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less is more (formerly The Scoop)
is a  more or less monthly newsletter from author Ken Kuhlken
.

I’m delighted to announce that MidheavenThe Very Least, and the Answer to Everything, a set of novels that together make up an epic love story, and of which I am exceedingly proud, are now available in trade paper and ebook.

They offer you hours of high drama, suspense, pathos, and memorable wisdom, while sending you to the wilds of the Lake Tahoe region and the Tijuana/San Diego border so relevant to our times.

Please read them and consider the single books or the set as ideal gifts for your reader friends.

And remember, every Hickey’s book purchased gives a dollar to help Perelandra College students become smart, honest, and skillful writers. 

 


Woe is Us?
On Christian books, writers, publishers, and booksellers
 
To read from the beginning, go here. 

Part Six:


I trust you will pardon a digression on account of something I read this week in Philip Yancey’s Christians and Politics: Uneasy Partners:  “A few decades ago an overwhelming majority of respondents with no faith commitment still viewed Christians favorably. According to George Barna researchers only 16 percent of young “outsiders” now have a favorable impression of Christianity and only 3 percent have a good impression of evangelicals.


As a writer lacking a retirement income that alone would allow me to subsidize Zoe's college or travel much farther than say, Yuma, Arizona, I think about my writing income when considering what Mr. Yancey points out. Because the less favorable impression "outsiders" have, the less likely they are to buy my books. And since I don't write primarily for the "insiders" who are more likely to read CBA books, which mine aren’t, I’m in something of a fix.


The church I favor grew out of Calvary Chapel and is classed evangelical. So according to Mr. Yancey, most readers consider me homophobic, judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned, illogical, and convinced that whoever doesn't agree with me will go to hell. Now why would anyone want to read an author about whom they think all that?
 
More to the point, how can I persuade them that’s not me?
 
Branding, that’s how. What I, and perhaps you, need is a brand that not only identifies me or us to readers as a Christian who is no more homophobic, judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned, or illogical than they are.
 
Here’s a fairly comprehensive look
at what makes an author brand, which you ought to read when time allows. Meanwhile, though, so as not to lure you away from my compelling thoughts, here is an outline.
 
To Establish Your Brand:
• Identify your reader.
• Develop your brand voice.
• Figure out your unique selling point.
• Set some expectations. Tell readers what they can expect from you.
• Know what you're branding. You are branding you, not your book.
• Choose a look, a color palette, maybe a smile, a sneer, a style of headgear, or a logo.
• Apply your brand everywhere.
 
Now, since you know the basics of my brand (the guy who writes about crime and often about real life Christians and who  is no more homophobic, judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned, or illogical than you are), either after or before you try out a book of mine, you had best start branding. And if an insight about branding yourself, branding me, or about anything else worthy of contemplation comes to mind, drop me a note at ken@kenkuhlken.net 

 
Magical Music

To prepare for Christmas, listen here.

And read this poem by T.S. Eliot, on the same topic.

 

"The Journey Of The Magi" 

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Should you appreciate less is more, please let your friends know they can subscribe here
Wishing y'all blessed peace.

Ken
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