After being exposed to endless bad media stories, one thing that has really made me quite weary is people talking at me as opposed to people wanting to talk with me. In other words, people who have decided in advance exactly what I think and that they have the perfect message for me.
Early on in the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s narrator mentions something that his father had told him: “When you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you have had.”
It is tough to get a message across to most anyone these days. I often think of how difficult it is for those who give sermons. In Catholic circles, Dominican preachers often give wonderful sermons. After all, they are the “Order of Preachers.”
In a way, we authors and publishers have messages that we want to get across as well. And just like bad sermons, there are many bad books. In my opinion, many good books and sermons include personal stories about faith and foibles that are shared with you. As a listener, a good writing helps you on your journey–it often shares a few good ideas, rather than attempts to change you altogether (like a sitcom that makes everything right in 30 minutes).
When you are publishing books, you can’t really be having a two-way conversation, but you can improve your message by considering the audiences you are trying to reach and have a sense of positive purpose with them. You don’t start by saying this is something that I’d like to shove down your throat for your own good. You start with having an idea that this something that you know people are interested in and how do you share this with them. We present it in such a way to engage the audience in a positive way–don’t they have enough bad news these days? Let’s respect the intelligence of our audience.
At Sporting Chance Press, we have focused on sports. But in the last several years we have also published several books on Sports and Faith (you can see them here in our product section). Pat McCaskey, the author of our Sports and Faith Series, is a man of faith. And with Pat’s books, faith is always part of the story. Pat has done a lot of public speaking over time and he “hears” what people appreciate. He often writes on things that have been well-received in public. He wants to entertain his readers just like he entertains his listeners. Pat’s stories often include a certain sense of humility and humor.
People know that Pat is a member of the Chicago Bears McCaskey family. So our readers know Pat is a huge Bears fan. Many also know that he grew up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic schools.
In Pat’s books, we focus on the good. In Sportsmanship, our 2020 Sports and Faith book, Pat shares with readers many things: a daily remembrance of events in the 100 years of Bear history; brief stories of sports personalities, who like Pat, are people of sports and faith; and brief views of authors who have made a difference in his own life. Included are many poems he has written in his own style–many sharing a bit of humor mixed in with family and faith. Perhaps most importantly of all is that Sportsmanship is an honest book that offers a healthy dose of good. And that’s something we need to share with each other.