First Time Writing/Publishing a Book Questions

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warrenchua

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi all,

(this is my first post). Anyone here who can recommend a good publisher?

I am currently writing a book, but I need some guidance to it:

* Which publisher should I choose for first time authors like me?
* Do I need agents to help me publish?
* What if I don't have all those credentials like Phd, and stuff like that?
* Any advise for writing and publishing a book?

Thanks everyone!
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Topic? Fiction or non-fiction?
Do you have a finished manuscript? Or some sample chapters?
Is self-publishing out of the question?

Hopefully you use something like Scrivener for writing which is wonderful for assembling your research and thoughts, plot lines, etc. Works great for sermon prep, too!
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
You're most likely going to need to go the self-publishing route. Companies like Xulon Press do this kind of thing, but you pay for everything yourself. They simply do the actual printing and binding, but you pay for that. Still, you have been published.

If you're not a "known" figure, it will be very difficult to find a publishing house that will take you on (in the sense of paying for publishing costs). It's getting harder all the time to get companies to invest in printed books since they are out the cost of publishing and then have to sit on those books while they sell (or don't).

In reality, you won't choose a publisher. They'll choose you if they think they can sell your book. You don't need credentials unless it's an academic work.

Hope this is of some help.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Unless you pay for the book to be published, to get either a publisher or an agent you should have a book proposal. Google it and you'll find lots of advice online.

A book has to be able to sell. This means either (1) the author has a ready-made bunch of people who will buy what he writes due to his fame, reputation, or connections to famous people who will back his book, or (2) the author has great publishing connections that will get him a deal to write something in an established series or under an established label, or (3) the writer's idea is exceptionally conceived and written so that the book itself draws a publisher's attention. Many would-be authors hope for #3, but it's probably the least likely path to publication.

My first book deal was probably some combination of #2 and #3. It would not have happened without both of these things being in play to an extent. Even then, it took about five years from the time I first conceived of the book and started working on the idea to the time I got a publishing deal.

Tell us a little more about your book idea, and especially about yourself and your connections and why you think people will want to hear from you, and we might be able to help you further.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
A few thoughts:

It's easy to get a book published (self-publishing), but don't expect to make money off of it :)

A good editor (not just a proofreader, but someone who has the vision to make necessary outline changes and drastic cuts) is worth their weight in gold.

If you're just interested in having a copy for yourself and few friends, you can get that set up for a couple-hundred dollars (purchase ISBNs, setup, proofs, and print-on-demand copies will then be in the range of $10 or so each from there after).

By far the route with the least initial expense and possibly the widest distribution without advertising, would be to publish as an ebook.

But yes, I'm curious to know more about this project: what you envision, what kind of a book, what kind of audience, etc.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Suppose an author is not an expert in X. He just has a layman's knowledge of X. Is it possible for him to write and publish that book about X? Would it be a good idea for him to get an expert in X to review the book and have his testimony written on the book cover?
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
So much of this depends on the details of the project. Can you share a bit more to help us, help you?
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Suppose an author is not an expert in X. He just has a layman's knowledge of X. Is it possible for him to write and publish that book about X? Would it be a good idea for him to get an expert in X to review the book and have his testimony written on the book cover?
Endorsements are always a good thing for a book.

If books were written by only so-called "experts", there would be much less of good books around, so do not let that hinder your enthusiasm. I have to ask about the topic you have in mind as it would help with more pointed suggestions.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
By far the route with the least initial expense and possibly the widest distribution without advertising, would be to publish as an ebook.
I certainly agree with that. There is something called the "long tail," referring to the normal distribution curve found in statistics. Under the old bricks and mortar model, you needed to show that your book likely would cover the cost of print and distribution--that is a significant hurdle.

An ebook sold through various vendors might attract 0.001% of the reading public's interest (the long tail), yet it will still make money.

As an example, we published a few ebooks a number of years ago. At first, with a little promotion, we were selling maybe 60-100 copies a month. That slowed down after a couple of years, but even now, with zero promotion or work, we see sales reports of 5-15 books a month. Every quarter when I report our income, there is some $100-200 or so extra sitting in the bank account from those effortless sales.

Which reminds me to get to work completing a couple more obscure books.
 
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Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Suppose an author is not an expert in X. He just has a layman's knowledge of X. Is it possible for him to write and publish that book about X? Would it be a good idea for him to get an expert in X to review the book and have his testimony written on the book cover?
Endorsements are always a good thing for a book.

If books were written by only so-called "experts", there would be much less of good books around, so do not let that hinder your enthusiasm. I have to ask about the topic you have in mind as it would help with more pointed suggestions.
Some theological or philosophical topic.
 

warrenchua

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello friends!

First of all I would like to thank you for the replies. I am very surprised and happy and humbled to see many replies from this board!

You see, this will be my first book. And I have no friends in our country (Philippines) among the reformed circle who has gone the distance of writing a book. I understand that reformed theology is still very new in our country and most reformed ministers here rely on what westerners have to say on these issues. So, at a glance, writing a book is still something unlikely to happen anytime in our country. However, I have this heartfelt conviction (with all odds against me) in writing this book and recognized the importance of this in our country and in our time today. So any form of advise or tip would be much appreciated!

About my plans on the book:
I am hoping to publish this book both for ebook (PDF, Kindle,etc.) and real book, and offer it for free ebook download and if possible offer the real book at minimal costs. Also, I am willing to share my work-in-progress manuscript to whoever is interested. Just PM and I'll send them to you in PDF format. I am willing to be guided, corrected, adopted, or whatever author terminology we have to get this published.

Here are the details of the book (note, the title, chapter titles are just "place holders" and they can be refined in the process. Also, I may add more chapters or remove some.):
Title: Heart of the Church

Contents:
I. The Necessity of Reformation of the Church
II. Formal Religion – Synagogues of Satan (pending)
III. The Necessity of the Heart in Christian Duties part 1
IV. The Necessity of the Heart in Christian Duties part 2
V. How Christian Tradition is Reconciled in the Church (pending)
VI. The Necessity of the Holy Spirit’s Regeneration in One’s Religion
VII. Evidences of a New Heart in the Christian Life
VIII. A Heart that Identifies with Christ (pending)
IX. A New Heart Evidenced by the Death and Resurrection of Christ (pending)
X. The Gospel – the Power of God for a Renewed Heart (pending)

Again, it is with great gratitude to hear from you friends.

Thank you and God bless you!
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Hello friends!

First of all I would like to thank you for the replies. I am very surprised and happy and humbled to see many replies from this board!

You see, this will be my first book. And I have no friends in our country (Philippines) among the reformed circle who has gone the distance of writing a book. I understand that reformed theology is still very new in our country and most reformed ministers here rely on what westerners have to say on these issues. So, at a glance, writing a book is still something unlikely to happen anytime in our country. However, I have this heartfelt conviction (with all odds against me) in writing this book and recognized the importance of this in our country and in our time today. So any form of advise or tip would be much appreciated!

About my plans on the book:
I am hoping to publish this book both for ebook (PDF, Kindle,etc.) and real book, and offer it for free ebook download and if possible offer the real book at minimal costs. Also, I am willing to share my work-in-progress manuscript to whoever is interested. Just PM and I'll send them to you in PDF format. I am willing to be guided, corrected, adopted, or whatever author terminology we have to get this published.

Here are the details of the book (note, the title, chapter titles are just "place holders" and they can be refined in the process. Also, I may add more chapters or remove some.):
Title: Heart of the Church

Contents:
I. The Necessity of Reformation of the Church
II. Formal Religion – Synagogues of Satan (pending)
III. The Necessity of the Heart in Christian Duties part 1
IV. The Necessity of the Heart in Christian Duties part 2
V. How Christian Tradition is Reconciled in the Church (pending)
VI. The Necessity of the Holy Spirit’s Regeneration in One’s Religion
VII. Evidences of a New Heart in the Christian Life
VIII. A Heart that Identifies with Christ (pending)
IX. A New Heart Evidenced by the Death and Resurrection of Christ (pending)
X. The Gospel – the Power of God for a Renewed Heart (pending)

Again, it is with great gratitude to hear from you friends.

Thank you and God bless you!
Warren,

Your zeal for your nation and for the Church is commendable, but your profile says "I am still learning about 1689 LBCF, eschatology, covenant theology." If you're still working out the basics of Reformed theology (confessions of faith and covenant theology being some of the rudiments), why not look for books that have already been written by men who have a firmer grasp on the truth? There have been many good books written on all of the subjects you have listed above, and I'm sure you would have no problem finding book recommendations here.

Books by foreigners have been used all over the world for the entire history of the NT Church with great benefit. Don't be discouraged if there is little written from your own people on Reformed theology. Instead, import all that you can of the mature theology written in Britain and Continental Europe at the time of the first and second Reformations. Read the American authors once you have been schooled by the others--it will save you a lot of trouble do it in that order.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
By far the route with the least initial expense and possibly the widest distribution without advertising, would be to publish as an ebook.
I certainly agree with that. There is something called the "long tail," referring to the normal distribution curve found in statistics. Under the old bricks and mortar model, you needed to show that your book likely would cover the cost of print and distribution--that is a significant hurdle.

An ebook sold through various vendors might attract 0.001% of the reading public's interest (the long tail), yet it will still make money.

As an example, we published a few ebooks a number of years ago. At first, with a little promotion, we were selling maybe 60-100 copies a month. That slowed down after a couple of years, but even now, with zero promotion or work, we see sales reports of 5-15 books a month. Every quarter when I report our income, there is some $100-200 or so extra sitting in the bank account from those effortless sales.

Which reminds me to get to work completing a couple more obscure books.
I was about to suggest e-book, too. As usual, go with anything Vic recommends. When I publish my book on EO, it will probably be as an e-book. People will more likely by a cheap e-book than hesitate and deliberate over buying a 220 page book at $19.95. Unless we have something like Y2K-16, ebooks are the best starters.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Some more thoughts:

1) You could find an area that not many have written on. I chose this with Eastern Orthodoxy, partly because of my background and partly because there are few good Protestant critiques of them (Clendennin and Letham are more exposition than critique). And very little good stuff written about the Filioque (except for Karl Barth). Therefore, anything I write on the subject, even if it is very bad, will certainly break ground.

2) People with good websites and/or blogs can often reach more people than the average low-level academic in the university system. These academics are on a publish-or-perish system. That means most of them, certainly in Gender Studies or sociology or Privilege-Checking, will have to write papers for unknown journals that they no one reads nor will anyone ever care about. By contrast, more people read my blog per month than they would some government-grant gender studies article. And I don't even advertise my blog!
 

Ryan J. Ross

Puritan Board Freshman
Try Wipf.

Try to answer two questions:

1. Why should anyone care about x? (So what?)
2. What are you contributing?

Eccles. 12:12
 
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