The Serial Comma and the Plagues of Egypt

In another blog I promised to wrestle the serial comma into abject submission. Watch and be amazed.

Many writers and grammarians and punctuationists have traditionally preferred adding a comma before the word and in a list. So, for example, they would write, “I had bananas, blueberries, and strawberries on my corn flakes this morning.” (This, of course, is not to be confused with the cereal comma.)

At InterVarsity Press, we have a general policy of not using a serial comma. Many are horrified, disgusted, shocked, dismayed, repulsed and find themselves on antidepressants as a result of this. Why have we done so?
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Market Research by Publishing Books

One of the dirty little secrets of publishing is that publishers often do market research by publishing books.

If a publisher wants to know what customers are interested in reading or buying, doing full-blown market research can be expensive. You probably need to get professionals involved with focus groups or surveys with all manner of scientific, sociological number crunching. It can easily cost $20,000, $30,000 or $100,000 for even a modest project. Because of this, often publishers will cooperate through a trade association or other umbrella group and buy in to a project.
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Honoring the Past to Reach the Future

For most people, no matter how exciting the change is, the big meaning of change is loss. I once heard a pastor tell how he implemented needed changes. His church had become calcified and stuck in its ways. It needed to break out of its doldrums. But there was resistance, of course. How did he move forward?
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Gaining Buy-In

Have you ever noticed that when people don’t like a decision, they start obsessing about process? They complain about the timing of an announcement (not on a Friday but on a Monday) or how it was made (it shouldn’t have been via email but on paper, not via paper but in person, not in a large group but one on one) or how they weren’t adequately consulted or that they didn’t know a decision was about to be made.
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What Evangelicals Are For

What do those in the upcoming generation think of Christians, and of evangelicals in particular?

In the book Unchristian, to be published by Baker in October 2007, David Kinnaman presents the results of his research on this question. (Is this industrial espionage? Nothing so sinister. I was at a conference where Baker handed out a sample chapter to all attendees.) Kinnaman found that over 85 percent of those aged sixteen to twenty-nine think we are antihomosexual, judgmental and hypocritical. As Kinnaman says, “We have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for.”
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A Book by Any Other Name . . .

Most people know the title of a book matters. It can make or break the success of a book. A wrong title can confuse readers about the content or mislead readers to think the book is not for them.

In publishing, everyone wants a piece of the title–editorial, marketing, sales, design and, oh yes, the author. So what makes a good title?
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