unlikely preacher
Are you more of a speaker than a writer? How about writing a book from videos?  The Unlikely Preacher, Patrick Vaughn, recently wrote a book/ebook that comes directly from a series of fifty short videos he recorded over the course of several months. In this author interview he shares his experience of writing a book from videos and published it. Patrick also shares his vision for Unlikely Glimpses of Grace and more about his ebook writing and publishing process.

Lisa: What’s your hope for what Unlikely Glimpses of Grace does for your readers?

Patrick: I hope my readers will discover that God comes to us in unlikely ways through unlikely people. I want to subvert the stagnation of the status quo. When we think we already know a story, we miss much of it’s power and significance. This is a great challenge in an era that not only gives center stage to religious extremists but glibly assumes it understands the story of Jesus. My target audience is not the people who sit in pews. I am trying to connect with folks who have turned away from the church. For very good reasons, they never again want to be involved in the life of a congregation. They have been hurt, disappointed, betrayed. Yet, they still yearn for community, meaning, joy, awe etc.

Lisa: And this book will help them connect with God, with your message of hope. Does Unlikely Glimpses of Grace also play a role in developing your career as a writer?

Patrick: Absolutely. While I’ve written articles for academic and professional journals, as well as occasional columns for local newspapers, the focus of my career has been public speaking. In the 2,200 worship services I’ve led, some people even managed to stay awake!  Working on this project has helped me better translate the spoken word into written text.

unlikely glimpses of grace

Lisa: So, it sounds like a step on your journey as a writer–your first foray into book writing and publishing. Can you share how this book evolved, and specifically about writing a book from videos?

Patrick: It’s been a circuitous and unlikely journey. I  love to tell stories and had been exploring how I might engage audiences outside the local church. I soon learned that speakers need a book to establish credibility, and then I discovered that becoming a writer involved more than writing. It included developing something called a platform. What’s a platform? My work with you led me to record short video reflections that I send out twice a week. When I told a friend that I had produced fifty videos, he suggested that I gather forty of them into a book.

Lisa: So, that’s an exciting way to write a book or ebook–record short videos, transcribe them, edit them and…voila! Perhaps some of our blog readers are thinking that they love to talk and not so much to write. Maybe they wonder how they can create videos like that and write a book that way. How do you create the videos?

Patrick: It’s simple. I use my iPhone, a stand, and an external mic. I don’t write a script. I think about a subject and sometimes jot down a note or two. I turn on the camera with a remote switch and start talking.  Being technologically challenged, I try to avoid editing! Occasionally, I only need one take, but most of the time I need three. I try to limit the videos to ninety seconds. It’s hard to sustain people’s interest for longer spans of time.

Lisa: That’s terrific. So you don’t even need someone to hold the camera. You allow the videos to be somewhat spontaneous–not scripted–I’m sure that’s why they turn out so natural and energizing. How did you turn the videos into an ebook? What were all the steps from transcribing/editing all the way to finished product on amazon?

Patrick: Through a service called O Desk I found a transcriber who did wonderful work for a very reasonable rate. A colleague recommended an editor who lives in Canada. At that point I was stymied. I was working with a limited budget and knew nothing about the journey for manuscript to book. A friend in California then referred me to a woman who works with writers to get their work published. It turned out that she only lives thirty minutes from my home!

Lisa: How did you decide to make it an e-book? Do you plan to make it s print book too?

Patrick: It’s available in both print and ebook formats. The bound version is for those who are not comfortable with devices such as Kindle. The ebook, however, has a bit more utility. Each devotion is linked to the corresponding video.

Lisa: What’s your plan for getting this ebook and book out into the world?

Patrick: I recorded a video [shown here] that describes what I want to accomplish through the book: connecting with people who are spiritually curious but have had disappointing, negative or painful experiences in the church.
I shared the video with my subscribers and put it on my Unlikely Preacher Facebook page. I asked folks to give a copy of the book to a neighbor or friend who needs a word of hope.  In January, I’ll contact churches and ask them to consider using it as a devotional resource during the forty days of  Lent. One congregation has already expressed interest. My challenge is to develop a coherent and manageable marketing strategy.

Lisa: What response have you gotten to the ebook so far?

Patrick: The response has been very positive. The conversational style seems to resonate with people.  Publishing and sharing the book is also helping me understand the world of publishing a bit better.
Readers, please share your questions on writing a book from videos as a comment below (or feel free to share your book writing experiences).

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