July 2008Dear Friend of FTE:
Recent events affirm the investment you have made over the years in the ministry of FTE and its vital mission. The challenges that confront us right now are great, but I believe you will be encouraged by this report. In all candor, I will also share a request for an opportunity-based need at the end of this letter.
The most significant news is that we have found a distribution partner to take The Design of Life into the large book retail chains: ISI, or, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. (ISI published one of Bill Dembski's earlier books, Uncommon Dissent.) This is an important opportunity because, despite the growing use of online book marketing and sales, the trade (or retail stores) is still responsible for approximately 90% of all book sales. Access to the trade is ordinarily not available to a publisher with less than 15 current books apart from a rare partnership such as this. What's more, ISI's distributor is one of the very best, the University of Chicago Press.
As an incentive to ISI, we are giving them publication rights to FTE's newest book (yes!), How to Be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist - Or Not (DoL's 8th chapter on the origin of the first living cell, which Bill Dembski reworked to serve as a stand-alone volume). ISI's version will be an attractive, slender volume, with graphics from the movie, EXPELLED, and a page in the front promoting DoL. It will be released simultaneously with the DVD of the movie, probably in October. Our agreement with ISI allows us to publish How to Be in an inexpensive format to use as a freebie to help draw traffic to our booths wherever we are exhibiting this summer. The cover of our version sports a tremendous quote by Antony Flew, former Oxford Professor of Philosophy and (until recently) world-renowned atheist: "The million people who bought copies of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and want to learn the truth about this matter should now buy their copies of Dembski and Wells' The Design of Life."
Climbing the Marketing MountainIn a sense, getting DoL completed and published was like reaching base camp on a major mountain climb. Now we face the even greater challenge of marketing the book so that its powerful truth can make deep inroads into the worldview that dominates our educational institutions and our increasingly secular culture. Here is a short report of the major conventions/conferences where we have exhibited our books, particularly DoL and How to Be.
BookExpo AmericaFirst stop was BookExpo America (May 29th to June 1st in Los Angeles), attended by some 30,000 from all facets of the book publishing industry. We brought Bill Dembski out for one morning to sign books for followers, who filed through his line for a full hour. We made important contacts, and certainly benefitted from the experience through several informative marketing-related seminars.
National Faculty Leadership ConferenceAt the end of June, we exhibited at the Campus Crusade-sponsored National Faculty Leadership Conference in D.C., where we launched our plan to get books into the hands of numerous faculty across the country. This is a sowing of seed that could result in a major outreach to students over the next 5 to 10 years. J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Biola University, opened this outstanding conference with a dynamic and challenging keynote address. This powerful message set the stage for Christian professors to consider strategies to counter the assaults on Christian faith and values. Later, when he spied me in the hotel lobby, he raved about DoL, and then put his comments in writing:
"The Design of Life is the finest book I have ever seen on this topic. It is handsomely done, well written, and nicely laid out. Moreover, the material is accessible and it gets right to the key issues. The Design of Life is a symbol as well as a book. It symbolizes the maturity of the Intelligent Design movement, and I heartily recommend it."
Given that J. P. has for years been a key figure in the dramatic increase of Christian philosophy faculty in both secular and Christian universities across the nation, his endorsement of DoL means a great deal to us.
International Christian Retail ShowAs you receive this letter, we will have just completed the final leg of our exhibition tour, the International Christian Retail Show (previously, the CBA) in Orlando, July 13-17. This important show is a major opportunity for FTE, allowing us to display DoL, How to Be, Never Before in History, and Sex and Character to Christian book retailers and distributors.
Never Before in HistoryThrough a $20,000 grant from the Charles Wackerle Foundation, we have just printed the 2008 edition of the ever-popular Never Before in History. As expected, Never Before is selling at a snappy pace, primarily to Christian schools and to distributors who service both them and homeschoolers. This is a time of tumult, when the most foundational truths of America's existence are the subject of heated dispute and disagreement, and therefore it is a pivotal time to teach these vital truths to young people. By the way, if you haven't seen our web site for this book, www.neverbeforeinhistory.com, check it out.
Now More Than Ever We Need Your Help!As you see, because of God's blessing and your generous support, greater doors are opening for FTE. But summer is routinely the most difficult time financially for us, and this summer represents a critical watershed. The costs of participating in the marketing opportunities described above and of putting the book out there through a variety of other means have almost entirely drained our operating funds. Yet the days ahead hold tremendous potential for fulfilling the mission of FTE. What makes this an exciting moment for FTE is the potential for DoL to influence the university classrooms where our teachers are being taught and trained, so that intelligent discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism, discussion based on genuine science and research, can occur in the public square and in our colleges and universities. I think you can see why we are eager to continue our marketing efforts at full speed and to be able, given the resources, to once again sponsor publications, symposia and teacher training seminars that bring intelligent design to the forefront of the national conversation.
Friends, thanks to your faithfulness in partnering with us, FTE has a wonderful story to tell and plenty of good news. During this time of both great opportunity and serious financial stress, would you consider accelerating all or a portion of what you anticipate giving at the end of the year or making a generous contribution you really hadn't anticipated? This would be a propitious time to do that. Won't you please pray about that possibility?
Because He lives,
P. S. Thank you for reading this report and for praying about what you might give.
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