Monthly Archives: January 2018




How to publish your own book inexpensively
(AKA The Down and Dirty Guide to Self-Publishing )
by William McGrath, author of The Sword of Fire trilogy
(This article was originally published in 2012. Prices mentioned have probably changed since then)
Here are the steps I went through to publish my own books. Perhaps you will find some information that you can apply to your own situation.

My first novel is titled Asulon. It is part of a fantasy trilogy called The Sword of Fire, (in a nutshell, the three books tell the story of the Great Tribulation and the return of  Jesus Christ, setting these events in a world that resembles Europe and the Middle East during the Crusades).

I first tried the usual route of submissions to both mainstream and Christian publishers and received the usual round of rejections that an unsolicited, unagented author usually receives. I then tried finding an agent (both mainstream and Christian), but struck out there as well. The feedback I was getting was that the book was too overtly Christian for mainstream publishers and did not fit the guidelines of the larger Christian publishers, (too violent, had characters who drank wine with their meals – a big no no with many old school evangelicals).

I then began researching the idea of publishing the book myself.

There are two types of printing technologies used by book publishers, offset and digital. Offset was the main process used for many years and is the modern version of Guttenberg’s technique. It is how large publishers print most of their books. Unfortunately the startup cost is high. I found that to have my 296 page book printed at a competitive unit price using this method would require a print run of at least 1,000 copies. This would bring my unit price down under $4.00 per book, but the $4,000 total was more than I was willing to budget for printing.

The other method of printing is digital (much like a Xerox copy). With this process you can print just one book if you wish and very low print runs are affordable. This is sometimes referred to as Print-on-Demand (POD), but that more accurately describes the process of sale rather than the method of printing.

If you do a Google search for POD publishers, you will find a myriad of companies offering this service. Most of these are middle men who will charge you high upfront fees to do what you can do for yourself if you deal directly with a printer. Most of these companies really make their money on their up front fees to authors, not from books sold. and are two exceptions, having no or low up front fees, but they make up for this by charging higher unit costs. More on this later.
For an example of someone’s experience with a high up front POD service, I know a retired NY State judge who paid $4,000 to a POD company to publish his book. This was for their typesetting, editing and marketing help. I can’t comment on the first two, but all their marketing amounted to was sending out letters to local churches soliciting speaking engagements for the judge, at which he would lecture on the subject of his book and sell the book afterwards. I saw him recently. Three years after publishing, he still has not sold enough books to break even on the deal.

When I published my own books I cut out the middleman and dealt directly with a digital printing company called Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI).  LSI charged a $40 setup fee and then charged me $4.80 per copy for my novel Asulon in 6″ x 9″ trade paperback size. Asulon sells on for $9.99
LSI charges Amazon (and other retailers) $7.99 for each book and I receive $3.20 from each sale, which LSI sends me every 90 days. I also sell my books on my own website packaged with a martial art DVD for $20, which includes shipping to U.S. addresses. After I pay for shipping and the blank DVD, I make a profit of more than $5.00 per book/DVD package. (Note: this book/non-book item package deal is a great selling tool. One of the first books on Frisbees was packaged inside a full sized Frisbee. Even though this package was more expensive than its book competitors it far outsold them). 

LSI is a division of Ingram Group, the largest book distributor in the US. This gives me automatic inclusion on retail websites like, and B& (Barnes & Noble). If you do a Google search for Asulon McGrath you will find all the many places online that my book is sold all over the world and, with the exception of my own websites, all this was set up automatically by LSI through Ingram.

Here are some other items you’ll need to self-publish your book.

Copyright: You should copyright your book with the US Copyright Office (or the equivalent if publishing outside the U.S.). You download the form from the US Copyright office and pay a small fee to file. You can even send them copies of your book on CD or file electronically.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This is the 13 digit number that identifies your book. Bowker Inc is the official U.S. broker for ISBNs. You can buy one ISBN from Bowker for $100, but most self publishers find it more economical to buy a block of 10 numbers for $250 (you do have more than one book in you, right?). Beware of POD publishing services that offer a single ISBN at a price lower than Bowker’s. Despite what they imply in their advertising, these numbers are registered to them and are nontransferable. Therefore they will be listed as the official publisher, not you. ISBNs are not transferable, so if you leave that service you will have to get a new ISBN.
NOTE: If you don’t plan on selling through bookstores or Amazon, B&N, etc, (on your own website, for example) then you can get by without an ISBN.
Another thing you may not need, (depending on the laws in your state) is to incorporate. I set up my own publishing company simply by filing a DBA (Doing Business As) form for $40 at my County Clerk’s office. This was to allow me to go to my bank and set up a business account so people can write their checks to my DBA rather than to my own name. It just sounds more professional to have a book published by PTI Press, rather than by the author himself. Different states have different laws regarding setting up a business, but if you sell solely through the LSI (printer) – Ingram (distributor) – (retailer)  connection, you probably don’t need a business name, corporation or often even a business license. In addition, if you print with LSI and let Amazon, B&N, etc, handle the retail sales for you, then you don’t have to collect and file sales taxes. The internet retailers will do all that for you and LSI will send you your check from the wholesale profits every three months.

LSI requires that you send the text of your book to them as a PDF file using the professional version of Adobe Acrobat. I have MS Word 2003, which won’t do PDF conversions (Word 2007 does do conversions, but I’ve heard it is a not as good as 2003 in other areas). If you do not have Acrobat or the Word 2007, you can subscribe to Adobe’s online PDF creator service for $10 a month:   There is no long term commitment. You can sign up for one month, convert your book docs and then not renew at the end of the month. $10 for as many conversions you can do in a month is a pretty good deal.
While it’s not economical to use most of these POD services for general sales, services which have no up front fees (such as are a good choice to print a few review copies for peer critiques and do a rewrite or two before offering the book for general sale. Lulu, the least expensive of the popular POD services, is still more expensive than going directly to a digital printer like LSI on unit cost. Here is a comparison of unit costs using my own novels Asulon and Eretzel as examples. Remember, LSI’s set up fee of $40 ($75 if you factor in the required proof copy for your first printing of a title) is not factored in to the prices shown below.
Asulon 296 pages: Lulu $10.42 per copy. LSI  $4.80 per copy.
Eretzel 448 pages: Lulu $13.46 per copy. LSI $7.24 per copy.
Therefore, it is best to use Lulu for print runs of 12 or less and not for full publishing. By the way, the reason Lulu is more expensive than LSI is because Lulu doesn’t print the books themselves, they hire LSI to do it and then sell you the books at a mark up (your cost per copy at Lulu is actually higher than the full retail price for each book at if you print directly with LSI). Lulu isn’t the only one. From what I’ve heard, LSI seems to be the printer of choice for most POD companies.
Createspace (CS), a division of, is another POD service that is getting a lot of attention these days. Both LSI and CS will charge about the same per copy, but since CS has an option of a lower upfront charge, it will cost you a little less per copy than LSI for your first printing in small numbers. LSI’s volume discount will help bring their unit cost (even with their upfront charges factored in) under CS’s if you buy enough units. However, keep in mind that Createspace/Amazon will take a much larger percentage of your profits than LSI if you use them for Amazon sales. Let’s look at a book that costs $4.80 to print and has a retail list price of $9.99. The publisher can set the wholesale price discount that retailers pay at both LSI and at CS, however the lowest discount you can set at CS is only 40% while the lowest discount at LSI is 20%. Using LSI at a 20% discount, the wholesale price that retailers are charged for a book with list price of $9.99 is $7.99. With CS’s 40% discount, would be charged $5.99. If you the publisher are charged $4.80 in printing costs per copy, you would make $3.20 if printing with LSI and only $1.19 if you print with CS when selling on Another thing to consider is that Createspace, as a division of, will not sell to other online booksellers such as Barnes and Noble. LSI, is a division of Ingram (the largest book wholesaler in the world) and therefore sells to all the booksellers that Ingram does (google my novel Eretzel and see all the outlets around the world that the book is sold). If you do use Createspace, just use their basic printing service (no ISBN or marketing) and set your selling option to “Private Access” so you are the only one who can buy your book from them. (Note: Reviews I’ve seen for Createspace are a mixed bag on quality compared to LSI, especially regarding cover art and binding).
Covers: I did my own book covers in PhotoShop 6 after my artist sent me the cover art. You can download a cover template from LSI to center everything correctly for your page count, page size and paper type. Take a look at the cover for Asulon:
You’ll find my first cover for Asulon here: (scroll to the bottom of the page). It’s just something I put together with PhotoShop before I found an artist I could afford.
I’m no computer genius. If I can do a workable book cover, so can you.
Look at the covers of these two best sellers. These are covers anyone can do with a minimum knowledge of PhotoShop or other photo editing software:
By the way, when you looked at the back cover for Auslon did you notice that the box for the bar code was blank? Bar codes can be a bit complex to put on your cover – the printing company requires specific fonts and the right kind of black (in the world of printing, there is more than one kind of black). The easy way to get around this, if you are using LSI as your printer, is to leave a blank white box of the right size where the bar code should be and LSI will create one for you and place it there.
Once you have written your book, had it proofread and edited, you will still need to typeset it properly. A good typesetting program will make the text flow better on the page and handle issues such as justification, hyphenation, page numbering, etc.  Adobe’s InDesign is the industry standard in typesetting software, but it’s a bit costly. There are alternatives such as Scribus  which is an open source software product that has a good reputation among self-publishers. I tried the trial version of InDesign and then Scribus, but found both programs had too steep a learning curve for my over 40 year-old brain, so I typeset my novels in MS Word 2003. Word is not really designed for this, but you can push it a bit and get it to do a decent job with the detailed instructions you’ll find in a book called Perfect Pages. You can see the final results in my novel Asulon by clicking on its cover (to use Amazon’s Look Inside option) and viewing some sample pages of text.
Ebooks:  Many experts predict that ebooks will soon comprise 50% of total book sales. If you are publishing a book, you really should include an ebook version. I separated my ebook publishing into two categories, Kindle in one and all other formats in the other. A good place to start the process is at  Follow their style guide carefully. This will help get your Word doc ready for any ebook conversion service you use. Because you can go directly through for their Kindle reader (and choose to receive 70% of the retail price of the ebook), I uploaded the converted file directly to them. It took a few days for the ebook to show up on, then a few days after that for the ebook’s page to be linked to the page for the paperback version, and finally, about three weeks after I started, for all the reviews to be copied over from the paperback to the ebook’s page.
For sales through other ebook sellers (Barnes & Nobel, Sony, Kobo, Diesel),  I used as many of the ebook sellers require you to go through an aggregator such as Smashwords, instead of dealing directly with them. Smashwords has an excellent royalty split and pays you 85% of the list price when a customer buys your ebook directly from their website and 60 to 70% when your ebook is purchased on a site such as iBooks, Kobo, the Nookstore, etc.
If you have followed the Smashwords style guide correctly, then you can upload your Word doc to them and Smashwords will handle the ebook conversion for you. Most of the online companies selling ebooks will get your book from Smashwords without hassle. The only minor complication I had was Apple’s requirement regarding ISBNs. The ISBN is the number that identifies your book. The US Copyright office requires that the ebook edition have a different ISBN than the paper version. For all the other companies that Smashwords works with, having the ISBN listed on the copyright page of your book is sufficient: however to appear on Apple’s iBooks store for its popular iPad device, you will also need to register your ISBN on a separate page at Smashwords. Not a big hoop to jump through and it will take you just a minute to enter the data. Once you have registered and uploaded your book at Smashwords, go to your Dashboard and then the “Channel Manager” page to register the ISBN. You can also decide which channels you want Smashwords to sell to there. I choose not to have Smashwords distribute to Amazon since I uploaded my Kindle books directly to Amazon.
Once your own book is properly formatted and converted to Mobi for Kindle, upload to Amazon through their own service. Go to any Amazon book page (for example the page for my ebook Asulon: ) and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Self Publish with us”. Once there the second choice will be publishing on Kindle.
Ebook Conversions:  I used Jim Brown’s service Jim & Zetta for my Kindle conversion and have received compliments from other ebook publishers on how well the books were formatted for Kindle. Jim has the best prices in the business I’ve seen and still manages to have excellent customer service.
The last piece of advice I have for you is to network, network, network. The professional editor I hired for Asulon was my largest expense for that book. By the time my second novel Eretzel was ready for publishing, I had made contact with another author through one of the newsgroups listed below. He edited my second novel for a fraction of the cost of my first. Both editors had similar educational backgrounds and degrees, both produced good results. The only difference was cost.
I’ve enclosed a list of newsgroups on the web and printed books that have helped me with writing, publishing and promoting my books.
Bill McGrath
Author of The Sword of Fire series
PS. If you found this information helpful and would like to thank me, please buy my books.

The pages for my books:

The Smashwords pages for my books:

How I sell my books on my website:
My YouTube channel (free advertizing for my books, DVDs and seminars)




Christian Fiction Review Blog

Christian fic2


POD Blog (a good overview of digital printing can be found here)
PUBLISHING FOR PROFIT blog (an informative blog from an publishing insider)
The Reference Desk section of their website is also very useful.
PREDATORS AND EDITORS ( The place to learn who are the good guys and bad guys in the publishing world)
BOOKS (My “must have” list-they explain what you need to know about self-publishing, marketing and selling your books)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (you’ll still need another set of eyes to go over your work, but this will help keep the amateur mistakes to a minimum)

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (the funniest book on punctuation you will ever read. You may even learn something in the process)

Book Design and Production by Pete Masterson (after you write your book, you still have to put it together)
The author’s website ( ) is a great place to find info on all aspects of self-publishing:
Aiming at Amazon  (A must have if you are going to sell your book on and other internet retailers)
Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard (typesetting a book in MS Word) MS Word is not the best way to typeset a novel, but I found that I could produce a decent product with the help of this book (besides, the real typesetting programs like InDesign, TeX or Scibus were way over my technologically challenged head anyway)
POD For Profit is Aaron Shepard’s latest book. The subtitle explains it well.
More on the NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books With Online Book Marketing and Print on Demand by Lightning Source is Aaron Shepard’s blog. Great info here.

PLUG YOUR BOOK by Steve Weber (my favorite book on internet marketing)
The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter (Poynter is the dean of POD printing. A good book to start with, though not as up to date on internet marketing as Plug Your Book)


Filed under Articles

SEVEN HEARTS: A character study for Christian fiction writers


Many of the personalities of the characters in my novels are broadly based on the seven spiritual gifts listed in the 12th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans (1).
Why, you might ask? Well, back in the late 1970’s, right before I started working on my novels, I heard a lecture on how these gifts could also be seen as personality types. In describing these gifts/personalities, I realized how many people I knew fit into these categories and began to use these personality types as basic templates for the characters in my novels.
I have found this seven types (or hearts) concept to be a useful character development tool for my writing. It helps me get inside the head of a character whose personality is different from my own and write them as realistically as possible. However, this is still a work in progress, so please feel free to send me your suggestions on how I can improve this concept.
I describe each personality in four ways:
1. By the job I think best fits this type (especially as it pertains to my fantasy novels).
2. The element or object I use in my novels as a symbol for this type.
3. Famous people with this personality.
4. Their chief motivators or personality traits.
As you read my list of famous people who fit each type, you will notice that there is no correlation between personality type and the person’s politics: i.e. not all soft hearted people are Liberals and not all wise people are Conservatives (although it helps 🙂  The Seven Hearts idea is more about the natural personality that a person has at birth, and not the environment that the person grows up in. It should also be noted that modern psychology lists anywhere from five to sixteen basic personality types, but I find the seven based on the Romans 12 list of gifts works well for a writer like myself to build my characters around.
At the end of this article, I’ve included my observations on which personality type seems to do best in marriage when matched with the right complementary type.
The names of the seven personality types I use in my novels are: Warrior/Fire. Leader/Iron. Teacher/Earth. Merchant/Gold. Physician/Water. Helper/Wind. Scribe/Paper.


1. Warrior/Fire: (This is the gift of Prophecy in Romans 12)
John the Baptist and Samson are both good examples in the Bible. In history we find Theodore Roosevelt, General George S. Patton and Winston Churchill. In more modern times we find Muhammad Ali and many pro boxers and MMA fighters. In politics we see both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Prime examples from Hollywood are John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Samuel L. Jackson and R. Lee Ermey. (Most movie stars seem to be either this personality type or the Physician/Water type). In literature Edmund Rostand’s character Cyrano de Bergerac is an excellent example of this type. Most prophets in the Bible were probably of this type (especially the ones who were killed for their blunt speaking of the truth).
Warrior/Fire people are strong willed, aggressive, outspoken, stubborn, courageous and disciplined. They have a desire to dominate and be the boss. They often have a real need to be the center of attention and/or tell people their opinions on things. Warriors have little or no filter between their heart and their mouth. They are quick to anger, but quick to cool off. They can be abrasive and dogmatic, and are often not well liked by people not in their inner circle; but they are the ones you want on your side in a fight. You often hear their family say that they would make a good drill sergeant, whether they are in the service or not. One of the reasons R. Lee Ermey did such a convincing job in Full Metal Jacket; (besides being a former Marine drill instructor himself) was a personality well suited for the job. While Warrior types are capable of getting the troops in shape, they usually are not the ones you want deciding if we should go to war in the first place; as they are better at executing policies than they are at developing wise ones. However, they can do well in leadership positions if they learn how to delegate authority and to listen to those with more experience in a specific area. Once they are taught what the “right” way to do something is though, it is nearly impossible to change their mind.
People with a Warrior personality often have a commanding voice and a persistence that demands your attention (whether you wish to give it or not :-). While they may not appear to care, this is partially due to their ability to bottle up their “softer” emotions when they need to get a tough job done. However, many do scale low on the empathy scale. Think of this as a talent they need to be effective warriors and survive the psychological aftermath of war. It would not surprise me to learn that this personality type has the lowest incidence of PTSD in combat veterans and while the Physician types have the highest.
A common phrase from the Warriors I know is, “This is just the way I am. Deal with it.”
In my Sword of Fire (SOF) novels the following characters are Warrior/Fire types:
Moor, the Etruscan swordmaster and Gath, eldest of the Anakim.

2. Leader/Iron: (This is the gift of Ruling in Romans 12)
Joshua and Nehemiah in the Bible. George Washington. Ronald Reagan. Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore.
Leader/Iron people have natural leadership skills and inspire confidence in those they lead. They are capable of making quick decisions based on gut instinct and still manage to get it right. Leaders are by nature very respectful of authority and often spend a good percentage of their careers as second in command, learning their craft. King Arthur in the 1981 movie Excalibur was a good example of this type, as is Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings novels. (Not so much in the LOTR films though. Jackson’s Aragorn was not the same decisive decision maker as was Tolkien’s original writing of that character). Two good books to understand this personality are Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore’s We Were Soldiers Once and Young and Hal Moore on Leadership: Winning when Outgunned and Outmanned. (There are also good videos of Moore on Youtube that will help you understand this personality type).
While the Warrior/Fire type makes a good drill sergeant, the Leader makes a good commanding officer, president or, in fantasy novels like my own, king. Their strength lies in knowing how to rally and inspire the troops. They lead from the front and by setting a good example, but they won’t take your load from you as a Helper/Wind personality would.
Because they have such a high respect for authority, the leader can take it personally when their own authority is questioned. Leaders should guard against taking care of those loyal to them a little too well and to treat everyone by the same rules. In my experience, leaders often look like leaders. They often have good looking, yet strong faces. In a word, they look noble.
SOF characters: Argeus, father of Daniel. Eleazar, second eldest of the Anakim.

3. Teacher/Earth: (This is the gift of Exhortation in Romans 12)
King Solomon, the Apostle Paul and St. Luke in the Bible. Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln in history.  Author C.S. Lewis.
A Teacher desires wisdom, loves learning and enjoys teaching. This type is called the Gift of Exhortation in Romans 12, as they enjoy encouraging others. Teachers would rather prevent a problem before it occurs than try to solve it after it has grown large. They are capable of making wise decisions, if enough time is taken to analyze a problem and get good counsel from other personality types who can see things from other angles or perspectives. The saying “A fool learned from  his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others,” was probably written with teachers in mind.
While a Warrior/Fire person can be a great orator and make you believe something, a Teacher can be a great communicator and help you understand it.
When giving advice, a Teacher will often show a practical, real life example of the principle they are talking about. However, they are often the absent-minded professor type and may get so focused on solving the problems of tomorrow that they forget about the needs of today.
That nerdy science teacher or history professor you had in school who really enjoyed teaching and made the class both fun and interesting was probably this personality type.
SOF characters: Daniel, prince of Asulon. Isolde’, Daniel’s mother. Dvorah, wife of Nathan. Abishai, third eldest of the Anakim.  (And, if you haven’t already guessed, me).

4. Merchant/Gold: * (This is the gift of Giving in Romans 12)
In the Bible, Joseph, the son of Isaac. In modern times we find Bill Gates, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and many self-made millionaires and billionaires; especially if they are true philanthropists.
Just as the Leader knows the right time to put men into battle, the Merchant knows the right time to buy and sell and how best to use his money as his troops. Put into any environment, the Merchant will find a way to make a successful business no matter what.
While this type has the skills to make a business succeed, they also have a real desire to do good works with their money. A Merchant must remember though not to get so focused on their business that they neglect their family. Sam Walton is said to have taken a six week vacation each year with his family to help make up for the time he spent away from them while focused on his business. A good book to help understand this type is The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley.
SOF character: Benaiah, fifth eldest of the Anakim.

5. Physician/Water: (This is the gift of Mercy in Romans 12)
Abraham and Moses in the Bible. Comedian Robin Williams. President Jimmy Carter, Author J.R.R. Tolkien. Singer Paul McCartney.
Physician types are merciful, softhearted, and empathetic. Diplomatic to a fault, they are slow to anger, (but once angered, look out!). They hate conflict and will avoid making a tough decision if they can. They are usually a “people person” and feel a strong need to be liked by those around them. They usually start out shy when young, but often have interesting ways of managing this (I find that many comedians and actors are of this type). Their moods can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride though and they can be susceptible to bouts of melancholy. Their high empathy levels mean that they can not bear to see anything suffer and most of my family and friends who have been vegetarians are of this personality type.
Physicians will often have some level of artistic ability and most Physicians I know can draw well or have some other creative ability. On a side note: I have a theory that much of the ugliest of the modern art we see today is caused by visually “tone deaf” Warrior types looking for attention; not the naturally artistic Physicians, whose empathy and humility help them understand and emulate what is beautiful.
Physician types are often physically attractive (when an actor/actress is not a Warrior, the odds are very good that they are a Physician). Physicians are capable of being very skilled and intelligent in their professions and, at the same time, are often not very wise when it comes to their personal relationships (more on this in the marriage section below).
When you meet someone in the medical field who is both very competent and truly kind hearted, they are usually a Physician/Water type.
SOF characters: Simon the priest. Nathan, brother of Rachel. Shammah, youngest of the Anakim.
6. Helper/Wind: (This is the gift of Ministry in Romans 12)
Mary, the mother of Jesus. Laura Bush, wife of George W. Bush.
(I don’t have many famous people to list here. Helpers tend to stay away from center stage and get things done behind the scenes).
This type wants to help others in practical ways. Helpers like to keep their hands busy and see to the needs of today. A good worker. Helpers are often not very exiting, but have a steady, even-tempered, affectionate and cheerful personality. The default setting on their face is a smile. Scout leaders, the moms who make all the kids costumes for the school play, the dads who repair all the kids bikes in the neighborhood, are often this type of personality. The nicest, most helpful of your elementary school teachers was probably this personality type. Helpers have a hard time saying no to requests and can get overworked or taken for granted. The ones I’ve known tend to be a bit on the plump side, but have an amazing long term endurance when it comes to work, if it helps others. I choose the term “Wind” to describe them in my novels, not thinking of a tornado, but more like a gentle, pleasant breeze. The character of Sue Heck on the TV show The Middle, is written as a Wind person.
SOF characters: Rachel, princess of Eretzel. Uriah, fourth eldest of the Anakim.

7. Scribe. Paper: * (This is the gift of Teaching in Romans 12. Note: the word “teacher” here infers a “teacher of the Law” ie a teacher of the Laws of Moses, as Paul was writing to Jewish converts to Christianity who lived in Rome).
Those with this personality like order and things put neatly in their place. As the name implies, Scribes can make a good recorder of information, such as a file clerk, proofreader or a librarian. However, they often get so focused on details that they forget the big picture. Scribes usually don’t make good supervisors, as they can make dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” in their paperwork a priority over the primary needs of the job. They can become legalistic, capable of telling you what the letter of the law is, but not its spirit. Think of them as a human reference book. However, they can do very well working long hours putting things in order in a way that would bore everyone else.
SOF charater: Asahel, the sixth oldest of the Anakim.
*Note: You may notice that I am a bit thin in describing the Merchant/Gold and Scribe/Paper types, since I know very few librarians and no self-made millionaires. If you recognize yourself among these types (especially if you are a self-made millionaire 🙂 and find that I have gotten something wrong, or at least given an incomplete picture of this type, please feel free to email me with your corrections.

The one common trait among most of these personality types is that if you ask each of them what one thing humans need more of to improve society, they would each say that it is the attribute that they either have or desire most. So if you ask each type to complete the sentence, “The world would be a better place, if people would…”
The Warrior would say “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
The Leader would say “Inspire those around them to do their best.”
The Teacher would say “Take the time to research what causes a problem, so they can understand how to prevent it.”
The Merchant would say “Be more generous with what they have.”
The Physician would say “Have more compassion for one and other and all living things.”
The Helper would say “Help each other with daily burdens.”
The Scribe would say “Have more order in their lives.”
In my experience, the stronger personalities often have a tendency to look down on the other types (or at least their attributes) while the softer types will say they just can’t understand why everyone doesn’t share their priorities. The exception to this are the wise Teachers. We (insert modesty emoji here) understand that it takes different tools to do different jobs well.

I have a set of seven brothers in my novels who are attracted to seven sisters. Each of the brothers and each of the sisters have one of the seven personalities. Here’s how I play matchmaker in my novels between the personality types.
Leader with Physician.
Teacher with Helper.
Merchant with Scribe.
Warrior with Warrior.
In the first three matchups I have a “harder” personality matched up with a “softer” type, but in truth each personality complements the other as each is strong where the other is weak.
Is the Leader inspiring and disciplined? Then match them up with a Physician who can feel sad at all the pain in the world and needs an emotional lift from someone they can admire. Does the Leader harbor deep emotional wounds in the aftermath of a battle in which they lost troops? Feelings that they can’t show to those they lead, lest the remaining troops loose courage? Then pair them up with an empathetic healer like a Physician. (If on a real battlefield far from home, then talking to a counsellor or confessor who is a Physician type can also bring healing for the Leader).
Can the Teacher be forgetful of day to day tasks? Then pair them up with a Helper, who will focus on these things and allow them to study and work. Does the Helper have a hard time saying no to requests? Then pair them up with a Teacher, who likes to think an action through to its logical conclusion and then nip the problem in the bud while still small and easily dealt with.
Can the Merchant spend so much time on growing their business that they neglect day to day expenses or go too far out on a limb with their investments? Then pair them up with a Scribe, who is a natural inventory person, accountant and all around bean counter. Does the Scribe have a tendency to be a hoarder of things or a miser with money? Then partner them with a Merchant who knows how to make investments grow and whose generosity will rechannel the Scribe’s instinct to keep things in order into one that researches where their charitable giving will do the most good.
The exception to this paring of opposites in my novels is the Warrior/Fire personality.
In real life, it seems that Warrior/Fire person usually marries a Physician/Water person (believing that this personality is the only one patient enough to put up with them-and they may be right!). However, the Warrior type usually ends up bullying the softer personality to some extent, if not physically, then emotionally. From my experience with family, friends and acquaintances with this personality, the Warrior is the type whose marriage most often ends in divorce. When a Warrior marriage does work, it seems that the most successful matches have been Warrior with Warrior. If they can survive the early days of the marriage, then a mutual respect develops into a functional and equal partnership.
(You can read more on how these personalities interact in a courtship setting in my second novel, Eretzel).
Note: I should remind you that all of this is just my theory of what the most compatible personalities are in marriage. This is not written in stone and I have seen many good and successful marriages that don’t fit these parameters. Keep in mind there are many other factors that effect compatibility that are missing here, such as a person’s religion, their politics, their family culture, their I.Q. and even their birth order among their siblings. These will all have an effect and are not addressed here. Even if I am right with these recommendations, it only means that these are potentially the smoothest roads, not the most interesting to travel on. If you are not in a relationship that matches these parameters, you can still use these guidelines to help your relationship by understanding what are the strengths of what type your partner is “ideally” compatible with and try to develop those strengths and use them when needed to help your relationship.
So, what are your thoughts on these different personalities? Do you recognize yourself in any of these seven archetypes? What did I get right and (more importantly) what did I get wrong? Please contact me though this page and let me know what you think.
Bill McGrath
© 2009 William R. McGrath

(1)Note: Romans 12:6-8 King James Version (KJV)
6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

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