Getting A Foot in the Publisher's Door
Last week I received another new how-to writing book which is just hitting the bookstores from my friends Len Goss and Don Aycock. These two men have years of commitment to producing excellent how-to books for writers. One of my long-time favorite books from this pair is Inside Religious Publishing which Zondervan released in 1991 (now out of print). One of the chapters in that book from Mike Hyatt is an earlier view of his thinking about nonfiction book proposals. The updated article from Mike Hyatt is one of the appendices in Book Proposals That Sell. You have to admire Len and Don for their teamwork and continued work to mentor Christian writers.
Now The Little Handbook to Perfecting the Art of Christian Writing, Getting Your Foot in the Publisher’s Door is available and loaded with great advice and information. For full disclosure, I sent a tiny bit of material to these authors and it appears scattered throughout the book. What I like about The Little Handbook is how the authors have turned to a variety of writers, agents and editors within the Christian industry for their advice, then woven it into a solid book.
Everyone is looking for the answer to this question: how do I get published? Or if you are published: how do I write a bestseller? The answer is there isn’t a single path or a single solution. It’s different for each person and that’s why it’s a combination of art and science that we call publishing.
Today I want to give you a small taste of The Little Handbook. I’ve intentionally selected a piece from Goss and Aycock. Chapter 5 is titled Writing From the Editors’ Perspective. “Throughout this book we have stressed the importance of doing your homework and research into both your subject matter and the publishing process. Some writers say, “I love to write, but I can’t stand the business stuff. I’ll just leave that up to the publishing house.” That is an understandable sentiment but a misguided one. As a writer seeking publication, you are responsible for everything regarding your work, from the initial idea through the printing process culminating in helping to sell the book. Thus, the more you know about the entire process, the better off you will be.”
“One important piece of the publishing puzzle is to understand what makes editors tick. Why do they make the decisions they make? What factors cause them to reject some manuscripts and accept others? What mistakes do they see writers make over and over? In order to help answer these and other important questions, we asked a number of editors to talk frankly about the entire scope of Christian writing today. They responded enthusiastically and gave us the information you will read in this chapter.”
“We asked several questions that the editors represented here answered. If you study their replies and take to heart their advice, you will be light-years ahead of the person who does not know this information. Remember, no one will do your work for you. Getting your foot into the editorial door can sometimes result in bruises, but all wounds heal! Learn from the editors then go on and slide your shoe right in there.”
I’ve given a single short example of the wisdom in this book.