Thomas Wray

Christian Book Editor and Bookcrafter

I’m a veteran editor and writer, with four decades of full-time work in book publishing, focusing especially on Christian books of all kinds. I’ve also edited numerous business and leadership books, memoirs, and fiction titles.

I’ve partnerered with dozens of respected communicators in bringing out many notable works. These authors have included Louie Giglio, Carolyn Castleberry, Henry Blackaby, J. I. Packer, C. J. Mahaney, Ruth Myers, Randy Alcorn, Thelma Wells, Richard Blackaby, Tony Evans, John MacArthur, Larry Crabb, Larry Osborne, Andy Stanley, and Dave Harvey, to name just a few.

Many of my editing projects have involved extensive collaborative writing—especially developing content from various author sources such as sermon transcripts, message outlines, letters, and journal entries. I’ve worked to maintain the author’s voice and style, and I’m grateful to have often been commended by authors for doing exactly that.

As an author, I’m currently writing the third novel in a trilogy of historical fiction (currently being agented for consideration by publishers). I’ve also written extensively for children (using a pen name), with more than twenty books published. Three of my books were winners of the Christian Book Award (the “Gold Medallion”) from the ECPA trade publishers association.

 

 


Christian Book Editing Services – Skill Set

Ensuring Accuracy , Consistency, and Style Conformity

  • Conforming manuscripts to highest standards in grammar, usage, spelling, and style in order to eliminate communication barriers and hindrances
  • Expertise in applying appropriate guidelines from The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago) and other style authorities
  • Confirming accuracy and consistency in manuscript content
  • Index preparation
  • Providing relevant guidelines for interior design and typesetting
  • Overall focus on ensuring integrity, good taste, and audience acceptability

Shaping and Refining Book Content

  • Full range of substantive editing, line editing, and style-tagging
  • Maximizing author’s distinctive personality, style, and voice
  • Strengthening overall book structure: rearranging and organizing content for maximum impact and progression; supplying multiple levels of headings as appropriate
  • Maintaining and reinforcing each book’s clear consistency with recognized values and standards in relevant fields
  • Pruning and adapting content for smoothness and flow — improving clarity of logic, consistency, and conciseness
  • Ensuring smooth transitions between all sections and parts
  • Enhancing book content by adding elements such as application questions and exercises, study questions and exercises, discussion guides, and small group helps
  • Index preparation
  • Providing relevant guidelines for interior design and typesetting
  • Overall focus on ensuring accuracy, integrity, good taste, and audience acceptability

Coaching and Mentoring Authors

  • Working from any starting point in author’s competence level
  • Identifying author’s best working style and approach; determining how much help the author both needs and wants
  • Working with the author to take a project through the stages of idea expansion, content development, and manuscript refinement
  • Step-by-step transformation of rough ideas, raw material, and outlines into full content drafts

Preparing Supporting Promotional Copy and Strategies

  • Content-focused promotional strategies for effective decision making in titling, subtitling and other cover content, plus catalog, advertising, and other promotional copy
  • Articulating book descriptions that engagingly convey and highlight (for marketing and sales teams) a book’s true strengths, features, and benefits

Analyzing Proposals and Manuscripts

  • Analyzing effectiveness for intended audience
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses in style, organization, and marketability
  • Competition and genre analysis
  • Identifying alternative approaches and directions for maximizing each idea’s potential
  • Strengthening and enhancing project proposals for the most effective evaluation by publishing decision-makers

Professional Experience: Christian Book Editor

Freelance Editor and Writer
Since February 2007

  • Projects with publishers such as Crossway, Zondervan, WaterBrook/Multnomah, NavPress, Harvest House, and David C. Cook, including work with the following authors on these projects: ●Randy Alcorn, The Goodness of God, The Chasm, the Study Guide for If God Is Good…, and Hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice ●J. I. Packer, The J. I. Packer Classic Collection ● Susan Parris, Cancer Mom: Hearing God in an Unknown Journey ● Dr. Hassan Tetteh, Gifts from the Heart ● Leonid Belov, the novel Mysteria ● Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day by Day and 31 Days Toward Holiness ● Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, The Bookends of the Christian Life ● John MacArthur (and others), The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives ● Jon Dennis, Christ + City ● Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters and True Worshipers ● Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Surprised by Grace, and Unfashionable ● Ruth Myers, 31 Days of Encouragement and A Treasury of Praise ● Henry Blackaby and Melvin Blackaby, Experiencing the Resurrection ● Richard Blackaby, The Seasons of God and Unlimiting God ● Thelma Wells, God, I’m Ready to Walk by Faith, Don’t Give In—God Wants You to Win, Ready to Win over Worry and Anxiety, and God, Give Me Victory over Anger ● Dave Harvey, Am I Called? ● C. J. Mahaney and others, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World ● Voddie Baucham, Family Shepherds ● Marion Duckworth, Naked on God’s Doorstep ● Don Cousins, Unexplainable ● Holly DelHousaye, SoulWork ● Andy Stanley (numerous study guides to accompany his books and his video presentations of various sermon series), plus numerous study guides on Old Testament books for the NavPress LifeChange study series.
  • Worked on fiction projects such as Gifts of the Heart by Hassan Tetteh; Miracle of Mysteria by Leonid Belov (translated from Russian by John Meredig); and The Chasm by Randy Alcorn.
  • Worked on memoirs such as Little D and the Bee by Randy Mead, and Being in Brooklyn by Liam Krol.
  • Worked on leadership/business/life-change projects such as Getting F.I.T.: Unleashing the Power of Fully Integrated Teams by Jim Leighton; study guides for John C. Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws for Growth; Steven VanCauwenbergh’s The Savvy Landlord; Dale C. Bronner’s Trajectory; the study workbook for Ron Blue’s Master Your Money; Dave Harvey’s Rescuing Ambition; Leader-Shift by Don Cousins and Bruce Bugbee; and When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley.

Multnomah Publishers, Inc. (Sisters, Oregon)
June 2002–January 2007
Senior Editor

  • Editorial leadership in the company’s new Strategic Publishing Group restructure
  • Led weekly editors forum (for editors from two Strategic Publishing Groups) to enhance editorial skills, creativity, and big-picture thinking.
  • Developed first drafts (from various author sources) for several books, then worked with the author to shape the final version. Among these projects were: I am Not But I Know I Am by Louie Giglio; Experiencing the Cross by Henry Blackaby; The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas; 31 Days of Power and ChristLife by Ruth Myers; The Prayer Matrix by David Jeremiah; and Humility: True Greatness and Christ Our Mediator by C. J. Mahaney.
  • Edited numerous other books, including: Experiencing Prayer with Jesus and Experiencing the Resurrection by Henry Blackaby; A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God by Larry Osborne; Bridge Called Hope by Kim Meeder; God Is Not Through with Me Yet by Thelma Wells; Women, Take Charge of Your Money by Carolyn Castleberry; One Marriage Under God by Norm Wright; The Two Doors of Heaven (fiction) by John Bolin; Jesus in the Margins by Rick McKinley.
  • Wrote the preteens fiction book What Would Jesus Pray?

Random House, Inc. / WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs)
July 1996–May 2002
Senior Editor, then Executive Editor

  • Editorial leadership in establishing a solid foundation for this startup company’s editorial direction.
  • Developed first drafts (from various author sources) for several books, then worked with the author to shape the final version. Among these products were: In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn; Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur; The Perfect Love and The Satisfied Heart by Ruth Myers; and the Jerry Bridges trilogy I Exalt You, O God, I Will Follow You, O God, and I Give You Glory, O God.
  • Edited numerous other books, including: Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn; The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges (and wrote companion study guide); As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur (and wrote companion study guide); Edge of Eternity by Randy Alcorn; I Gave Dating a Chance and He’s Hot, She’s Hot by Jeramy Clark and Jerusha Clark; Leadership by the Book by Ken Blanchard and Bill Hybels; and Shattered Dreams and The Pressure’s Off by Larry Crabb (and wrote companion workbooks for them)
  • Wrote the children’s books The Praise Bible and God’s Best Promises for Kids (using the pen name Mack Thomas)

Questar Publishers, Inc. (later Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, Oregon)
May 1987–May 1996
Editor

  • Edited both fiction and nonfiction books from authors such as David Jeremiah, Randall Arthur, Chuck Snyder and Barb Snyder, Joe White, Thom Lemmons, Will Cunningham, and others
  • Wrote more than two dozen children’s books (using the pen name Mack Thomas), including What Would Jesus Do?, The First Step Bible, A Mouse in Solomon’s House, and Quiet Times with God for Kids. Also, for adults, wrote the two-volume Complete Bible Discussion Guide
  • As author, was three-time winner of the Gold Medallion (now the Christian Book Award) from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association

Multnomah Press (Portland, Oregon)
December 1984–April 1987
Promotional Copywriter, then Editor

  • Developed first draft (from various author sources) for Richard Halverson’s No Greater Power, then worked with the author to shape the final version
  • Edited Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks, and other books

NavPress (Colorado Springs)
February 1978–September 1983
Editor

  • Founding Editor of Discipleship Journal
  • Edited the bestselling Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, plus books from authors such as Jerry White, Jack Mayhall and Carole Mayhall, Jean Fleming, Fran Sciacca, and others

Columbia Daily Tribune (Columbia, Missouri)
December 1974–February 1978
Reporter, Feature Writer, and Columnist

Education:

  • Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1974 from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, Missouri.

 


Testimonials from Prior Clients

Author Endorsements
from RANDY ALCORN:

(Author of If God Is Good… and numerous bestselling books)

« Thomas is both a friend and a skilled editor. We have worked together on various projects in the last twenty years, and I have always found him to be unusually perceptive, analytical, honest, and immensely talented as an editor. His reputation is far and wide in Christian publishing, and Thomas is a man of Christ-centered integrity. I highly recommend him. »

* * *

from Dr. RICHARD BLACKABY:
(President of Blackaby Ministries International, author of Unlimiting God and Seasons of God, coauthor of Experiencing God):

« Thomas knows about far more than grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. He grasps issues, deep meanings, overarching themes, and God’s word. Whenever I worked with Thomas on a book, I always knew I was in great hands. He always made my writing better. Much better. I wholeheartedly recommend him to you as an outstanding editor. I am confident you will be extremely pleased with what he does with your manuscript! »

* * *

from BOB KAUFLIN:
(Worship pastor and author of Worship Matters and True Worshipers)

« Each of the two times I worked with Thomas on a book was a joyful and inspiring experience. I was impressed with his creativity, attention to detail, punctuality, humility, and faith for each project. I’d highly recommend him as an editor to any author. »

* * *

from C. J. MAHANEY:
(Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church, Louisville; author of The Cross-Centered Life)

« Before I began writing, I heard stories from other authors about the challenges of working with an editor. My experience with Thomas defied those expectations. Not only did Thomas provide skill, insight, and enthusiasm for my work, he was always patient with this novice author throughout the writing and editing process. Working with Thomas was a joy. If you are looking for a sharp, experienced, and patient editor, then look no further than my friend, Thomas.  »

* * *

from BRIAN SMITH:
(Writer, editor, and author coach)

« When Thomas edits a book, I trust him to do a thorough job of preparing my manuscript for publication. But even more than catching typos and correcting grammar, he gains a sense of the book’s message and tone and helps me say even more powerfully what I was hoping to say. He also brings a solid understanding of the Bible, which has prevented me from perpetrating more than one scriptural gaffe.  »