Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sneaking In the Back Door to Publishing

Yes, I will talk about finding passive voice using the "find" tool, as I said I would. But today I want to take a detour and give you information on some good resources I've run into during my recent efforts to "find" a publisher.

As you know, books get published in a variety of ways these days. No longer are the large, mainstream publishing houses the only route to fame and fortune. Remember The Shack? The author self-published that book. Only after he'd done that did a mainstream publisher pick it up.

Now William Young didn't look for a mainstream publisher in the first place. He wrote the book for his children, made fifteen copies, gave them as Christmas presents, and then forgot about it. But if he had approached a mainstream publisher he probably wouldn't have gotten his foot in the door.

Why wouldn't The Shack attract a big-league publisher?

Mainstream publishers look for books that fit a particular market niche. They're smart. They know what sells, and all publishers want to sell books, so they usually only publish books like the ones that have sold well in the past. So if you really want to sell books to mainstream publishers, you need to write stories that fit into the genres they are specifically looking for.

But if your book is already written, and it doesn't fit into any proven "marketable" niche, you'll probably need to look toward self-publishing of some kind. There are many options. Some are more "self" than others. You can do the whole thing yourself, even forming your own publishing company, or you can use what are called "boutique" publishing companies that give you support at various levels in the process, up to actually promoting and distributing your books in bookstores.

Businesses that support self-publishing, or boutique publishing houses that actually publish and help you market books, offer a wealth of information, much of it free, and research into the possibility of this kind of publishing is worthwhile. Here are a couple of reputable options for publishing Christian material that I'm considering:


So if you're looking for a publisher, and you don't have the platform or experience to attract Zondervan or Thomas Nelson, don't despair. Consider the more humble possibilities. They're good, and they're helping authors publish books that otherwise would never be in print.

Next post on the exhilarating topic of passive voice. I promise.

P.S. Check out more detailed discussion of genre and publishing in the March, 2009 posts below.

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