17 August 2007

Open Mike Friday: publishing, self- and otherwise

by Dan Phillips

Unless your last name rhymes with BacBarthur, it can be pretty challenging to get published. Since many of our readers also write in some way or another, and since our readers do include some (variously) published authors, this seems like a good topic for us to bat around here.

At my blog, I shared my hardly-secret ardent aspiration to be published, hopefully some time before I expire, and sketched out some of my past efforts in that direction.

There are many self-publishing companies, and seemingly more all the time. Xulon press does Christian self-publishing, and says it is "fast, easy, and affordable." Lulu has won an award for its site, and bills itself as "fast, easy, and free." Now even the sell-everything web-giant Amazon has gotten into the game.

There were some helpful responses on- and offline to my blog's post; now the mike is open to you-all. Here again are the questions:
  1. Have you done self-publishing?
  2. If so, with whom, and what did you think of it?
  3. (This, to me, is the big one): does self-publishing pretty well stigmatize you as lame, and ruin you forever as to the likelihood of being picked up by a "real" publisher?
Looking forward to the discussion.

Dan Phillips's signature


48 comments:

bethany said...

you know, maybe I'm a snob, but I am much more likely to read short self-published work on a blog than a self-published book. There is plenty of bad writing that gets through the filter of editors, but at least SOMEONE thought this book was worth reading besides the author.

Christopher Johnson said...

(1) Yes.

(2) CafePress.

http://www.cafepress.com/inclusiveecusa.40208999

It was okay. You have total control but you to provide everything yourself including cover art. You're only as good as your tools so the finished manuscript wasn't as nice as I would have liked. And with what CafePress has to charge, you have to mark the thing up out of sight if you want to make any money on each book you happen to sell.

(3) Hard to say but no so far since nobody knows about my book.

wordsmith said...

Whatever you do, do NOT use Publish America - horror stories abound regarding their infamous reputation.

DJP said...

Perish America = Bad. Check. Thanks.

(c;

stratagem said...

Editors exist for a reason. Just because we think we have something noteworthy to say that has never been said before, and that people will be willing to pay to read, doesn't make it so. I think unless one can come up with a marketable manuscript, self-publishing is taking something that the experts say won't sell, and trying to prove them wrong. It works occasionally, but not often.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Dan, you may reach more people via this blog than in print. That being said, self-pubbing a non-fiction book makes sense only if you are prepared to sell it yourself. IOW, do a lot of speaking and sell at the back of the room. This is how a lot of people who teach seminars and the like get started. It's almost impossible for a self-pubber to get his book into bookstores.

If the book looks good, is good, it won't hurt you in the eyes of a royalty paying publisher. There are a number of titles that started self-pubbed and went on to be picked up...but that was because they sold around 10k or more as self-pubbed.

A friend was pleased with Winepress publishing, which really made his book look good and offers some support. You can look at their catalogue online, I believe.

Any way you look at it, though, it's almost always a very expensive proposition to self-pub. You likely will not get back your investment, so you need to ask what gain you get by getting into print.

If it's just one book (as opposed to trying to make something of a career out of it), it might not be worth it. OTOH, some people feel they want to leave that one book behind in the fervent hope it will make a difference in a life or two. Nothing wrong with that.

One thing I'd urge is that you find a good freelance editor and a trusted theological friend to put your through your paces. I've seen some rush jobs in self-publishing that are just horrific.

SJ Camp said...

Dan:
Getting published is not that hard; getting marketed appropriately once published is. The "let's throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks" mentality in Christian publishing gets wearying.

Plus, the Christian publishing industry is fast going the way of the CCM industry in that more and more companies are being bought up by non-Christians. The Christian publishing house that is wholly owned by believers with no non-Christian money capitalizing their venture is so rare these days.

Could you imagine Paul selling the rights to Colossians or Galatians to Nero, if Nero told him, "say what you want, I won't tell you what to say... but could you possibly talk about family values rather than the cross sometimes?" Unthinkable then; today it is common fare.

I do have some contacts for you of smaller publishing houses that will give you the attention if you are interested. Though you and I may disagree on certain issues, you have some very good pieces that deserve a wider audience (IMHO).

Email me if you would like those contacts.
Campi...

PS - I thought your MP3 message was well done--thank you brother.

steve said...

Dan: Dropping a strong hint, eh?

I'll be in touch.

And yes, Wordsmith is correct about Publish America.

steve said...

DJP said (at his other blog): One publisher's agent...

Agents don't work inside publishing houses.

DJP said...

My bad, sorry unintentional -- what is the better term? Publisher's representative?

Benjamin Nitu said...

I think you should first try a "real" publisher and only after that go the other route.

I guess a better question would be how many of us have bought a book from Xulon, Lulu and so on ...

In the end, however, it comes down to content. If the content is good people will talk about it, and it will be read.
But a good publisher always helps.

So:
a bad book + good publisher = some success.

a good book + good publisher = success

a good book + "bad" (unknown, non-Christian ...) publisher = delayed success

So, whatever you decide ... let us know. I for one will be interested in acquiring some books by the people that contribute to this blog.

centuri0n said...

My Dad self-published his autobiography. For the record, I did all the layout and design of the book, including the jacket, and it was not easy -- and I have good digital publishing tools.

One particular sticking point was font licensing, which is probably more than anyone wants to talk about.

Anyway, this book came out more than a decade ago when the one-up publishing house was almost unheard of. His "publisher" (I use that term loosely because they are actually more like his printer for all the "publishing" they did for us) is an outfit called "Trafford". They cut checks quarterly. Everything else is up to the author.

Whether that's good or bad depends on whether you are good at PR and if you think it's necessary.

FWIW.

Andrew said...

I went the cafepress rout with a collection of biblically-themed puppet scripts. (http://www.cafepress.com/comingstobrazil.97161668)

One of the big drawbacks with Cafepress and a few others I looked (like Blurb) at was that you had to go elsewhere to buy ISBN numbers. I just checked out the Amazon option you mentioned in this post, and, lo-and-behold, free ISBN numbers. That together with the ease in making it available on Amazon has got me seriously considering a switch.

Cindy said...

No, I haven't done any self-publishing (but I actively seek out books to read that are self-published or published by a lesser known publisher than a Thomas Nelson or Harvest House, Loizeaux for ex).

One negative I heard about Lulu is the experience of ex-Muslim Ali Sina, which he recounts in his website post "Lulu.com libels its Own Author," http://
www.faithfreedom.org/Announcement/lulu.htm

Phil Johnson said...

1. Blogging is the only form of self-publishing I would ever consider--because it is the only form of self-publishing that can possibly reach an audience.

2. See above. I like Blogger because it's free and it's easy. WordPress has features that confuse me.

3. Yes, whether we like this fact or not or not, self-publishing stigmatizes an author. The self-published author is in the same category as a guy who can't get a church to call him as pastor because his preaching gifts are so meager, so rather than going to any church and being fed and trying to develop his "gift" under the oversight of qualified elders, he starts his own "church" in his living room and preaches to no one but his wife and three kids for the next ten years.

And the stigma of self-publishing is not merely the artificial result of a legit-publishers' conspiracy; self-publishing says something negative about the quality of the work. I have been working with and for Christian publishers for 35 years, and I can't think of a single author who self-published first and then was successful with a commercial publisher. As an acquisitions editor, I would not have even considered material that had already been self-published.

So if you want to get published, don't start by publishing yourself.

Self-publishing of books has exactly one legitimate purpose that can think of: sometimes it is useful for printing limited runs of a book that once had a real life of its own with a legit publisher but has now gone out of print.

Everything beyond that is vanity. That's why they are called "vanity presses."

Andrew said...

sj camp,

I got a kick out of the idea of Nero saying "could you possibly talk about family values".

SolaMeanie said...

My stepfather self-published, and it ended up being a sucker punch. After the initial cost of printing, they added a lot of costs after the fact, and didn't proofread like they were supposed to. I warned him against it, but he didn't listen.

Now, this of course could have been just a bad experience with one publisher. Nevertheless, understand what you are getting up front for the money before you do it.

Les Puryear said...

As opposed to wordsmith's dissing of PublishAmerica, I can offer a different view. PublishAmerica published my book entitled, "The Purpose of God's Law," and it was a great experience.

I had no issues with PublishAmerica. They let me know up front what they would and would not do. As a result, I have a beautifully published book which cost me not one red penny to publish.

I say give PublishAmerica a try.

Les

steve said...

Phil said it well. Yes, there's a definite stigma attached to self-publishing.

Here's the cycle that almost always takes place:

1. Wannabe author sends manuscripts to real publishers, and is declined.

2. Wannabe author self-publishes with a vanity press, sends copy of vanity book to real publishers to thumb his/her nose at the real publisher for missing the next great American novel.

A year later, wannabe author still has a garage full of unsold vanity books, and goes back to real publishers and asks if they'll reconsider the manuscript.

There have been exceptions. But they are very, very rare.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"I can't think of a single author who self-published first and then was successful with a commercial publisher."

Dinner With a Perfect Stranger is one example of a successful self-pubbed work that got picked up and did well.

It is definitely the exception, but it can happen. In the secular realm, The Celestine Prophecy is another major example.

wordsmith said...

For general information about publishers to be wary of, go here.

For specific information about Publish America, go here. Among other things, Publish America plays fast & loose with accounting, adds typos and other errors AFTER you've approved your copy, prints the work on inferior quality materials, and overprices books so as to discourage sales to anyone other than the author. If you try to approach a bookstore with the hopes of selling your PA book on consignment, you will be all but laughed out of the store. Having PA "publish" your book is an albatross that will be difficult to live down. (Understand that PA is not truly a publisher as much as it is a printer, and a very expensive one at that. You're better off going the Lulu route if you really insist on self-pubbing.

centuri0n said...

Dan --

You definitely want to be in the same class as The Celestine Prophecy.

steve said...

You definitely want to be in the same class as The Celestine Prophecy.

If Dan goes that route (theologically speaking), Phil could start a whole new line of posters.

Sewing said...

BacBarthur? BacBarthur...ya got me...who could that possibly be? Any relation Biper (BesiringGod) or Broul (Bigonier Binistries)?

Johnny Dialectic said...

Or Dan could find an Amillennial editor and get back on the right track.

Whatever works.

Terry Rayburn said...

Dan,

Phil's opinion and experience in the Christian book field are to be taken seriously, however...

I know of many self-published books in other fields that have sold hundreds of thousands or millions of copies**, and...

I know of many commercially-published Christian books that were excellent and valuable, published by big houses, that utterly flopped in sales (in fact, the vast majority of those published). That's why publishing houses go through books and authors like Burger King goes through employees, hoping for the occasional "hit".

Two sub-questions to ask oneself:

1. What am I writing it for? For credibility, money, to minister, etc.?

2. Am I willing to market it myself? If I am, and I know how, I can outsell most publishers, unless they have a reason (often my fame) for "puffing" my book.

For example, Search Engine Optimization, Google Adwords pay-per-click promotion, blogging excerpts from the book, building an email mailing list of interested people through a "Free Report", etc.

Stigma, shmigma.

It's better to have the "stigma" of self-publishing, like Robert Kiyosaki did with Rich Dad, Poor Dad, or William Strunk with The Elements of Style, or that Paolini kid with Eragon, then the "honor" of being commercially published like C.H. Yatman (He wrote that famous Lessons For Christian Workers with a well-known Christian Publisher.)

You mean you never heard of the famous C.H. Yatman and his famous book published by Fleming Revell? I rest my case.

It's a new era, with whole new worlds of promotion and marketing.

The best ideas for mass-promoting Christian books hasn't probably even been invented.

As "Wired" magazine reported, even the "stigma" of self-publishing is falling by the wayside, as seen here.

I betcha it's easier to learn how to market a self-published book than to get a sizeable publishing house to publish (and promote!) a new relatively non-famous author.

(Of course, if you were published with a "House", and they didn't promote your book vigorously, you could still do your own marketing.)

Vanity is in the heart, not in the publishing vehicle.

Blessings,
Terry

steve said...

I betcha it's easier to learn how to market a self-published book than to get a sizeable publishing house to publish (and promote!) a new relatively non-famous author.

Learning how to market a self-published book isn't that hard. Doing it is the hard part. It's very expensive, difficult, and discouraging. It can be done, but you'd better be ready to make some enormous personal sacrifices.

There are a large number of factors involved in making a self-published book successful. Citing Strunk's Elements of Style as an example of success is not apropos given the book market conditions Strunk faced versus book market conditions today. The number of books published continues to rise rapidly, and the number of those going the self-publishing route is rising even faster (with more fallout than ever before). Which means a LOT more competition. We live in a celebrity-driven society that makes it harder for non-celebrities to get noticed.

Getting successfully published nowadays requires getting some key essentials into place. It's not enough to have a great book idea or a well-written book.

CraigS said...

Whatever the results of this debate Dan, I reckon you should print off a copy of your book through Lulu. Just to touch it and look at it - I reckon it will make you feel great.

It's worth remembering that many of the current mega-publishers started as tiny operations, some of which could be considered "self-publishers".

A quick wiki tells me -

"Good News Publishers (the parent of Crossways books) was founded in 1938 by Christian printer Clyde Dennis and his wife, Muriel. They used their savings of $20 to print 40,000 gospel tracts that Clyde had written and designed."

"Zondervan was founded in 1931...by brothers P.J. (Pat) and Bernie Zondervan...The company began in the Zondervans' farmhouse, and originally dealt with selling remainders and reprinting public domain works."

"Moody Publishers was founded in 1894 by D.L. Moody..." - presumably to publish Moody's own work.

"Thomas Nelson founded the company that bears his name in Edinburgh in 1798, originally as a second-hand religious bookshop but soon diversifying into publishing reprints of Puritan writers."

And I suppose Spurgeon could be considered an example of a successful "self-publisher"...

Phil Johnson said...

Let me interact with some of Terry Rayburn's comments:

Terry Rayburn: "I know of many commercially-published Christian books that were excellent and valuable, published by big houses, that utterly flopped in sales (in fact, the vast majority of those published)."

Quite true (except for the "vast majority" part; I'd guess that about a third--maybe fewer--of the typical Christian publisher's books "flop.") But far from making self-publishing more appealing, this statistic is powerful evidence of how difficult it is to make a book commercially viable, even when you have the apparatus in place to promote it.

It's also true, however, that in recent years the Christian best-seller lists have been well-mulched with books that were total garbage and no one would ever have paid a moment's attention to if it hadn't been for some publisher's (or promotional company's) tricked-up marketing campaign.

But in order to get that treatment, you have to be already famous and willing to do whatever is necessary to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Terry Rayburn: "For example, Search Engine Optimization, Google Adwords pay-per-click promotion, blogging excerpts from the book, building an email mailing list of interested people through a 'Free Report', etc."

Of course then you have the stigma of hucksterism hanging over your head. Perhaps someone should ask Lou Martuneac how well this is working for his book sales.

Terry Rayburn: "Stigma, shmigma."

It's true that this is a highly subjective factor, and if you're not concerned about certain kinds of stigmata, it needn't be weighed heavily. (Most stigmas don't concern me, either. Of course, the authentic gospel is heavily stigmatized, and Scripture even stresses that fact. So saying there's a stigma attached to something per se isn't a very weighty argument against it.) But there is a very real stigma attached to self-publishing just the same, and it's the kind of stigma that might in some cases undermine your main goal as an author. It's analogous to the stigma of using sarcasm on your blog, which will keep you from getting linked to from most of the more staid and sensible mega-blogs.

But if you think the benefits outweigh the stigma, by all means go for it.

Terry Rayburn: ". . . William Strunk with The Elements of Style,"

That's not a particularly apt example, though. Strunk was a faculty member who first "published" his work for his students at Cornell. It was more of a classroom syllabus than a typical vanity-press product. Lots of scholarly books do indeed follow that path to success. But there's also a reason we in the business refer to that book as "Strunk and White" rather than by its actual title. It would have remained in relative obscurity if E. B. White (he of Charlotte's Web and The New Yorker fame) hadn't promoted the book, then rewritten and reformatted it for MacMillan at their request. That actually happened 13 years after Strunk's death. So (though that's one of my 3 favorite books on writing) it's not really a stellar counterexample.

However, on second thought, I did misspeak about this subject. I do know one author who first self-published and then was published by Moody Press, my former employer. Jerri Massey had two fiction works which she had published on the Web picked up and were later published by Moody. Still, that's hardly a common trend, even in the age of blogging and other forms of Web publishing.

Terry Rayburn: "It's a new era, with whole new worlds of promotion and marketing."

There's a lot of truth in that, too, especially with the arrival of technology that enables companies to print and bind either just one book or a thousand at a time. I don't object nearly as much to the kind of self-publishing that does not require a major cash outlay from the author up front.

I have on occasion recommended companies like Publish America for people who had a motive to publish something extremely unique (comedic books, haiku collections, picture-books featuring evangelical tattoos, really edgy material, narrowly focused topics, "my life story" tales--and whatnot) without expecting to reach large numbers of people or make a book commercially successful.

Still, things haven't changed enough yet to alter my advice to a serious Christian author trying to reach an already-narrow market with a serious, mainstream book.

Terry Rayburn: "The best ideas for mass-promoting Christian books hasn't probably even been invented."

I don't know what you mean by "best." I've heard professional marketing experts propose some ideas that are really outlandish and might work when the culture melts down a little bit more. But I don't think the trends that are making these techniques successful are really good. Read Tim Challies' bits on "pyromarketing" from a year or two ago to see what I mean.

Terry Rayburn: "I betcha it's easier to learn how to market a self-published book than to get a sizeable publishing house to publish (and promote!) a new relatively non-famous author."

Well, give it a try and when you have been successful enough to make a living at it, blog report on how to do it.

Terry Rayburn: "Vanity is in the heart, not in the publishing vehicle."

That's mostly true, too. Although as someone who self-publishes almost daily through blogging, I sometimes think the publishing vehicle itself has some built-in factors that cater to our sinful narcissism. I'm not always comfortable with it.

I could qualify and maybe even soften a few more of the things I said in my earlier comment. (I used to teach a seminar on the subject of self-publishing at various writers' conferences, and I strongly recommended against it except as a desperate last resort.) At the end of the day, however, my answer to Dan's question is essentially the same: I don't think he should consider self-publishing until he has worked a lot harder to get a legitimate publisher to take a serious look at his writing.

Sewing said...

Phil wrote: "...though that's one of my 3 favorite books on writing..."

I'm sidetracking, but the other two being...?

Just as a toss-out to one and all: Are Desiring God and Ligonier Ministries examples of more recently established Christian self-publishers? (Then again, they have large organizations behind them.)

Phil Johnson said...

Craig:

The thing is, not one of the publishers you named started out as a self-publisher:

Good News Publishers, the famous tract publisher, has always published tracts written by a very large variety of authors. Crossway, the book publisher that spun off from Good News, was founded in order to publish the complete works of Francis Schaeffer, not the works of Lane or Jan Dennis (the brothers who founded Crossway).

Zondervan, as your source noted, started by publishing inexpensive classic reprints, not PJ Zondervan's works.

Moody's very first book was an American edition of Spurgeon's All of Grace. The company was more of a colportage association than a publisher per se. They got into printing books so they could do it as cheaply as possible. But Moody Press (or the Moody Colportage Association, as it was known in those days) was never a self-publishing outfit for D. L. Moody.

Thomas Nelson, as you noted, started with Puritan reprints (my, how ironic that is), and gained its international reputation chiefly as a publisher of Bibles.

Spurgeon never published any of his own works. His publisher, Passmore & Alabaster, was one of the major publishers on Paternoster Row, London's book district in those days.

I won't say none of those publishers ever published any works by their founders, because there may be a minor work or two somewhere by PJ Zondervan or one of the Dennises. But as far as I am aware, not one founder of any of those companies ever devoted any real energy to self-publishing or gained any particular distinction as an author. Moody might be cited by someone as an exception, because Moody Press did publiish some works by D. L. Moody. But it would be a gross overstatement to say that Moody "wrote books." (Despite his gifts as a preacher and evangelist, Moody wasn't the most literate man in the world.) His works were mostly collections of sermons, or sermons adapted by an editor for print.

DJP said...

It's been a full day, preventing me from interacting a lot.

But I sincerely wanted to stick in my thanks to everyone — Steve, Steve, Terry, Phil, Wordsmith, Bethany, Benjamin, and all — for your perspectives, encouragement, input. It the online and offline comments have been helpful and challenging.

Don't stop, if anyone has more to say; but thank you all.

IronWill said...

I have self-published. I used LuLu and was satisfied with them. I self-published because I really didn't have any hope of getting my story into a wide market, but I thought some might like the story. It's targeted mainly at those with an IFB background

steve said...

Craig:

The thing is, not one of the publishers you named started out as a self-publisher:


Soon as I saw Craig's comment, I was about to fire off a response to set the historical record straight...but I see you beat me to it, Phil. Thanks. That saved me a lot of typing.

A couple additional comments: Moody published with Revell long before Bible Institute Colportage Association ever got started (that's the original name of what is now Moody Publishers). Some publishers in England and the US published Moody's work (without his permission) prior to his publishing relationship with Revell.

Going back to Terry Rayburn: Anytime a publishing house receives a self-published book accompanied by a letter that asks if the publishing house would be interested in doing an "official" publication of that same book, the FIRST thought that passes through the editor's mind is this: Wonder how many rejections the author got before he finally took the self-publishing route? The perception that the material was rejected before the person took the self-publishing route is very, very strong. It's already two strikes against the book having any chance of being accepted--strikes that would not have occurred had the very same material been in raw manuscript form.

But if you can live with selling just a handful of books, mostly to family members...

Kent Brandenburg said...

Phil,

Interesting reading about publishing. You said Strunk and White, one of three favorites on writing---I've read it and taught it to students---what are the other two favorites? Thank you.

Phil Johnson said...

Kent:

On Writing Well, by Wm. Zinsser

The Careful Writer, by Theodore Bernstein

Both books are worth having in hardcover.

CraigS said...

Dan, I also wonder about the subject of your book - there has been so much written on the Holy Spirit already.

Perhaps you should post up the first chapter on your blog, and invite feedback, see how people react.

DJP said...

CraigS: Bwaaahhhhh-hahahaha.

Dan

(c;

Short Thoughts said...

Dan Miller, who is a Christian career coach in Franklin, TN, has a product about publishing, "self- and otherwise." It is called "Write to the Bank" and sells for $69. I highly recommend his products. Check him out at www.48days.com.

Johnny Dialectic said...

There is also a possibility no one's mentioned (or I missed it) and this is POD (print on demand). It's possible now to print only the number of books you want, and print more when you need them. In the old days, to make self-publishing at all cost effective, you had to order thousands. Thus, the garage full of boxes of unsold books.

Not any more, but you have to prepared to be businesslike about it.

The guy who really made self-publishing work for himself and many others is Dan Poynter. Find his Para Publishing website and look around.

Frank Sansone said...

I believe Phil will be preaching at a church in about two months for a man who went from self-published to regular published. Gary Gilley's first book - "I Just Wanted More Land" (regarding Jabez) was published by Xulon. His last few ("This Little Church Went to Market", etc.) were published by Evangelical Press.

It would seem that there are significant difficulties in each situation.

Unless you Pastor a large church or have something that already makes you well known, it seems like getting your foot in the door of a publisher is prohibitive. The publishers are looking for as many "sure things" as they can get (understandly so).

Unfortunately, the lack of those things that would make you attractive to a publisher (name recognition, built-in following, etc.) also make it unlikely that you will succeed in self-publishing.

FTR, I don't have anything that I have written and tried to submit, but I am going on horror stories I have heard.

Phil and Steve (from BOT?),

Perhaps you could post some thoughts on getting your works published if you are relatively unknown.

Dan,

You are building a pretty good name recognition and have some good contacts, so it may behoove you to give the regular publishers another try before going down the self-publishing route.

Just my thoughts,

Pastor Frank Sansone

GrammaMack said...

Essence Publishing (www.essencegroup.com/publishing.html) supplies ISBNs, professionally designed covers and layouts, editing, and prepress proofs of the cover and book for your approval. John Grisham reportedly self-published his first book and sold it out of the trunk of his car. You may have heard of him. :-)
Writer's Digest periodically reports on self-published authors who are picked up by traditional publishers. In all cases, those authors made a huge effort and sold thousands of books on their own first. But from what I've read, traditionally published authors nowadays, except for the few and the famous, must make a similar effort to sell their books. And with your blog readers, you already have a sizable market, I'm guessing.

Ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
warnocrates said...

I read this blog regularly. I enjoy your writing style and content and would buy your book. I personally am tired of all the fluff in the Christian bookstores. Since Christian publishers don't seem to publish a lot of solid material, maybe self publishing is the way to go. An example would be A.W. Pink published Studies in the Scriptures to a very limited audience on a monthly basis and later on these works were compiled into books that a major publisher publishes. Who's to say which is right? Does it really matter if the motive is to get out solid material that is edifying.

Just some thoughts.

ddd said...

Hello Dan,

1. Yes
2. Xulon Press. Fine, especially if you are not exactly keen on having unsold, leftover books

Anyway, with your reputation and place in Pyromaniacs, I'm sure there is a potentially large audience you could reach. I'm sure you could always post your publicity brochere for your book (if you do publish it) on this blog, barring any objections from Phil.

I think it is also good if you consider why you want to publish your book. For self-publishing, money is definitely not something you should aim for; typically you don't break even after the publication of your first book (at least for many years). Treat the money as an investment which may not be recovered even in part in the immediate future.

Cindy Swanson said...

As a radio personality, I often review books and do author interviews. I remember reviewing a book by a pastor who published through Xulon...it was actually an excellent book. I also get Xulon's catalogue, and it looks like there's some pretty good stuff there.

You can get a look at the book (and read my review if you like) here:

http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Way-Through-Fog/dp/1591600502/ref=cm_cr-mr-title/105-6364385-1144447

Austin Storm said...

Lulu's the way to go if you want to self-publish. But yes, it will in all likelihood kill your chances of being published elsewhere. Unless your book becomes a runaway bestseller, of course.

Establish relationships with published writers, and get them to boost you by writing blurbs.

Get a good, *hard-working* agent. It makes all the difference in the world.

RazorBlog said...

RazorBlog at this end.

I have had more success as a column writer than as a book writer. Some of us simply do not have the 'chops' to write a book...especially in a sea of books. Plus the 'name' people of both the church and the world have made it next to impossible to get a book 'out there' the way 'the greats' used to do.

So, here is a suggestion...

Be happy with what God has for you to do in the present. It may be blogging; it may be column writing; it may be serving as an editor for someone else.

During my Broadcasting career, as both a local Talk Host and Supervising Producer of a Weekly News Magazine, I was blessed to HELP more people win awards, than to win the same awards myself. Thus, its a TEAM effort.

I've been to the various websites, both Christian and non about book publishing. A few years back, when I was teaching an English class, a quote from a 12 year old in a school magazine summed up the book publishing game:

"The Publisher is supposed to pay YOU, that's what it looks like to me!"

From the mouths of babes....LOL!