Tag Archives: Publishing

Some Thoughts on Partnership in Christian Publishing?


 I wrote this post back in 2009, but as I reread it, I realized that it deserves to be touched up and resubmitted to readers of “David’s Place,” many of whom are writers and authors. I predicted back then that traditional Christian publishers may be in trouble. Three years later, most of them have sold out to mainstream, big name publishers. Here’s what I said back then:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Frank Who??

Frank Peretti? Who had ever heard of him before This Present Darkness?

In the early or mid-seventies, Kenneth Tyndale’s Living Bible found no publisher willing to take a chance. If my memory serves me correctly, he shopped that manuscript around to 5 or 6 publishers. He finally had to become his own publisher. That’s why to this day Tyndale Publishers stays opened to writers that can’t find a publisher (at least in theory).

Why would any author–who writes a potentially important book, who works hard to get it into the hands of readers, and who has developed some sort of platform on his/her own–want to share that with a publisher whose “platform” policy makes it clear that they are unwilling to invest or risk anything, with that author? Who needs fair-weather friends? I do not fully understand publishing, but common sense begs the question: what use is a publisher to an already popular and successful author? All she needs at that point is an editor, a format and cover artist, a reprographics company like CreateSpace.com who will keep up with printing demand and market distribution; and, a sharp, innovative administrative assistant to coordinate all of her partnerships.

Lottery winners are smart not to trust new found friends. They do best to trust their instincts and the loyal friends who were with them from the start.

A Proposed Solution

The Christian writer and publisher must remain open to other considerations that secular publishers need not consider–God’s will for effective ministry and for building the body of Christ. We will be held responsible for more than the bottom line. How much of our “business” is sensitive to the needs of ministry and guidance of the Holy Spirit? God uses the little known and despised things to confound the wise. He often raises up the least likely. We look on the outside. He looks on the inside. He purposely counters our too often worldly perspectives. Therefore, if we don’t want to miss what He is doing, we need to stay sensitive to his leading, as well as to our formulas for success. He may choose to bypass them (as in The Shack and  many other titles that surprised those who had their eyes on the bottom line). By the way, the author of The Shack had zero platform–none!

Fortunately for us, many of the greatest authors in literature had publishers that knew that writers write and publishers print and market–its a partnership. The great publishing houses became such because they knew that first books were investments. Perhaps even second ones. Author and publisher needed each other. They took chances together in order to impact their world, because they believed in the message. And each had his own responsibilities and expertise. They were co-workers. And their shared risk enriched and enlightened or entertained us.

An increasing number of today’s publishers appear to want a guaranteed return on someone else’s investment. They may be unaware of publishing history or simply uninformed. Some publishers know better and continue to believe that important books remain to be written and discovered. And occasionally a receptive publisher connects with a gifted, determined writer and together they make history. However, that becomes increasingly rare when publishers set policies that exclude new manuscript submissions unless they come through agents.  I don’t have the solution. Publishers have their own challenges. More could be said on this, but perhaps someone more qualified could take up the challenge. But I can suggest that Christian publishers need spiritually discerning people at their front doors as manuscript readers–that is if expanding the Kingdom and honoring God is as important as money.

The Future of Christian Publishing?

My guess is that if the current publishing trend continues, more and more authors will find alternate ways to publish and connect with readers. Then where will the Christian publishers be when their potential authors no longer need them?

I’ve heard it said that “the internet eliminates geography.” Social networking is the new town center. Amazon.com is the new town center and the most important bookstore in the world. And if your book is already there, don’t worry that no publisher will partner with you. After all, word of mouth has always been and will continue to be the most effective form of advertising. So authors, don’t worry if the big guys won’t even read your manuscripts without an agent. You have many alternatives today in the new and growing reading community. Since the Lord raised you up and gave you the ability to write well, let’s see how good He is at getting your work out there and connecting with the readers He wants to communicate with. I expect there are many more viral books to be written. Remember The Shack. And keep writing and publishing.

Or if you’ve been successful, why not give back by launching a Christian publishing company with a different set of values. The world is ripe to see a publishing company motivated by ministry.

QUESTION: What do you think will be the future for traditional corporate Christian publishers?


Writing is An Act of Faith


You know, I was sitting here wondering why I persist to type words into a OneNote 2010 page, when it struck me that writing is a true act of faith.

Who knows whether or not anyone will read them? I mean, most of us write because we want to connect with others. But honestly, my book did not sell anything like I thought it would when I dreamt of its release. For years I had ideas of what it would be like to be a published author. Not because I wanted fame or fortune. The realities are much different than movies. But because I wanted to serve and impact readers. Wow! Where was my head?

WRITING FOR CHANGE

No, I believe that my first book and my blog have taught me a lot. I still want to connect, but now whether I do or not I realize that I write because I have something to say and I love saying it. I believe that God has given me a perspective that combines with a gift of encouragement, to help others to be all that they can be in Christ.

I also know how much I love a helpful book. I’m changed by the reading and applying of what I read to my life. When a good book mentors me, I’m a better man for that. I want to pass that gift along to those who read my books. I want my books to mentor, coach along the journey to Christ’s Kingdom reign.

Truly, faith is keeping at something, even when you don’t see the results you expected. It’s believing what cannot be seen but being assured that it’s the right thing to believe.

WISE ADVICE

Before I completed and published my first book, I had breakfast with Gordon MacDonald at Friendlies. I wanted him to mentor me as a writer. He asked me to tell him my story. I talked. He listened graciously. I realized even while I was talking that I wasn’t communicating my passion for writing. Instead, I was telling him something else. It was as though God was allowing him to see something in me that needed addressing.

After breakfast, he recommended that I read a book. “This is not a Christian book I’m recommending, but it will be helpful for you to read it,” he said.

The title was In the Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson by Susan Erikson Bloland, the daughter of famed child psychologist, Erik Erickson. As a sidenote, I’m just finishing a memoir of a woman who separated from her husband for a year and met Joan Erickson while walking along the beach. They became close friends. That book is entitled A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, by Joan Anderson.

LOOKING BACK

In retrospect, I realized that my reasons for publishing were mixed. Shortly after I read Bloland’s book, I completed my book. I sought the Lord to purify my motives. Then I released the book at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and for Kindle and Nook. Sales were mainly to family, friends, and fellow pastors. Of course my church family and fellow associational leaders encouraged me as well. But that was about it. For the first year, I continued to write. But then I stopped.

DARK NIGHT

I went into a depression which, I later found out, was a “dark night of the soul.” I withdrew from people and things I usually enjoyed. I felt exhausted all the time. Because I was a busy pastor and associational leader as well, I began to question my calling.

Everything lost is taste and savor. Fortunately for me, I had praying friends and ministry partners. Some wise counsel helped me recognize God at work, not the enemy. He was taking everything but Him. Funny, because I thought I had given him everything already–many times. But He sees deeper than we ever could.

ON THE OTHER SIDE

I’m on the other side of all that now. It took two and a half more years to slowly let go of everything but Him. It was truly a spiritual winter. But the great thing about tracking through the winter with the Lord is that spring is the next season to follow. Spring is a time for sowing and planting, digging around and preparation.

A WITNESS

Now I’m settled in a great peace, waiting only on Him. I am also searching out a coach on the road ahead of me in spiritual formation, while at the same time coaching those whom God has sent my way. But I’m no longer an expert–Dr. Alves. I’m merely a witness, testifying to whatever the Lord shows or entrusts to me.

And . . . I’m writing again. Writing by faith. My one prayer is that the Lord will use the process of writing by faith in my life first . . . And if He so chooses, in the lives of those who may be drawn by His Spirit to read.

QUESTION: Have you ever experienced what I’m talking about?

Top Posts on Writing, Ideas, & Making a Difference in 2012


How about some advice and resources for your writing and reading in 2012.  For all my fellow writers and readers, here’s a great compendium post by Jeff Goins. A resource of resources:

Top Posts on Writing, Ideas, & Making a Difference in 2011 | Goins, Writer.

9 Favorite Posts by Michael Hyatt


For several years now, I’ve been following Michael Hyatt, the Chairman of the Board of Thomas Nelson–the largest Christian publisher in the world. Mike sees clearly and has a wealth of experience. He’s a great resource for authors, writers, fellow travelers on spiritual journey, and proactive, transformational leaders.

The following are my nine favorite posts from his website:

Should You Dare to Take a Sabbatical?

What Every Author Should Know About Radio and Television Interviews

Advice to First-Time Authors

Do You Make These 10 Mistakes When You Blog?

Creating A Life Plan

The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

The Future of the Book

Archives

Seven Steps to Writing a Successful Guest Post

This is a guest post by Jeff Goins on Mike’s website

Hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have. Please pass them on to your friends too. It’s great when we can help equip one another by recommending important resources by creative individuals.

QUESTION: Which are your favorite? Why?

Ready to Write that Non-Fiction Book?


I’m taking a lesson from my social networking mentor. He often reposts older, but helpful posts that many of his new readers may never have seen.

I thought for those of you who are ready to write that non-fiction book, you might like to read my previous post: 5 Questions 2 Ask B4 U Write that Non-Fiction Book.

Hope you find it helpful.

The comments are closed out there on that page, but please return here and leave some feedback.

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