Cover Story: Hallmarks of Successful Publishing in 2020 Are Quality and Community

As Susan Stitt’s Cover Story emphasizes, this photo shows what a successful author looks like in 2020—someone who is frequently taking part in public events to welcome new readers.



MARKETING DIRECTOR SUSAN STITT writes our Cover Story this week, drawing on both 2019 and 2020 data on trends in publishing. Turns out, the talented team behind ReadTheSpirit online magazine and our Front Edge Publishing House already is working hard on the latest innovations. If you are interested in how publishing works these days, please read Susan’s information-packed column, including lots of helpful tips and links. And, please, share this news with friends, today.



GLOBAL CONCERN FOR HEALTHY AGEING—The World Health Organization has declared the years between 2020 and 2030 a Decade of Action on Healthy Ageing. (Yes, we know, spellings of “ageing” and “aging” vary around the world.) Italian journalist and European coordinator for the International Association of Religion Journalists reports on a Vatican-cosponsored conference held in Rome to discuss how doctors, faith leaders and media professionals all can help to cope with this critical need for care.


Invitation to a National Conversation on Books

EXPRESS YOURSELF! Just as our Cover Story explains, this week, we take to heart our commitment to serving an ever-growing community of writers, editors—and, most importantly, readers. Simply by reading this lineup of our weekly stories, you’re part of that community. We’re always looking for ways you can express yourself.

Thanks to a suggestion in a group email from Duncan Newcomer, author of the new 30 Days with Abraham Lincolnwe’re sharing this link to a request from New York Times editors who are asking readers to email a short description of a book that has influenced your life. The invitation is open to anyone—if you happen to spot the notice and send in an email. The deadline is 10 a.m. (ET) on January 15.

Then, here’s how a true community responds. Almost immediately after Duncan’s group email, Benjamin Pratt, the author of several books, emailed back to us that he has been so moved by Duncan’s book that he’s going to email the Times editors about how Duncan’s Lincoln book has touched his life. If you respond to the Times invitation, what book will you recommend? And, please, share your book note with us as well.

We know our readers enjoy opportunities to respond, because … after last week’s cover story about the idea of posting inspirational lines from our favorite books—we’ve already had a number of readers send us their favorite lines. In fact, special thanks to reader Debbie Valencia for actually sending us photos of quotes hanging on her refrigerator door! We loved your photos Debbie. And, stay tuned! We’ll have a follow-up column later this month. Want to send us your inspirational quotes? Or photos of the postings on your ‘fridge door, like Debbie? Email [email protected]


What’s More Important than Family?

GodSigns—Over the years, Suzy Farbman has introduced us to men and women who are making the world a little better each day. Running through their lives are what Suzy calls “GodSigns,” spiritual connections that remind us all of our better selves. Suzy is inviting all of us to start 2020 with the inspirational three-part story of Michelle Brault. This week, please enjoy Part 2 of Michelle’s story. (There’s a quick link in that story to read Part 1, if you missed it.)


Holidays & Festivals 2020


The holiday’s official name is “Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.,” but many people also refer to this annual milestone as: National Day of Service. Many adults alive today recall the long and bumpy journey to establishing this milestone to honor the civil rights leader. Holidays & Festivals expert Stephanie Fenton has the story for us, a column that also includes valuable links to the everything from lesson plans for teachers—to an inspiring overview of King’s life by global peacemaker Daniel Buttry.


Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address



Click this image from Little Women to read Ed McNulty’s review.

Faith & Film

Click on this image to learn more about the January 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:





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