So you’ve written a Christian book, and you’re ready to take the next step. How do you find a Christian book publisher to get your masterpiece out into the world? You won’t necessarily have to find an agent, but you will need to research publishers and write a query letter (which you can have professionals craft for you to increase your chances of success).
Pitching a manuscript isn’t easy, but there are ways to facilitate the process.
1. Determine the specific philosophy of your Christian book
The first step is figuring out where exactly your book fits within the sphere of Christian literature. Is your work scholarly? Evangelical? Is it fiction or nonfiction? Is your book intended for adults or children? Once you figure out where your manuscript falls, you can start searching for a Christian publisher.
The Christian literary landscape is broad. Different Christian book publishers cater to different demographics, so it’s important to know exactly what type of book you’re bringing to the scene.
2. Find the right publisher
Be thorough in your research—there are tons of Christian book publishers out there, and if you take the time, you can find the right one for your book. If you’d like a thorough list of relevant Christian publishers likely to enjoy your work, we’d be happy to put one together for you.
Once you’ve established a list of publishers potentially interested in your Christian book, it’s time to delve even deeper into your research. Visit the publishers’ websites to get a feel for how they operate and what they’ve previously published. Determine the average word counts of their books and how many books they publish per year.
You also need to learn their submission details. Do they expect you to have an agent? What is their preferred method of correspondence? Which editor is likely to handle your submission? What specific guidelines do they have for submissions? Once you answer these crucial questions, you’ll be ready to prepare your submission.
3. Compose a convincing query letter
Your query letter is extremely important. Make it succinct—publishers are busy people. A query letter also serves as a sample of your writing, so choose every word with care, and make sure to include all the relevant information (but not more).
Tell the Christian book publisher about why you chose them. If you’ve read some of the books they’ve published, mention them in your query letter. You also need to state the genre of your manuscript and its general, overarching themes.
As for personal information, mention relevant credentials related to your life as a writer or Christian or any event that relates directly to your manuscript. However, keep it short—if it’s not directly relevant, leave it out.
Finally, write a succinct summary of your book that distills its essence into a few lines. Think of it as a blurb—it’s an advertisement.
Writing a query letter is hard work, so if you want to ensure high quality, ask a professional to write your query letter for you.
4. Send your manuscript
Every Christian book publisher has its own preferences. Some want to receive only a few chapters of your work, while others request the entire manuscript. Just follow your publisher’s guidelines, and you should be fine.
If your book is nonfiction, make sure to include a bibliography of the sources you’ve referenced.
It’s also crucial to avoid spelling and grammatical errors. If a manuscript is riddled with mistakes, acquisitions editors won’t finish reading it. That means you have to avoid errors at all costs. It’s difficult to edit your own work, so hiring professional editors is a wise investment.
All authors face rejection. You won’t be an exception, so steel yourself. Be prepared to submit to other Christian book publishers, and while you’re waiting for the publisher willing to take you on, start a blog or write articles for an online Christian publication. This will help you put yourself out there and build a following, which will make you more attractive to book publishers.
The bottom line? Don’t give up.
Publishing a book, Christian or otherwise, is not a minor undertaking. You have mountains of work ahead of you, but many writers before you have been published by Christian publishers. You can do it too.
These five tips should help you become a published author. And if you’re looking for a top-notch query letter, consult the experts to craft one for you.