FAQs on Global Publishing
What does MAI do?
MAI equips and nurtures talented men and women who have a passion for producing Christian literature for their own people. Since our founding in 1985, MAI has equipped local Christians in nearly 60 countries on 5 continents. As a result, we've seen budding writers developed, publishing houses grown, periodicals begun and books and magazines produced that speak to the hearts of readers in their own languages.
What is LittWorld?
MAI hosts LittWorld, a triennial five-day conference that provides intensive training on strategic, publishing-related topics. It is the only international conference of its kind; each conference serves more than 150 publishers, editors and writers from over 30 countries. Read more about LittWorld 2009 here.
How can people become Christians through reading a book?
Most of us know probably at least one person who has become a Christian through reading a book...or an article, tract or even song lyric. We can’t always explain how or why, but we know that God does speak to hearts through the written word. Scripture says, "The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit...it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
Why do books make effective "missionaries" in places like India or the Middle East?
In some countries, public Christian witness is restricted, dangerous or forbidden. Giving someone a book, magazine or tract can be a nonthreatening but effective outreach. The seeker can take a book and read it in the privacy of his/her room and come to a point of decision, as the Holy Spirit leads.
Why are Christian books important to strengthening the church around the world?
In countries like Brazil or Guatemala, where the evangelical church has exploded in number, books are needed for Christian growth and leadership training. Local Christians need literature that applies Scripture and Christian truth to the unique problems and issues in their own countries. Author Tim Stafford has said that the strength of the national church is in direct proportion to its body of Christian literature.
What are the dangers of being a Christian publisher or writer in some countries?
Radical fundamentalism is making it difficult for Christian witness in some countries. Publishing a Christian book or article is perceived as proselytizing and can put the publisher or author at risk. On a very practical level, trying to live from the income of one’s publishing or writing can require great risk and financial sacrifice.
Why are so few books by local Christian authors published in Latin America, Asia and Africa?
Publishers too often rely on translated material written in a context foreign to their own. In some countries, 80% to 90% of available Christian books in the local language are translations.
If translations of Christian literature are available, why is the need for locally-written literature so pressing?
In restricted access countries, Christianity is often seen as a purely Western religion. When the only local Christian books are translations of Western authors, it only reinforces this false notion. Local Christians are best suited to write about issues and problems facing readers’ own countries and cultures.
However, we will always need translations of good Christian books. North American Christians, for instance, need to hear from authors in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
What are three of the biggest problems faced by Christian publishers in many countries?
1) Generating enough revenues to sustain their ministry and make it self-supporting. Many work in depressed economies where books are considered a luxury.
2) Finding and keeping qualified staff in a labor pool with few Christian professionals.
3) Getting church leaders and lay Christians to see the importance of reading.
Why is writing such hard work, and why is it harder for Christians?
Writing can be a very lonely task. Writers don’t often see the immediate results of their work. Rarely does one draft suffice; writers must write and rewrite.
In some countries, the writing process is even more difficult for Christians, who may face more obstacles connecting to a writing community and getting their work published. Especially in closed countries, a writer might have difficulty finding a publishing house willing to take Christian writing. MAI comes alongside these writers, offering them training and encouragement, and connecting them to Christian publishers.
Who is sometimes the "missing link" in the development of good Christian literature?
Editors are often the missing link. There is a misconception that editors only proofread and edit copy. MAI’s LittWorld and training conferences equip editors to find and guide gifted writers until they have publishable manuscripts.
Tell me about a Christian publisher from Africa.
Lawrence Darmani grew up on a tiny farm in rural Ghana. He loves reading, and began to write stories and articles as a teenager. He studied communications at Daystar University in Kenya and later started two magazines back home in Ghana: Step, for teenagers, and Surprise, for children. He also publishes books and is an award-winning novelist. (Read the article, "Dickens or Darmani.") He is MAI’s Africa regional trainer.
Do you have any other regional trainers?
Ian Darke is MAI's Latin America regional trainer. Based in Costa Rica, he also coordinates Letra Viva, a Latin publishers network linking 40 publishers across Latin America.
Tell me about a Christian writer from Latin America.
Keila Ochoa Harris attended an MAI writer workshop in Mexico when she was only 18 years old. Keila writes historical fiction and teen fantasy novels that communicate Christian truth. She is one of Latin America’s brightest up-and-coming Christian writers. She has helped MAI equip other writers in Asia and Latin America.
Tell me about a Christian publisher from the Middle East.
Sawsan Tannoury directs a Baptist publishing house in Lebanon. She attended MAI’s LittWorld 2006 conference in Brazil. There, God opened a door for her books to be distributed beyond Lebanon to the large Arabic-speaking population in Brazil.
Tell me about a Christian writer from Asia.
Luis Gatmaitan is a pediatrician in the Philippines. From his love for children, he began writing stories that would teach Christian values combined with good health and hygiene. He is one of the Philippines’ best authors, secular or Christian, and has served as an MAI trainer in Mongolia and elsewhere.
How can I get involved with MAI?
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