So you want to write a book? Part 3 & Final Entry

January 11, 2007 — 1 Comment

7. Get An Agent–Once your proposal is finished I’d recommend doing a Google search for “Christian Literary Agents” and then email your proposal to as many as you can. Prepare for rejection . . . a lot of it. I think we sent out 300 query letters (a one page email/memo promoting your book and asking the publisher or agency if they are interested in receiving a copy of your proposal) and at least 100 copies of my first proposal to publishers and literary agents. Out of that we got about 12 responses and of those only 2 were positive. One was from a publisher who wanted to make my book into a Sunday School lesson series and the other response was from an agent who wanted to work with me. I signed with the agent (I paid her no money, but signed a contract so she would receive 15% of all of my book advances and royalties) and she immediately began sending my proposals to publishers who only accept proposals from authors who have agents. Within a couple of months (and after some more rejection) we had a book deal. You can get a book picked up by a publisher without an agent, but it’s more difficult. A good agent negotiates your contracts, seeks out future opportunities, nurtures your writing ministry, and–in my opinion–is essential to a successful and long-term writing career.

8. Be Patient–The publishing industry is very slow. From what I’ve experienced, read, and heard from other authors it takes about 1 1/2 years for a book to go from the initial contract to the shelf of your local bookstore. Pace yourself and be patient.

9. Consider Self-Publishing–If you believe that you have something to say and that there is someone who will want to read it, but you can’t convince any agent or publisher of that “fact” you may want to consider self-publishing. There are some respected publishing companies who will take your book and print it with an attractive cover. It will probably cost you a lot, but it will give you an opportunity to get your book into readers’ hands and you never know where that will lead. I know of a successful Christian artist who self-published his first album. The right person heard it and he ended up with a record deal.

10. Network With Other Authors–I’ve found that . . . and I know this sounds so petty . . . in the publishing business it’s not necessarily what you know but who you know. Get to know as many authors as you can. Ask them questions. Seek advice. Be nice to them. These professional contacts are an enormous blessing when you’re seeking wisdom, insight on a publisher/agent/marketing plan, or an endorsement from one of them for the back cover of your latest book (I was surprised to discover that most publishers require the author to get his/her own endorsements.)

Well, that’s that.

Be blessed and write like there’s no tomorrow.


One response to So you want to write a book? Part 3 & Final Entry


    Enjoyed reading your thoughts on publishing a book. Ran into several of the same things in an effort to get mine published and in the end, grew weary of it and went the publish-on-demand route and have been happy with the results.

    Have enjoyed reading your first book and am anticipating the books coming this year. I also enjoy reading your blog regularly despite my lack of comment.

    Hope all is well with you and your family …

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