You Could Submit Your Manuscript to a Large General or Christian Book Publisher
Big Publishing firms have something for everyone, because they publish in many different fields and concentrate on books they think will sell in the millions. If you are a famous celebrity, politician, or other well known figure, you may have a better chance of getting your book published by a large publishing company. It has been estimated that many of the big publishers receive from 3,000 to 5,000 unsolicitated book manuscripts each week. Since reading manuscripts takes up a lot of editorial time and energy, large publishers are often wary of considering a manuscript by an unknown author. Many large general publishers, in fact, are not interested so much in whether a manuscript is good but in whether it will sell, so they concentrate on well known authors and Hollywood or political personalities who can move a book with their name. Very seldom will they accept a well written manuscript by an unknown, but if they do, it must be on a topic with the potential of a mass audience. As Walter Powell, author of Getting Into Print writes: "Few of the major trade publishers will take a chance on a manuscript from someone whose name is not known."
Large Christian publishing companies, on the other hand, may be more likely to take a look at your manuscript, but again, they also tend to concentrate on well known figures like television personalities and evangelists, Christian music performers, or others with well known names. Of course, if you desire your Christian book to be published by a large publisher, you most likely will stand a better chance by submitting your writing to a Christian publishing firm.
If you do get a contract with a general or Christian publisher of any size, you need to know that you will probably only get a royalty of from 6% to 15% of net receipts of what the publisher receives. For instance, a print run of 5,000 copies of a book selling for $20.00 would gross $100,000 at retail, but the net profit would be much less after all expenses are taken out. Royalties are paid from the net rather than the gross, so the royalty you receive would amount to only a few thousand dollars, not enough to pay for all the time you spent working on your manuscript. In addition, if the book doesn't sell very well, the chances of selling more than 5,000 books are slim, because after a few months the publisher will most likely take your book out of print. This happens because even though your publisher will
put up the money to have your book produced and will work to get it into book stores, in most cases they will not promote a book for a new author. Usually first-time authors must do their own promotion work, so you need to know in advance that you will need to begin promoting your book right away.
To sum up, the outlook isn't very good for getting a large general or Christian publishing company to publish your book. However, you will probably want to at least try, because it might be in God's will for you to be published by one of the large publishers.
You Could Contact a Medium Sized Publisher to See if They Would Publish Your Work
Medium sized publishers of either the general or the Christian book variety are more likely to take a look at your manuscript. These publishers have usually begun as self-publishers and have a long list of their own self-published titles, but somewhere along the way they have expanded out to publish work of other authors.
Although a large New York publisher may seem more prestigious, a medium sized independent publisher will probably sell more books. The secret is to match your manuscript to the publisher. To find the right publisher, go to your nearest bookstore or check the listings in your category at an online bookstore such as Amazon.com to find a medium size publisher who does a good job at publishing. Contact them to see if they accept unsolicited manuscripts in your field of writing. Medium sized publishers are usually very approachable and will probably know right away if they would consider publishing your type of book.
As I mentioned in my first blog, one of my books, 50 Ways to Cope with Your Child's Death, was published by a medium sized secular publisher in the category of self-help. The book was later revised and reissued with a new cover as 50 Ways to Cope with the Loss of Your Child. All of this happened because I had prayed that if God wanted me to continue writing, He would send me a publisher. He did, but I came to somewhat regret it , because like the Israelites when they asked for a king and afterward suffered for doing so, I anguished later because the secular publisher drastically revised my book with editorial deletions of practically every Christian aspect of the book.
I was told by the publisher that libraries generally do not accept a self-help book written from a purely Christian viewpoint because presently they are looking for books that include all religious outlooks. Hence my Christian book was basically turned into a secular book. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are grieving parents who have been helped by the secular versions. In addition, I learned a lot from the experience, and the rights have reverted back to me, so I have recently revised the book and self-published it myself as The Grieving Parent's Book of Hope with Christian aspects included again. All things are possible with God, so my hope is that some librarians will want to have the Christian version of my book in their collection.
You Could Try to Get a Literary Agent to Send Your Manuscript to the Right Publisher
Literary agents are another route to getting a book published. They will match manuscripts with publishers and negotiate contracts for you. Most new material comes to large publishers through them. However, agents are disinclined to even consider an unpublished author and their commissions range around 15%. According to Roger Straus, president of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, "It's harder for a new writer to get an agent than a publisher." However, if you want to give it a try, see the lists of literary agents in Literary Market Place, Writer's Market, or Literary Agents of North America.
You could decide to become a self-publisher
To self- publish, an author bypasses the intermediaries, deals directly with a printer, and handles the other aspects of publishing such as marketing and promotion themselves. Self-publishing or, as its often referred to as independent publishing (indie publishing), means you produce your book by doing a print run by a printer or by doing your book print-on-demand with a POD company. A POD firm will print one book at a time according to demand and as needed. LightningSource is one of the older POD companies. They are affiliated with Ingram Book Company and Spring Arbor, the leader in distribution, print-on-demand, and digital solutions for both physical and online Christian retailers. A fairly new POD company is CreateSpace, affiliated with Amazon.com. A print-on-demand book produced by them will go directly on sale at the Amazon website.
Please remember that there is a big difference between self-publishing and vanity or subsidy publishing. Do not let yourself get tricked into using a vanity or subsidy company that offers regular publishing services, including marketing, distribution, and promotion, but the author invests all the money. In almost all cases the subsidy/vanity company will not deliver on the services they promise. If you see an ad reading, "Manuscripts wanted by..." or "To the author..." you are probably reading the ad of a vanity or subsidy company. These companies don't have to sell any books, because the author has already paid them in advance. However, as noted, the vanity or subsidy company will not deliver on editing, promotion, sales, distribution, and so forth. Don't be taken in by a subsidy or vanity publisher.
On the other hand, you are well advised to self-publish your own Christian book. The job of the self-publisher or indie publisher is not to perform every aspect of book manufacturing and sales, but to perform as many aspects of the editing, proofing, distributing, and other publishing tasks as they can and to farm out tasks they can't do themselves by contacting actual professionals. Therefore, depending on the author's assets and abilities, indie publishing can take on many forms.
Of course, self-publishing does not mean buying a printing press and putting the ink on paper yourself. Almost all indie publishers leave the book printing to an experienced regular or POD printer. Nowadays, if a self-publisher plans properly, there is little monetary risk in independent publishing. Whereas a large publisher will only try a book for a few months and then let sales dictate its fate, an indie publisher can use the first year to build up a market for sustained future sales.
Obviously, there are many good reasons to self-publish. And that brings us to the topic of the upcoming September 20th blog: "Seven Good Reasons to Self-Publish"
I sure hope that if you want me to continue this blog that you will click on like or will leave a comment or question. Thanks!