Monday, December 3, 2007

Lesson Learned

I received this email and, after feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach, decided I'd share it. So many of you have had wonderful things to say about Christmas Jars that I thought it might be fun to see that there's always another opinion. And no matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to please everyone. I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned here.

I've offered Karen her money back. No word on whether she'll accept, but I hope she does. I hate the thought that she feels cheated.

So for all you aspiring writers out there, thicken that skin! You'll need it.

Name: 'Karen Kimball'
E-mail: 'XXXXX'
WhoContact: 'author'
Comments: 'The neighborhood book club, started four years ago, read this for our November book, to be discussed in December - the unspoken rule is that a short book be chosen during the holidays as every one is so busy. The book will do well, as demonstrated by the NYTimes list - particularly in these times when there is a desperate desire to fuel the capitalist fire - if Mr. Wright really believed in the premise of the story, he would not be concerned with his placement on the NYTimes list. He would not be contributing to the Hollywood money factory by turning it into a movie. He would not be blogging, have multiple websites, etc. He would be giving away the book for free.

Finally - Mr. Wright would do well to find a different editor. The book is riddled with editing mistakes - simple misuse of the plural possessive, references in the book which contradict previously described situations, improper use of subordinate clauses, etc.

I did appreciate that the book was short - the sooner to be free of the trite message.

Does Mr. Wright believe in Chrismas Jars? He should live a more simple lifestyle and really change the world with his actions - above and beyond books that read like made-for-television movies.'


  1. I totally disagree with Karen's comments. I think the success of his book helps people way more than if he gave it away for free!!! Do you know how many people have jobs and can put food on the table because a book like Christmas Jars is successful? Authors only get a small percentage of what the book sells for. Yes Jason receives payment, but it's not a crazy amount of money (The book only sells for like $5 in paperback, how much could he really get?) Are bookstores evil for making money for selling the Bible? No. The stores have to make money. And having the book adapted into a movie once again creates jobs for people, puts food on the table, pays the bills, and will inspire people to live better lives. It's not like this story will corrupt people that watch it. It will inspire them to do something good. Does Mr. Wright believe in Christmas Jars? Yes and he is helping hundreds of people to be able to put money into Christmas Jars and inspiring thousands more to start their own.

  2. Thanks, cubsfan, that was very kind! Merry Christmas.

  3. I am an aspiring writer as well.. and thks for the heads up Jason! My dream is to be a published author.. thks for all the warm advice.. ur right.. after reading the writers market, yes, thick skins definitely required.. thks for visiting my blog! Enjoy your wednesday!

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  5. I disagree as well. The Wednesday Letters and The Christmas Jars are undoubtably 2 of the best novels I have ever read. The message in both are very inspirational. If the people of the world would slow down and listen they might find out that the loud angry voices will lead you wrong but the small quiet voice will guide you in the right direction ever time. I work in a public library so I have read many books of all types of genre, these 2 books are superb. I have reccommended The Wednesday Letters to everyone I know. The Christmas Jars was a perfect example of unselfishness and love. Please keep doing what you are doing Jason. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!

  6. Oh wow. I just picked this book up at my favorite shop and am already loving it. As one who aspires to be a writer I know how cruel some people can be. Please do not allow this woman to make you feel rotten Jason. Many more of us have been blessed by your writing.
    My only published work has been group newsletters, online blogging, online magazines and the only monies made from it all were from Chicken Soup For The Military Wife's Soul.
    But I love every second of it and, if one person thinks something I write is funny or meaningful or makes them think then I have been successful. You Jason are VERY successful. Thank you for lifting our spirits.

    Merry Christmas and may the coming year be a blessing for you.

  7. Well you already know how I feel about your books, I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. In fact this week I bought another copy of The Christmas Jars (hardback this time) I have loaned my other one out a number of times and everyone has loved it. I guess you can't please everyone all the time, but geez. All I can say is Merry Christmas, good luck, and keep up the great writing. Why don't you come to Des Moines next week with Glenn Beck, we would love to meet you! Your awesome.

  8. Jason...
    I couldn't disagree more with Karen. In fact, I just finished writing on my blog about how you have influenced me deeply. Thanks for speaking in Harrisonburg last week. It was a night I will always remember, because of the feelings of my heart as you spoke. Feelings I have had before, but you reminded me. This week has been different because of it.
    Keep it up.
    Merry Christmas to you and your famliy!

  9. Thank you for leaving me a comment on my blog about Christmas Jars! But I was just curious how you knew I mentioned your book?

  10. I, for one, enjoyed the read. It keeps with the spirit of giving that Christmas brings out in us all. BTW, thanks for stopping by, Jason.

  11. I think there is nothing better than doing everything you can to get the word out there- thats what blogs, sites, movies, books..are for.
    Im sad to hear that her comments about it were so unkind. I think she had a lot of interesting points but the only big problem in it is that she has NO IDEA how much money you may continue to give away because of the money that you have gained from all of this exposure. Life is too short to worry about whether or not everyone around you is in the wrong or in the right..I just think it's our job to do what makes the world a better place...and it all starts with a smile. :)

  12. I am positively FLOORED after reading Karen's comment! How anyone can read Christmas Jars and come away with negative feelings is beyond my belief! I know everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings but this really threw me for a loop! I'll just leave it at that or I'll go off on a tangent of no return!
    Jason, you have blessed so many lives with your talent and I for one thank you.
    Merry Christmas and the Brightest of New Years!

  13. That took some guts to post :)

    An author friend of mine gave me great advice once. She said that she'd rather skip a final read-through of her galleys--trusting in the copyeditors--so that she could spend more time with her children. It takes me two full days to read through galleys the first time. And after the copyeditors go through it, mistakes are put back in. The author can choose to read through the entire book again, or move on. A few typos in a book don't bother me. It just makes me realize that the author has a life outside of writing/editing.

    I just finished CHRISTMAS JARS and really enjoyed it. We've done some similar things in our family. I think getting the word out there about the book is making a difference in many lives. And a movie is even better! Congrats on all of your success.

  14. I agree with Heather -- it took a lot of guts for you to post this. I don't know if I would be that brave. I'm sorry you've gotten this criticism -- but you're right, you can't please everyone.

    It's true that there's a lot of flak that gets dealt to someone who has written a book that has a spiritual or uplifting theme - there will be those who think we shouldn't take money for them. If only they knew how little money it really is, and if only they understood that time was taken away from family and work to get it done.

    This one woman will not keep your fans from loving you. She was probably scared by a Christmas book as a child. Erase it and move on -- you rock and we all think so.

  15. We have to feel sorry for any person whose personality is that sour and judgmental. It's sometimes harder to pity than to take offense, but the outcome for the one offended is less painful.

    Way to go, Jason, with all your amazing books. I love anything feel-good. No point in making life any more difficult than it already is--and lots of reason to make it better through work like yours.

  16. Jason - I'd ignore her completely. People like that spend all their time digging out sleights that do not occur, mistakes which are not there, offenses (intended or not) completely blown out of portion . . . you simply can't take criticism such as this serious. Often when a book is inspirational it will offend the hardened soul. So dismiss it accordingly and keep working away.

  17. Hi Jason,

    I confess I haven't read your book yet, but as a fellow published author, I fully understand the very, very small amount that actually lands in your lap from each book sale - and this after all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it. Letters like hers can make you wonder what you're doing it all for. But please don't let discouragement get to you. Just look at how many POSITIVE letters you've received, and consider the fact that some people can't be pleased no matter what.

    My own first novel wound up with over 100 typos--most of them typesetting errors--and few which were in the original manuscript turned in to the publisher. It literally wasn't my fault. From talking to other authors, I know this happens a LOT... but we, the authors, still wind up with the blame, don't we? ~sigh~

    It's a shame the general public can't be more educated about what a nightmare it can be getting into print... and how much it COSTS just to distribute a book in the first place. And we're not even talking about marketing yet.

    The market is what it is... and her complaints seem to be aimed toward marketing, the American economic system, and other issues which are totally beyond your control.

    Forgive her and move on. Perhaps there are some other issues this person needs to deal with, and is taking them out on you instead. We'll never know.

    All I can say is, I'm sorry this happened to you!

    Now I'll have to read about these wonderful Jars everyone is loving so much. May peace return to you at this blessed season!

  18. My niece and her husband received a Christmas Jar this year. You will never know how much I appreciated someone who knew they were in trouble reaching out to them. There will always be the Karen's finding fault, I am sorry for her. But I began to cry with gratitude when I saw my niece and her family have their needs met because of the inspiration of this book. Our family will do a Christmas jar next Christmas, and maybe we should find Karen and give it to her. Thanks