WestBow Press Editorial Standards
Each WestBow Press title adheres to a set of Editorial Standards established by parent company, Thomas Nelson Inc. The following is a description of these standards, as Michael Hyatt, New York Times bestselling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, discusses in detail in a blog post titled, Thomas Nelson's Content Standards.
- Communicators who profess a personal faith in Jesus Christ. We want to work with people who are willing to say, “I am a Christian.” We do not try to judge their profession or assess the validity of their faith. Only God knows their hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Nevertheless, we want to work with communicators who claim to be Christians and are not ashamed of it.
- Communicators who embrace the central truths of historic Christianity. Such ancient documents as the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are simply convenient summaries of these truths and nearly all Christians can agree on them. Beyond these basic truths, we want to allow latitude—and even disagreement!—on non-core doctrines.
- Communicators who seek to live according to the standards of biblical morality. We do not expect perfection. We acknowledge that all Christians—even Christian communicators—fall short of God’s standards. But we want to promote communicators who are committed to living in obedience to God’s revealed will. We want to promote communicators who “walk the talk.”
Beyond these standards, there is freedom. Philippians 4:8 provides the inspiration for an expansive content program. It says:
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
Notice the word whatever. It is repeated six times and then followed by the word anything. Based on this verse, we believe that Christians are free to think, write, or speak about anything—whatever they want!—provided it meets eight basic criteria:
- It must be true. This means that it must be authentic and must correspond to reality. We want to promote content that embraces reality as God created it, not content that “sugar coats” reality or tries to make reality something it is not. If the work is fiction, then it must promote truth and reinforce the central truths of historic Christianity. If a work discusses controversial matters, then it must avoid unnecessary argumentation and gratuitous criticism so as to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
- It must be noble. This means that it must raise us up and make us more like God. The opposite is to debase or degrade. We want to promote content that ultimately motivates people and calls forth their best qualities.
- It must be just. This means it must be righteous or consistent with the commandments of God. It also means it must be fair. We want to promote content that promotes righteousness and godly living. By the way, this doesn’t mean that novels can’t have evil characters. (There are plenty of them in God’s story.) But it does mean that in the end righteousness is rewarded and evil punished—if not in this life, the next.
- It must be pure. This means it must be chaste, modest, clean. We want to promote content that promotes holiness and offers a necessary corrective to current trends to sexualize everything. This does not mean that we are opposed to sex, of course. But we want to make sure that our content advocates a view of sex that is consistent with Christian morality. Avoid descriptions of the act, specifically the following: kissing below the neck; sexual touching; visible signs of arousal or sexual attraction; nudity; double entendre; sex outside of the biblical definition of marriage.
- It is lovely. This means it must be aesthetically pleasing or beautiful. We want to publish communicators who are committed to beautiful writing and speaking. Both what is said and how it is said are important. Beauty is not a means to an end. It is an end in itself, because it reflects the beauty of the Creator.
- It is of good report. This means it must be commendable or of high reputation. Again, the emphasis is on that which represents the best, that which anyone could read or hear and agree that it is well-written or well-spoken.
- It is virtuous. This means it must affirm behavior which is consistent with the highest values. Values that don’t manifest themselves in behavior are merely platitudes. We want to promote content that challenges people to live lives of moral excellence and virtue.
- It is praiseworthy. This means it must be worthy of recommendation; something you can personally endorse. At the end of the day, we want to promote content we are proud of, books or conferences that we are willing to recommend to a family member or friend with the confidence that they will be wowed and grateful that they took the time to enjoy it.
Regarding Profanity, Violent and Sexual Scenes in Content
There is simply no good reason for unwholesome language in a WestBow Press book.
Most of the time, it is simply a poor word choice and should be replaced with a better adjective, adverb, noun or verb. Use of the word “hell” is acceptable only when it is referring to the place from a theological perspective. “Damn” is acceptable only when it is referring to God condemning a person to suffer eternal punishment in hell. Use of such words should be double checked and limited to instances when it is absolutely necessary and theologically correct. Neither should be used in vain, but should only be used in serious discussions of theological matters.
We never want to use God’s name in a slang manner — something we feel is more offensive to God than any profanity.
As a Christian company, we want to adhere to our commitment to create God-honoring stories while reaching the broadest audience possible. We want to avoid any gratuitously violent or sexual content.
Regarding Standard Legal Disclaimer Placement
As with most books, WestBow Press books carry a legal disclaimer on the copyright page. The following disclaimer will appear in your book on the copyright page:
Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since the publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
Instilling Confidence through Our Consistent Communication of a Christian Worldview
The reason we have content standards is because we want to be faithful to Christ as we fulfill His call on our lives, and we also want our customers to be able to trust us. We want people to have confidence that our products are consistent with a Christian worldview, are created by people who profess to be Christians and are striving to “walk the talk,” regardless of the subject matter they may be addressing. Works that do not conform to these standards will be rejected or cancelled by WestBow Press. Additionally, WestBow Press may terminate publication of any work without cause.
Revision date 11/5/12
WestBow Press Authors
We at WestBow Press identify ourselves with the previously mentioned Editorial Standards shared with Thomas Nelson. We hope to publish books of many different genres, and authors from different backgrounds who can relate to these standards and will uphold them in their work.
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