Do you have an idea for a Christian book? Or do you have a manuscript and are wondering about how to get it published?
To improve your success at getting your Christian book published you must learn what is selling. So spend some time in the bookstores, reading the “hot-selling” lists online and asking people you think fit the profile of your target reader about the books that have read lately.
In addition, you will want to find a publisher who both shares your religious viewpoint and who publishes your type of manuscript.
Find The Right Philosophy that Matches Your Christian Book
Most publishers hold a specific Christian philosophy. Some may be scholarly. Others may be evangelical. Some may publish only writers in their particular denomination. There are lots of resources online. The Writer’s Market is especially helpful (check it out here).
Also, ask your pastor/priest, friends and local Christian bookstore for ideas. How does what you are writing fit with current publishing?
Find the Right Publisher
Once you have determined which publishers may be interested, it helps to get to know their work. Look at their website. Read their books.
If your book doesn’t fit their editorial style and their list, it won’t be picked. A non-fiction press won’t publish children’s books or novels, for instance. A scholarly press won’t publish a self-help book or Christian romance novel.
Do Research on Each Publisher.
- Find out the average word count for a book such as yours.
- Find out if they expect authors to have agents; fortunately, most don’t.
- Find out how many books they publish each year.
- If possible, find out which editor handles manuscripts like yours.
- Find out if they favor email or regular mail.
- Make sure they are a paying publisher and not a publisher that expects you to pay them. Spending your own money to publish a book can be a risky business.
- Your cover letter should be brief, making every word count, as they are very, very busy. It should reflect your writing skill and your professionalism.
- You may mention why you chose the publisher via truthful phrases such as “having read many of your books” or “having spent time reading over your list”.
- Make sure to indicate what kind of book you created, such as self-help, non-fiction, devotional or fiction.
- You should include any relevant credentials. This includes your professional or volunteer life (pastor, counselor, youth leader, church worker, writer, etc.) and any event that is directly linked to the manuscript. If it is irrelevant, you probably shouldn’t mention it.
- Most importantly, you should summarize your book in just a few lines. Read book jackets and online blurbs for ideas. Your summary is like an advertisement for your book.
- Some editors only want a few chapters and an outline. Others want the whole manuscript.
- For non-fiction or self-help, it is a good idea to include a bibliography (the books you used for research).
- Whatever you do, make sure that grammar and punctuation are correct. Editors may stop reading your manuscript if they see too many errors.
Don’t Give Up
- Since most manuscripts are turned down, prepare yourself.
- Get ready to submit your manuscript to another publisher just in case.
- In the meantime, start a blog and/or write articles for an online Christian magazine or traditional publisher. Starting to build your author platform will help make you more marketable.
People become authors different ways. It may take time, but you can do it. Don’t give up!