” After working on the web for 14 years, paging a printed copy of a magazine seemed so — permanent. On the web, it’s easy to take something down or change it if you don’t like it. Not in print. What gets published is ink on paper.
I started thinking about wandering around the building and visiting with people. That’s when I remembered Mary Ruth — my boss, mentor, and editor of Alive Now when I worked there in the 80’s. She must have faced the same thing. When it was time for an issue to be paged, Deen (the Editorial Assistant) and I waited with expectation. Once Mary Ruth completed her task, we had a whole bunch of work to do — picking out photos, typing copy, sending permissions requests, etc. But until she paged the issue, we sat around watching the deadline approach … watching the deadline pass. And where was Mary Ruth?! She was not at her desk! She was off wandering around the building again.
So, now I know … I’ve got a new understanding of Mary Ruth’s “wanderings.” It’s a daunting task to pick what goes into the magazine and on what page it will be seen. It’s a holy moment; a time to be open to the Spirit — listening hard to the whispers of guidance — even as we wander the building, stare out the window, or compete a few housekeeping tasks.
Creating God, guide this task, these choices, that these ideas and words and paragraphs would become instruments of your grace in the form of a magazine. Amen.
I work in publishing for a living, but it’s still an amazing thing to be working on a book that bears my name (The Uncluttered Heart, Upper Room Books, Fall 2009). The book will be out early this fall for use during Advent of 2009. But the production process for books is a bit long and drawn out. Here’s the journey of The Uncluttered Heart so far.
I was writing the manuscript last summer (2008).
The manuscript was due about a year ahead of its release — Fall 2008. (This is so that the marketing department can understand what the book is about and start to include information about the book in upcoming marketing pieces.)
Right before Christmas 2008, I got to see a bunch of cover designs and was given the opportunity to say which ones I liked or didn’t like. A committee made up of editors and marketing people made the final decision on the cover.
The editor of the book (Rita Collett) started working with the manuscript after the first of the year (January/February 2009).
Rita sent me a couple of rounds of the edited manuscript and questions she wanted me to address, clarifications, etc. I put my “Advent hat” on and tried to remember what I meant last summer when I first wrote those words. (I love having an editor, a person 100% committed to helping my writing be clear and valuable to future readers.)
The cover design is being finalized this month.
Before too long, when all the editing, design, and proofreading has happened, the entire project will be turned over to the production department. These talented folks pick the best printer and watch over the job as it goes through the production process. Sometime in late summer, the books will come off the press and then will start making their way to the warehouse to be available for sale by the time folks are picking out their Advent resources.