Tag Archives: Christian writers

From My Writing Journal: 4/5/2001

Writing is an act of love for the “Christian” writer (the writer who is not merely Christian in the sense of a religious identity, but rather a true follower and disciple of Jesus—one who partakes in his very nature and personality by way of God’s inhabiting presence [Gal. 2:20 cf. 2 Pt. 1:4). I say for “the disciple of Jesus” because other writers may write from any number of motives—money, the need to be heard or speak, boredom—but the disciple writes for love.

This kind of writer gives in secret. All alone the Christian writer gives shape to thoughts and emotions that spring from fellowship with Christ and their desire is to express love for Christ and all whom He loves. I long to know Christ and to make him known. What he shows me in my writing is–that self-giving is the expression of love. And this solitary act of writing is an act of love, at first hidden and unseen. Only later does the Lord bring it out into the open. And then, not all, but only that which He would commend.

How I desire for my body of work, my writing, to help my brothers and sisters to Know Him better and to Make Him Known. That His love might be my highest aim. I keep thinking that perhaps if I give myself to this lonely work, their experience will be one of great blessing and communion with Christ and the church.

Perhaps in this solitary expression of my heart, in these hours days and weeks of parading symbols across a blank white page, a receptive heart and mind will soar into greater heights with Jesus. Perhaps this place at my computer keyboard is the place where my gifts and life-experience, my love for Jesus and my heavenly Father will speak to a hungry heart and lift it into the courts of the New Jerusalem. Maybe, this time alone can unveil a view from the Mountains of Pomegranates. This aloneness, this word-smything, then connects me with all human hearts through my love for my Savior.

Thank you Lord for the gift of writing.

Authors Without Representation Need Not Apply

Awhile back, I posted a notice on Twitter and on Facebook to my friends and family. I shared there that I was no longer a customer of Christianbooks.com (CBD or @Christianbook). Now I’m sharing why. I’m hoping to accomplish two things.

First, to warn other authors not to bother requesting that CBD carry your newest book (unless of course, you know someone), because you will receive a form reply. Very polite, but bottom line: We’re too big. You’re too small. We’re too busy. Don’t call us, we don’t know you. Here are some suggestions. . . .

Second, to reconsider supporting a distributor that appears to care more about efficiency than what God may be doing (or saying) through new and unrepresented authors. Why not give you money to distributors that give everyone an equal opportunity to sell their books. Both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble will carry your self-published or assisted published Christian book, but not CBD.

Fellow writers/authors, these are the facts: In July, 2009, I had asked Christianbooks.com (@Christianbook) to carry my first published book, available from my publisher in both paper and hardcover. They sent me a polite form email. In essence what they said was that unless you are represented (either by a publisher that does business with them or by an agent or someone they know) they are not interested. You can imagine that after having given them my personal (and our church’s) business for over two decades, I was shocked at the unwillingness to even CONSIDER carrying the book. Not even a phone call. Not even a question as to whether I was a customer or not.

Because I thought they viewed their business as a ministry to the body of Christ, I felt they would at least consider carrying the book or check reviews at Amazon.com. So I was shocked that no one showed the slightest interest in at least seeing what possibility the book had for contributing to the building of the body. For Pete’s sake, they’re not publishers, they’re a distributor. They really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. At least Amazon and B&N get that point.

Christianbooks.com won’t ask any questions. They will simply give you their stock reply and politely write you off. I hope this is helpful and saves you the disappointment and surprise I felt.

Below is the content of their email to me:

Thank you for your interest in having Christian Book Distributors and Christianbook.com carry your product. Please be advised that we do not accept any unsolicited products, books, proposals or manuscripts at this time.  We simply cannot accommodate the numerous requests that we receive and we are unable to review any materials sent to us.

If you are an author whose publisher is a regular contributor to CBD, they should be able to make direct contact with our Buying Department. We do have some suggested resources for authors in the FAQ section of our website.  Just click on the following link:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=130199&eve nt=WW|128824|#23

Customer Service
Christian Book Distributors

When they read my Twitter post, they responded:

@davidcalves Sorry! We simply can’t accommodate the large requests we receive; but we’d be happy to suggest other resources for assistance. [the form FAQ page; not much help there for authors with books already published]

I’m encouraged by Ken Taylor’s difficulties with placing the Living Bible and getting it to the body. He had to begin his own publishing house (Tyndale Publishers) and Doubleday distributed the book in those early years. I thought that the memory of that success might still be in the minds of those who head some of the “blue chip” Christian publishers and distributors. Am I wrong? I’m sure I am.

We’ll have to trust the Lord to be our agent and distributor.

What I’ve shared is a faithful account of both what happened to me, and my opinions regarding that experience.

QUESTION: Have you found more openness among secular distributors than among Christian?

© 2011, David C Alves

10 Books Every Christian Writer Should Own

Though no two people may agree upon the 10 Books that Every Christian writer should own and have assimilated, I offer these as my 10—The ones I have read and found invaluable. I also recommend others for other reasons, but these are a good start and should make up the foundation of any small library of any serious Christian writer. The Bible is not found in this list simply because I have already assumed that any writer who is a believer has several excellent translations in his library already.

The order I have chosen lays a foundation in its class (esthetics, craft of writing, publishing, enrichment, etc.) and builds upon it. Some of the books have been mentioned already in my “14 Helpful Websites for Christian Writers.” A second mention merely underscores a particular book’s importance.

Each book is available in my “Featured Books” List to the right (for as long as this blog is on my front page, thereafter check my “Essential Books for Believing Writers”). Simply click on the book’s title and you can purchase the book either new or used. So . . here you have it:

Help in Forming A Christian Aesthetic:

  • The Christian Imagination, Leland Ryken
  • The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers
  • Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor
  • A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction, Ron Hansen

The Craft

  • The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
  • The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, Hudson & Townsend
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction And Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life, Jerry Jenkins

Publishing and Marketing

  • Book Proposals that Sell, Terry Whalin
  • Christian Writer’s Market, Susan
  • Writing Non-fiction, Dan Poynter

Bonus Book

  • The Well-ordered Office: How To Create An Efficient And Serene Workspace, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Hope you find these helpful. Have a blessed holiday season!

I welcome all serious comments to this community of readers. Please leave comments which would be helpful to any Christian writer. It could have been 10 or 100 Books that every Christian writer should have read, so please add to our list if you know something with the following three qualities: relevant, readable and significant.

Feel free to leave legitimate links that relate to our topic. You may also point us to your blog if it will serve the purposes of this article (Consider that you are in my home, and I am protective of my visiting readers. So I always reserve the right to delete comments or links that are not helpful to the community that visits my site). Consider also your own reputation as you comment. I would like it to continue unsullied.

10 Helpful Websites for Christian Writers

Have you ever wished that someone could point you to a few sites helpful to a Christian writer? The following are nine websites that I believe Christian writers will find helpful. Though they may also serve other species of writer, I have chosen them specifically to assist my brothers and sisters whose vocations issue from a calling by the Lord to write.

I have ordered the annotated list in a loose chronology of the writing process (i.e. first you query or propose, then you write, then you record, you network and sharpen your craft and marketing abilities:

1. Great Place to Start: Every writer should have a website. http://www.fictionfactor.com/website.html – see alsoWordPress.com (they host mine).

2. http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html I include this link from the same site so that you have some sense of the industry standards for the length of your works.

3. Terry Whalin’s site is a must, chock full of good stuff for us from the vantage point of a veteran editor for various Christian publishers. His insight into the proposal process is invaluable. His book, Book Proposals that $ell, is worth its weight in gold—a great buy at any price. Someday it’s going to help you land a contract!!

4. If you like his blog, you might want to try his website for writers:http://www.right-writing.com/index.html

5. This is a reference site of books online. I use it to find quotes, to recall anecdotes or just to take a break from my writing: http://www.bartleby.com/

6. If you’re like me, it’s hard not to quote C. S. Lewis. Here’s your gold mine: http://www.quotedb.com/authors/cs-lewis

7. The Christian Writer’s Guild is worth checking out and participating in. http://www.christianwritersguild.com/

The Christian Writer’s Guild is headed by Jerry Jenkins. I recommend his book in my blog entry, “10 Books Every Christian Writer Should Own.” The Christian Writer’s Guild sponsors an annual Conference for networking with other writers, editors, and publishers.

8. At some point you will need to know something about how the laws and copyrights affect you.

9. Michael Hyatt’s site is a MUST if you’re serious about publishing and social media as an author. You will be glad you subscribed there.

10. Saving the BEST for last, you will want to go to Stickyink.com’s contribution to indie-publishing: A Complete Guide to Publishing Your Own Book. You will find this full of help and best of all, it’s FREE!. Has a great table of contents so that you can use it as a bookmarked resource and dip in wherever, whenever.

Hope you find these helpful. I’ll post more as I discover them.

QUESTION: What sites have YOU found helpful?

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