General authorities and Deseret Book collaborate

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    By Liesel Enke

    Deseret Book has an aim to publish books that help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints improve their lives.

    “The books that have the most commercial appeal are the ones that have relevance to people”s lives,” said Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book.

    Kasey Madsen, 23, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in pre-nursing, said she agrees that the most enjoyable general authority titles are those that apply to her life.

    “I”m a teacher at the MTC,” Madsen said. “There was a book about teaching with the spirit, and that interested me because that is the focus I am trying to achieve with the missionaries I teach.”

    Ideas for books written by general authorities for the Church of Jesus Christ come from both the general authorities and Deseret Book.

    “There are times when the editorial staff will have an idea,” Dew said. “Sometimes we”ll go to a general authority and make a suggestion for a book.”

    Other times general authorities will approach Deseret Book with book ideas, she said.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley has worked with Deseret Book under both circumstances.

    Dew said President Hinckley”s book “Standing for Something,” evolved after Deseret Book approached him about writing a book for a general audience.

    However, President Hinckley talked with Deseret Book about his idea for his new book, “Way to Be,” coming to bookstores Aug. 6, Dew said.

    Julianne Brooks, religious book buyer for the BYU bookstore, said general authorities” books are what BYU students want to buy.

    “General authority titles sell really well, and President Hinckley”s sell better than any others,” Brooks said.

    To keep books appealing, Deseret Book works with general authorities in a traditional editing process.

    “Certainly, editors treat the bretheren with great respect,” Dew said. “We are never inclined to change doctrine.”

    Instead, Deseret Book editors work with general authorities to make more technical corrections.

    “The entire goal of an editor is to make the manuscript better,” Dew said.

    Once a book is in print, general authorities, like other authors, receive a royalty on every copy sold.

    General authorities use their royalties in a variety of ways. Some donate the money to the church”s general missionary fund, some donate it to other foundations and some use the money personally, Dew said.

    Working with general authorities in the publishing arena has been a positive experience for Deseret Book employees, Dew said.

    “It”s a wonderful sense of contribution when you feel what you”re doing is making a difference,” she said.

    Madsen said she feels books by general authorities have helped her in her life.

    “They expound on gospel principles in a way that I can understand, and that applies to my life,” she said.

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