Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting Published

I am asked one specific question frequently enough that it's time to put the resources together as a blog post. What is that question? "How can I get my book published?"

Well, honestly I'm not sure you are asking the best person to answer this question as I am one of the most unlikely published authors out there! I wrote about my journey to publication about two years back. My story is a testament to the fact that when God has a story to tell through you, He will make a way!

While I'm far from being an "expert," I'm happy to share what I can as I continue to learn along the way. Three resources I like to recommend for new writers are How To Write a Book by Mary DeMuth, Literary Agent Rants and Ramblings by Rachelle Gardner, and Intentional Leadership by Michael Hyatt (this link leads you to his ebooks on writing winning book proposals). The first is a tutorial from multi-published author Mary DeMuth, kind of a FAQ resource of the questions she is most commonly asked by aspiring authors. The second is an agent's blog sharing industry insights into the Christian market. The third belongs to the Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world.

I am particularly fond of Rachelle Gardner as she was my acquisitions editor when she was still at NavPress (before starting her own business as an authors' agent), so she walked through the entire publication process for Hannah's Hope with me. Rachelle just wrote a great piece specifically on How to Get Published.

Another fantastic resource (updated on a yearly basis) is the Christian Writer's Market Guide. It is a bit pricey for a resource that goes out of date so quickly, but sell one article to a good-sized magazine as a result of using this tool, and it will more than pay for itself. This is a comprehensive year-by-year listing of Christian publishing houses and publications along with their current submission criteria and all the contact information available for that organization.

One of the first important steps to professional writing is to build a resume. Blogging is a great start, but keep looking for other ways to build on that. For example, (In)Courage offers a guest-blogging submission area. Many online magazines, such as Glory and Strength, are hungry for regular columnists. Many of these jobs come without financial pay, but the value of getting your name known and showing consistent, quality writing will pay off in the long-run. Never underestimate the value of a good bio-line and website link as compensation for a "free" article you get published.

Kathe Wunnenberg, when she first challenged me to stop talking about writing and actually put together a book proposal, also encouraged me to put together a prayer team to walk with me through the project. (You know about Kathe if you read my journey to publication.) She said that was the best decision she had ever made as a writer and I've found this to be the best single piece of writing advice I have ever been given!

I had a prayer team support me through writing Hannah's Hope and I have recently launched a small email group to walk with me through my book on Paul as well. These teams are an invaluable part of the writing process for me. I would encourage anyone seriously seeking to use your writing talents to the Lord's glory to consider surrounding yourself with a small group of trusted prayer warriors. I can give you no more critical advice than this important key.

Please share with me if you are on a writing journey of your own. If you have any questions about writing for publication, please ask. I may not know the answer, but your question may be just what's needed to spur me into finding out the answer for myself, then of course posting the answers in reply for you. :)


Unknown said...

If you have any experience with infertility, pregnancy loss or adoption, another great place to submit articles for publication is Held, the newest ministry branch of Hannah's Prayer.

Unknown said...

If you have personal experience with chronic pain or illness, Rest Ministries is always looking for great content. It's another way to get your name "out there" into the publishing world. The RM email list reaches about 3,000 readers, in addition to website visitors and Facebook or Twitter readers.

Unknown said...

Here's a great interview on making (significant) money from eBooks if that's an area you are interested in considering.