Publishing Tips

If you are hoping to publish Lutheran books, you will need to research Lutheran (or Lutheran-friendly) publishing houses. Larger Lutheran denominations may have their own publishing house (such as Concordia Publishing House, or CPH for the LCMS). There are also smaller organizations, which may be able to assist spreading your work, or the option to self-publishing.

Any text put onto the Internet could be considered self-published. Self-publishing is easier than ever before, however it should not be considered a step closer to publishing through a publisher.

The first step toward working with a publisher is research. Who publishes your genre, and who is accepting manuscripts? Are there pieces like yours already on the market? How, or to whom, could your work be marketed?

In your initial contact,  typically either an email or achieved through a literary agent (and if anyone ever finds a Lutheran literary agent, please let me know!), you should briefly summarizing how your piece is needed, different from everything else, and easy to sell. Include age of audience and uses.

You are not, at this point, acting as a customer, who might expect special treatment. You are seeking payment for a concept and services you offer. The goal of contact is permission to submit a proposal.

I have been fortunate with this format for proposals:  Cover Page, Introduction (no more than a page in length, addressing need or value of your manuscript), Marketing (comparing existing works and exploring the niche for your own), a brief Author section, and then a sample of your manuscript.

Proposals often take between a few months and a year to go through the various channels and permissions of a publishing house. It is, after all, a long-term process, involving multiple departments.

I have run across an additional option toward reaching an audience with multiple publishing houses at the same time: http://www.christianmanuscriptsubmissions.com/. Basically, if I understand it correctly, for a monthly fee you can get help with writing a proposal and publishing houses have the opportunity to see what you are doing. If you are curious, CPH and Crossway (which publishes the ESV version of the Bible) both are member publishers of the site, as is Zondervan, Tynedale, etc., which suggests to me it is pretty respectable, though I haven’t used it.

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