For IT project manager turned author Mark Brooks, publishing the first edition of Christianity from a Different Perspective: Real Spirituality in a Quantum World was a twelve-year journey through discovery, research, journaling, writing, rewriting, editing, and finally working with SPARK Publications to make his vision a reality. The book used principles of quantum physics to explain the spiritual world Jesus spoke of in the gospels and to show how the book of Revelation fits within that context.
In 2017, a year after the first edition was published, he was ready for more rewrites based on questions and comments from readers. The final result, Christianity from a Different Perspective: Real Spirituality in a Quantum World – Version 2.0, is a longer book with a more intense focus on science.
We asked Mark a few questions about the process of publishing his second edition differed from his prior experience.
Mark on publishing his second edition
“What am I happiest about? It has to be the illustrations. It’s hard to read technical nonfiction, especially something that attempts to integrate science, theology, and the paranormal (yawn!). Having a plethora of diagrams, charts and graphics helps readers better comprehend the book’s original concepts. The book’s illustrations can also be reused in the production of online courses, which can provide a supplemental revenue stream when writing nonfiction.”
What were your goals for your second edition?
My book’s objective is to provide a science-oriented justification for a belief in religion, with a minimal use of doctrine. Soon after the first edition was published in early 2016, I attended the Science of Consciousness conference in Tucson, Arizona. There were just over 1,000 attendees, and about half of them had PhDs. While I was there, each time I tried to talk about my book, people would just look at me and grin. It was at that point I realized the science in the book needed to be much more detailed. This was my motivation to create the second edition.
What was different about the process of publishing your second edition?
After surviving the military gauntlet at my “wedding” to the publishing industry and getting smacked in the butt with the sword of book marketing, I felt much more confident that I could tackle this new challenge that awaited me. Making the changes the book needed, though, was still hard. It took me about eighteen months to double the book’s page count, double the number of illustrations, and rewrite 50 percent of the existing content. Now, I look at the second edition as a plateau from which to see how much I’ve learned. After finishing the first edition, I was simply proud to be a published author, but this time around I took a much more critical look at the message being conveyed. It’s a much better book than what I had, but there is still lots of room for improvement.
What am I happiest about? It has to be the illustrations. It’s hard to read technical nonfiction, especially something that attempts to integrate science, theology, and the paranormal (yawn!). Having a plethora of diagrams, charts and graphics helps readers better comprehend the book’s original concepts. The book’s illustrations can also be reused in the production of online courses, which can provide a supplemental revenue stream when writing nonfiction.
You used print-on-demand services for both editions. What sort of flexibility did that provide? What are the other advantages?
Using print on demand made my book portable, which allowed me to shop around for the best production environment. We chose CreateSpace for the first edition but went with IngramSpark, Aerio, and Kindle Direct Publishing to produce and distribute the second edition. Having the SPARK Publications team there during the production process also helped me avoid some costly mistakes.
You also published the second edition as an e-book. Did having an e-book this time present you with any new opportunities?
First, let me tell you a story. I worked late at the office one night in Manhattan and had trouble finding a hotel room because of large conferences that were in town. I eventually ended up finding a vacancy at an eclectic boutique dive in Chelsea. When I checked in, the desk clerk asked me, “Do you want a room … or a place to stay?” I didn’t care, but believe me, there was a difference. My “place to stay” had a padlock on the outside of the door! We’ll just leave it at that. The same idea applies to e-books. Do you want to publish an e-book or produce something people will enjoy reading? There’s a big difference! My e-book was unique in that it contained seventy illustrations and charts, which complicated the production process. We had to manipulate content, make trade-offs based on a preferred reading device, and check over seventy-five hypertext links. It cost more to get the e-book done right, but now I recommend that readers purchase the e-book over the printed edition. I think it’s a better reading experience.