Outside Lutheran publishing

When I pursued my MA in theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, sometimes I’d get annoyed at all the non-Lutheran books we were reading. I wanted to read all the good stuff before I had to discern other lenses. I’ve learned a few things since then. First, a person needs to discern no matter who the publisher is. Second, some people look down on books from outside Lutheran publishing no matter what. Lutherans can be so “Lutheran-focused” that good stuff can slip right by.

Others are probably more worried about this than I am, to be honest. I want Lutherans reading Lutherans, because frankly I think that’s the rarity. I don’t really think most people out there only stick to certain publishing houses, even if they prefer certain blogs, journals, etc., to come from their own Lutheran perspective.

Maybe that makes me a moderate in Lutheran “culture.” I don’t know. What I do know is that I always wanted to publish primarily with CPH, be properly doctrinally reviewed, and be marketed among Lutherans. (Did you know the The Lutheran Witness will only advertise CPH products?)

I don’t need, or want, to criticize CPH or other Lutheran publishers. I’ll just skip over any of that to say sometimes a writer looks outside Lutheran publishing to get a book published. No big deal. It’s expected from a publisher’s point of view. They know they are one of many and probably do wish us well in our pursuit of publication.

So, why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel like a sell-out? I wrote a children’s book when I knew CPH had something on the topic. The next reasonable thing is for me to take it elsewhere and that is exactly what I have done. (Note: some publishers still work primarily in snail mail–who knew?!)

I’m not guilty and I’m not a sell-out. Even though I’m broadening my audience for some projects, I’m not changing my message to be any less Gospel-centered, biblical, or Law & Gospel.

Admittedly, I go back and forth about the Sacraments. I really, really love the Sacraments. Sacramental text from me would have to go through a Lutheran publisher. I think that’s all there is to it.

Authors, I won’t judge you if you go outside Lutheran publishing. Although I encourage you to see just how many Lutheran publishers there are! With great stuff continues to come out from every one I follow! 🙂

It’s just funny how a human heart works–or doesn’t work. Feeling guilty for writing for Christianity at large . . . leave it to a writer!

Anyway, wish me well and wish good Gospel books for the world!

Happy writing!


Filed under As Christian Writers, As Theological Writers, My projects, Publishing, Writer Troubles

3 Responses to Outside Lutheran publishing

  1. I can’t get CPH to look at me even for Lent or Christmas services, much less my fiction or non-fiction. I’d be happy to publish with a non-Lutheran house, but my writing is pretty Lutheran-focused. Since I have no plans to make a living from my writing–I donate all earnings from my non-fiction book to charity–I’ve grown content with self-publishing. We’ll see what happens when I publish my hymns.

    As for what I buy, obviously a pastor needs resources beyond what CPH offers.

  2. Charles Lehmann

    There are lots of good reasons to eschew CPH as both a writer and a reader, but unfortunately, they do have a corner on the market on some products. CPH is a highly politicized corporation, and that fact should always be kept in mind when you deal with them.

  3. Well, gentlemen, no publisher is perfect, that’s for sure. Still, I’m thankful for as many who affirm the resurrection of the dead as possible! Especially those who can also publish about the Sacraments.

    I hope you both keep writing! 🙂

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