Checking in on the book project

Get used to these check-ins; otherwise, it may be too easy to throw the idea of a book on the scrapheap of good intentions. For one thing, it looks like I may be envisioning not one work, but three.

  1. A book about what Universalist Christianity, in a liberal vein, might look like today. And not necessarily a majoritarian view. Somewhat practical. Not too long. This would ideally be published by an existing press, and would be what I would pitch first to Skinner House.
  2. A documentary history. A corrective, in some sense, to what we have. This might be a self-published work or perhaps a website. The readership would be small, but important, but not so important to justify the publishing or promotion costs (or effort) a traditional approach demands.
  3. A monograph or other shorter subject answering the “so, what did happen to Universalist Christianity?” Perhaps for a journal, and to scratch that itch and to keep the first book in the present, and perhaps not so morose.

A preacher, after all, needs not put everything in one sermon.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Your librarian’s responses, in brief.

    1. Self-publishing has its promise, but also its peril. It’s still too easy to be interpreted as a kooky hack job if you use self-publishing, although I’ll be the first of its critics to admit that this reputation is slowly changing. If you go the route of self-publishing, some academic/mainstream publishers have self-publishing wings or units — go there first.

    2. Whether 1 book, 2, or 3, is up to you and whomever you consult/contract with as an editor (because everyone needs an editor). However, if you have to choose: book before website. Although technically one could say that a website has both greater reach and longevity, books still have more gravitas, and a greater invitation to actually be read, rather than scanned once and liked. And you know I am no foe of web publishing or any other emerging technology. But really, a combination of book and website is best.

    Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions.

  2. Are you thinking about any particular order of production? Or simultaneous on all 3 projects?

    Excellent overlap between the 3. And doing all 3 is perhaps a very good approach to your own productivity.

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