When I set out to write my first book, “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch,” my focus was entirely on finishing the book.  I was certain that writing the book would be the hardest part. I was wrong. As difficult as writing the book was, it was probably only 50% of the actual work/process of bringing a book to publication. So you’ve written a book; that is a huge achievement…..what’s next?

Finding a Publisher-

Traditional Publishing-It used to be that the only way to publish a book was to find a traditional book publisher. This involves writing MANY many well written letters to multiple publishers, presenting your book. An even better option is to hire a literary agent, who can help you get that “in” that you need. Finding a literary agent can be difficult as well- involving writing many letters, selling you and your project.  I found that some publishing houses, even Christian ones, would not even look at or consider your work unless it is brought to them through a literary agent. So if you look for a traditional publisher, if would benefit you greatly to find a literary agent first. There are many great templates online for query letters for literary agents. Also, you are going to need a THICK skin. You can expect a lot of rejections, some of them brutal. Most of the great works of literature were initially rejected by multiple publishers before being “discovered”. After all that hard work writing the book, now you have to work hard to find the publisher, and hang on- never giving up!

Self-Publishing- This much more recent option is becoming more and more accepted and popular. The plusses to self publishing are A. not having to work long and hard trying to find a willing publisher B. having more control over the detail, design and layout of the book C. possibly speeding up the process of getting your book to print. And you have more options now as to CHANNELS for your book-online books, Kindle, Amazon, etc. etc. I decided to go this route for several of the above reasons.  Some reasons NOT to go with self publishing: A. To avoid rejection and negative feedback.  You are going to need a thick skin either way.  As soon as your book goes “live” online, you WILL receive negative feedback, and there will be those who reject what you are writing about.  That negative feedback can be a huge help when you are writing if you can accept it.  And even the negative feedback that is NOT constructive can serve to make you stronger and more sure of what you trying to do. B. Don’t go with self-publishing just to hurry through a thrown together mish mashed project. Self-publishing is no excuse for sending out a mess.  There are so many tools available now for spell checking and formatting layout.  I personally hired a professional editor and sucked it up to listen to everything he had to say. C. Do not go with self-publishing when you have no intention of learning any new technology. You will have to work hard, and learn many new things, in order to self publish. It’s a lot of work, and at times MORE work than traditional publishing.

To be continued! In our next installment……MARKETING!