Thursday, July 19, 2012

God Is Greater

Author: Marc Brown
Genre: Religious, Spiritual
How long it's been on sale: April 2011
Current price: $8.49
Marketing: Amazon, one book signing, given few copies to influencial local people, word of mouth, copies available in our antiques store.
Total sold so far: 250+
Link to book on Amazon: God Is Greater

Product Description:

If you are curious about who God is and what He is like, you will find this book extremely interesting. If you are skeptical about God, this book will give your skepticism pause. This is a must read for anyone who has questions about God.

First 300 Words:

First things first, I am operating under the assumption God exists – to assume otherwise is simple-minded, foolish and requires much more faith than is humanly possible.  When one considers every society from the jungles of Africa to the rain forests of South America to the ancient Mayans of Central America has sought after an entity to worship, it is difficult to believe such an Entity does not exist.  When one further considers we have never witnessed the creation of something (anything) from absolute nothing, it is even more difficult to believe a Being with far greater capabilities than those which we possess does not exist.

To put faith in a greater Being about Whom numerous texts have been written, about Whom millions of people testify, after Whom every society has sought, simply makes more sense than putting faith in random chance or chaos.

Now, I do believe random chance and chaos certainly have a place in and impact this world around us, but I cannot believe the complex design of our solar system, the universe, and the various life forms in existence on earth could have possibly been the product of random chance.  There had to have been an Architect, with the ability both to design and create, behind the intricacies of such sophisticated constructions. 

Could evolution have played a part in God’s creative design?  Possibly…but even after many decades of study regarding the theory of evolution, we remain unable to form a legitimate evolutionary trail connecting fish to man, or ape to man, or amoeba to man.  If evolution is indeed more than mere theory, I pose this question – could evolution have rendered today’s creations without the steady hand of God to guide the process?  Could not creation have devolved as easily as it is said to have evolved? 

Comments: The cover image looks old. It makes me think of old etchings, which gives me the feeling that the book is out of date. I do not think the artwork on the cover is giving the reader the right impression. I also can't read the text very well. I would hire a graphic designer to re-do the cover.

The description is off-putting to both believers and non-believers. Those who do not believe in God do not want to read a book that promises to "give their skepticism pause." Would you want to read a book that wants to change your mind about your own beliefs? No? Me neither. I do not enjoy others telling me what I believe is wrong. This book is not going to be attractive to atheists.

On the other hand, those who do believe in God and might be interested in this book will have no idea what is discussed in this book, and what they will get out of it. Does this book take bible teachings and explain them? Does this book look at philosophies of the world and debate them? Whose God is discussed in this book? Is this a look at a Catholic God? Just the author's idea of God? I have no idea. And what credibility does this book have? Is the author some kind of church leader? Which church? Did he start his own, or is he a scholar of an established religion? Also, the last sentence is off-putting. If you don't have questions about God, or don't feel like you do, this book basically says it's not for you. This book will not be attractive to believers either.

I also don't like it when descriptions promise I am going to feel a certain way about a book. Don't tell me I will find it extremely interesting. How do you know? What if I don't find it extremely interesting? It's annoying to me when a book description does this. Definitely cut that part.

Here's what I think the description needs. First, the author needs to establish credibility. Is the author himself credible? (A minister, or other kind of church leader, or has a doctorate in religion, for example.) If not, establish how the information is credible. Is the Bible the basis of this? The Qur'an? (You will need to know who your audience is before you can establish credibility for them. Different people will have different expectations as to what establishes credibility.)

Second, clearly explain what the book is going to teach us. Does your book explore how we can know God exists? Does it explore the nature of God? Does it explore different religious beliefs in God? Give us the information about what the book is going to teach us.

Third, answer why we need to study this. Why is this book important? What is the goal of this book? To explore beliefs? To inform? To convert? Let the reader know why this book is important. Fourth, how can we apply this book in our lives? What can we do with this information? Will this book teach me how to see God in the world around me? Will it help build my faith? Will it help me be a missionary? Tell the reader how this book will be applied.

The beginning of the book is offensive. I've believed in God my whole life, yet this still offends me. Don't start your book by calling a very large group of people simple minded and foolish. This will not make anyone question their skepticism, it will make them put the book down.

The book is paperback only, so maybe look at making it available as an ebook. It would open up your distribution to millions of ereader owners.

Now, having said all that, selling 250 paperback books in 15 months is extremely good. This book is selling. With a few tweaks, I think it could be selling even more. What do you guys think?


  1. The image is all squished narrow and the text is near-impossible to read. The cover could be much more attractive, IMHO. Good luck!

    1. Please check out the update Vicki has posted - I have completely revised the book cover and made some revisions to the content.

  2. The opening text is full of false statements.

    (1) Scientists have in fact witnessed the creation of something from nothing. It's called a quantum fluctuation. Energetic particles can spontaneously appear in a vacuum.

    (2) The design of the universe, including our solar system, is the very precise (and predictable) result of natural forces, such as gravity and electromagnetism.

    (3) Scientists have indeed constructed a very thorough evolutionary path from simple organisms to modern humans, which is why so many scientists are now moving on to study how simple organisms arose from non-living matter.

    And there is no such thing as devolution. Creatures with "inferior" features, such as missing limbs or organs, usually die without reproducing because they are not able to compete with "superior" or intact peers, unless the environment changes to favor the "inferior" individual, in which case it is no longer inferior at all.

    In this first page alone, we can see the author is quite ignorant of the scientific subjects being discussed.

  3. The cover looks like an old catechism and needs some serious updating. Even colorizing it might help. The text is nearly impossible to read.

    I usually balk at long blurbs, but this one is too short. It really tells me nothing. Is this book the result of a personal search for a god to believe in? Is the author a life-long believer that now feels compelled to share his beliefs? Has there been some defining incident in the authors life that brought about his faith in God?

    What is the intended audience for this book? Some seekers might be interested, but believers (or non-believers) only want to read what they believe (or don't) in.

    The blurb and the first 300 raise more questions than they answer and some of those questions need to be answered before I would even think of exploring this book further.

    250 paperbacks? That's darned good. Fix up the cover and blurb and make it an ebook to reach a larger audience.

  4. The cover looks like an old clipart or artistic etching, is grossly distorted, and the title is pretty much invisible on top of it. The blurb reads like a very dry lecture. It doesn't give me any reason to want to read the book. Don't tell me I'll find the book interesting because you don't know that. The blurb's job is to GET me interested in reading the book.

    And to be honest, judging by the first 300 words, your book may not give me things to consider, but tell me what I should think. As a reader and one very interested in such topics, I often enjoy discussions on the issue. I DO NOT enjoy being lectured, talked down to, or being told what I should believe. Nothing wrong with having your own conclusions, but they should be presented as your own conclusions, and not as if I'm supposed to share your thoughts because you've somehow "proven" anything. Give me the facts, give me a balanced look at both sides, and I'd find your book very interesting. Just the little I've read so far, it seems that you are indirectly dictating the conclusion I should come to after reading your book. Not very good for sales.

    I think you have a great idea and there is probably some quite intriguing stuff inside. But the overall presentation, I'm afraid, is lacking in marketability and widespread appeal. Make some adjustments, get an ebook version (particularly Kindle) version out there, and you could have a real bestseller on your hands.

    1. Please check out the update Vicki has posted - I have completely revised the cover and some content.

  5. The cover made me almost not look at the book or read the blurb, and when I did venture further, the first sentence stopped me cold. I agree with everything Victorine stated. I tried 3 times to read the blurb and just couldn't do it. The description is off-putting. Our own beliefs in and relationship with God is very personal and the author comes across as extremely audacious to suggest he could tell or explain to us what God is like.

  6. Yeah, the holy trinity is lacking here.

    Cover. Not just unappealing. Off-putting. Monochrome, poor font choice, pseudo block print has too much detail to render effectively in thumbnail. Strike one.

    Blurb. Others have hit the high points. There's also the "sieve" effect of "curious" (no) or "skeptical" (no). Obviously not a book for me. Strike two.

    Sample. Dude. Insulting your readers in the second (run-on) sentence? I mean it's all well and good and everything to assert your bias upfront but to call anybody who disagrees with you "simple-minded"...? Yeah. No. Strike three.

    1. Please take a look at the update Vicki has posted. I have completely revised the cover, blurb, and some content.

  7. The cover is pretty bad. The font is terrible.

    I find the beginning of the book really insulting. You say in the blurb this book is for both believers and non believers. Then you start the book by saying you're stupid if you don't believe in God. That's pretty bad.

  8. I have a PhD in science, and I'm obviously simple-minded and too stupid to read this book.

    This is emphatically not a book for those who are curious about religious belief. This is a book that preaches to the converted.

    Good grief.

    I normally enjoy these posts.

    1. I am sorry to have offended you with the way in which I worded the "God exists" assertion. If you would, please take a look at the update Vicki has posted. I have made some revisions which may make the read more palatable.

  9. I come at this from a different perspective. I did note the audacious statements and the assumptive scientific knowledge. I am a Christian, and yet I did not find this a convincing lure to get me to read it.

    Possibly, it is because my own faith rests on just that: FAITH. I know God through the Bible, a personal relationship with Him, and a cognitive acknowledgement of His divine power, will, and providence. That, I am sorry to say, precludes any evidence you may trot out in your book.

    As far as an evangelical calling to believe in God to those who are religicurious (my word), or possibly to atheists (good luck, there, my friend), I believe you are going to have a harder sell there. What may appeal to these types of readers is a controversial new scientific finding or an expert in theology or archeology espousing some new truth. You can allude to it as "ground shaking," but the tease will have to be just that. No promises. No assumptions about how people are going to feel.

    Look, I know that sometimes there is conflicting advice out there. I see the articles that tell you to communicate to the reader WHY they should read the book and WHAT they are going to get out of it. That sales technique is solid advice for non-fiction books. However, something as personal as faith has to have a different tactic used to allure potential readers. Especially sensitive ones or readers with a confident world view that is opposed to the one you are proposing.

    Remember, to most atheists, all religions boil down to mass delusions. Your proofs will need to be compelling, logical, and based on something other than a canonical text written ages ago. It's enough for me, but not for everyone.

    So, in a nutshell, I think you have seriously narrowed your market for this book. Maybe that is intentional. Sometimes we write for an audience of the minority. If a larger market is what you desire, I suggest reading some books in this genre. A CASE FOR CHRIST, for example. MERE CHRISTIANITY is another. Some TD Jakes books for inspiration. Mitch Albom. Read their blurbs, look at their covers. Find the common formula they use to entice millions of people to purchase their book. You need to change your cover and your blurb whether you alter the interior of the book or not.

    1. I have read the books you have requested I read. And I agree with your statement about faith. Please take a quick look at the update Vicki has posted. I have completely revised "God Is Greater" - it contains the same message, but in perhaps a more palatable way.

  10. There's little I can add that hasn't been said already, but I would like to put out these thoughts:

    First, I'm not put off by the blurb (although I think all the suggestions already given would make it much better.) On the contrary, I love a good discussion (I'm a born-debater!)and find delightful the promise that a skeptic will be challenged by this book...I'm always eager to hear what can be said to encourage faith in God. But having promised me words that will challenge a skeptic, they'd better be strongly convincing words.

    Second, my initial response to this book is that it's intended to be a comforting book, to uplift the reader in their faith...if that's the intention, the cover does not convey any comfort at all. Beyond all the other flaws listed by others, the cover should be focused on a warm, confident expression of a loving God that has created a miraculous universe, since that seems to be the message of the book.

    Third, the first sentence is completely ungrammatical. I can stand a good run-on sentence (and many famous writers have utilized them) but if the first paragraph is an indication of the rest of the book, the message is going to be obscured by incomplete editing. Let me demonstrate on the second and third sentences:

    When one considers every society from the jungles of Africa to the rain forests of South America to the ancient Mayans of Central America, AND CONSIDERS THAT EACH OF THESE SOCIETIES has sought after an entity to worship, it is difficult to believe such an Entity does not exist. When one further considers we have never witnessed the creation of something, anything, from absolute nothing, it is even more difficult to believe a Being DOES NOT EXIST WHO HAS far greater capabilities than those we possess.

    That's certainly not a perfect improvement (and the all-caps is simply a device I used to help you catch where I made changes) but it fixes the faulty syntax.

    Opening pages need to be brilliantly written, with elegant sentences that perfectly capture the writer's intentions... Follow the other suggestions here, and add in some good editing, and you'll have a much smoother road to high sales!

    1. Please take a look at the update Vicki has posted. I have completely revised the book in an effort to retain the message, but in a more palatable manner.


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