Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Behind The Bookcovers:Insider Tips for Christian Writers #3

Treasuring Grace is a Christian themed book that was published by Healthy Life Press. Being a first time author makes it hard to break into the writing business and the Christian market, although growing, makes it even harder. We know there are a lot of you in the same boat, with great ideas, inspired story lines, but not really sure where to go with your manuscript or how to take the next step.  
We asked our publisher at Healthy Life Press some questions about breaking into the Christian Publishing business (referred to a CP in the future) and wanted to share his valuable information with you here. We are sure you'll find it fascinating and helpful.

Q: Can a writer submit a book for publication with a traditional publishing company, that they have already published themselves as an ebook or done a vanity publishing with?

Yes, as long as the writer in view owns the copyright and the contract with a vanity publishing house is not exclusive. One must take care to review all the stipulations before signing any contract, because it's easy to sign away rights that later you may wish you still owned.
If you do own the copyright, you can try to sell your book to a commercial publishing entity. In order to have any success, you will most likely need an agent to represent you, and you will have to show a good sales history for the title in question, plus access to a loyal "tribe" of followers, of significant size, who will continue to help you promote your work should you reprint it. However, you should ask yourself why any loyal follower should repurchase your book, most likely at a higher retail price. 
 Q: Are there certain people or places a manuscript or book should be reviewed to get it attention and increase its sales? How can a "nobody" author get their book in the hands of the right people?

There are some bloggers who specialize in reading and promoting books. To gain access to them, you usually have to pay somebody, and be prepared to provide the book in either printed format or eBook format, plus have it available to sell should anyone express an interest in buying. Your best approach to marketing your book is via social networking, NOT through conventional advertising OR through hiring an agency, since most of them are still using old methods in a publishing world that is headed full speed toward ePublishing and electronic or online purchasing and away from purchasing through bookstores. As unfortunate as this is for the future of booksellers, what is, is ... and they can survive if they adapt. At the same time, Christian booksellers specialize in gift books oriented toward spiritual needs, so if your book fits that description, you will have a better chance of convincing Christian bookstores to stock it. Start with any Christian bookstore that is within driving distance, and go meet the buyers. Personal connection is all the more important in a digital world.
Dr. David Biebel, author/co-author/collaborator of 19 books
Publisher, Healthy Life Press

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