About Godly Writers

Welcome to Godly Writers, the beginner’s guide for Christian writers!

My name is Charles Specht and I originally created this website resource because I wrote a Christian book but literally didn’t know what to do next. No, seriously, it’s the truth.

You see, I finished writing a book on how to figure out God’s plan for your life and–for me–this was the next step in the process of figuring out how to get that book published once and for all.

UPDATE: Two weeks after creating this resource website, I signed my first book deal! Read about it by clicking here.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, “Like” the GodlyWriters.com Facebook page, or even my (Charles) Author page.

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How This Whole Thing Got Started

I started this little blogging experiment on April 4, 2012. You see, in the 2nd quarter of 2011 I wrote a nearly 60,000-word manuscript, received about 10,000 or so rejection letters shortly thereafter, but I continued to pray it would one day soon become a published book. Like most aspiring Christian authors out there, I was a newbie when it came to the Christian publishing industry and so I wanted to learn about how this whole process works.  So here we are.

What I Tried Doing First

After completing my manuscript in June 2011, I downloaded a list of Christian literary agents and emailed my query according to each agent’s submission requirements, as best I could. Not a small task, I can assure you. Then I waited for the offers of representation (and million-dollar royalty checks) to come rolling in. Then I waited some more. And a bit more. Finally, I received an email that said this:

Thank you for contacting our firm in regard to representation. At present, we are not taking on any additional representation assignments. Our focus is on managing author brands, thus we tend to maintain a relatively small group of clients to ensure quality representation. I am confident you will find success in your quest for a competent agency to represent your interests.

Soon thereafter I received a second one that said this:

We have received your submission and want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your work. If we determine that your submission is a good fit for ______, you will be contacted within eight weeks by one of our agents. Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to every submission we receive. If an agent hasn’t contacted you after eight weeks, we have determined that your submission doesn’t fit our current needs and we are unable to offer representation.

And then this one showed up in my email inbox:

Your QUERY has landed safely in our inbox. As we mentioned on our website, we will read and review your query. If we feel we can help, we will be in touch. If you haven’t heard from us within two months, you can assume we will not be able to represent your work.

Wait a minute. Two months? Yes, two months—at least! One even had the audacity to suggest a wait closer to six months! Although most of the literary agencies had their own unique version of, “Charles, we’ve received your rubbish and pushed it to the bottom of the pile. You may hear back from us, but don’t count on it,” each agency had their own reply.

By the way, this is the perfect time to let you know that I really do respect and appreciate literary agents and all that they do. Literary agents have the tough assignment of trying to be both objective about our writing potential and lovingly delicate when it comes to giving us the truth about our latest work’s potential for publication. So please don’t take this article as a put down on literary agents. Deal? Great!

The Art of the Rejection Letter

Shortly after similar “wait and see” letters began showing up, something unimaginable happened. It was quite unexpected. And hurtful. You see, I actually started receiving rejection letters. I know, imagine that. Here’s an excerpt from one of my first rejections:

Thanks, but I need to decline due to other commitments at this time.

Okay, sure, everyone gets busy now and then. Here’s the next one I got:

Thank you for your query regarding your manuscript. Unfortunately, due to my current load of author/client work, I am unable to assist you at this time. I do wish you the very best in your search for a publisher and in your ongoing writing endeavors.

Wow, literary agents must be busy bees. At least that one was a bit more cordial. Ah, yes, and then I received this one:

Thank you for your query. I found the sample compelling, but most books in the Christian Living category are published on the strength of the author’s media platform (TV, radio, print) and Christian publishers typically won’t even consider a proposal by a new author unless he has a media platform. I’m afraid I won’t be able to take this on for representation, but I wish you all the best finding the right agent and publisher for your work.

Platform? What in the world does diving have to do with this? Well, at least they wished me “all the best.” But as nice as that one is, here’s one that is not only more personal but ranks as one of my all-time favorite rejections:

Charles, my experience with books on Christian living is that I cannot get a publisher interested unless the author is a pastor of a megachurch or has a national speaking platform. The western US is not enough, is my guess. Secondly, ________ is at the top or near it on every bestseller list. When one book so dominates a topic, I find publishers unwilling to launch anything similar to it. As a result, I sense that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a publisher for one by an associate pastor.

Ouch. So I need to first pastor a megachurch before I can get published? Wow! Apparently, getting a book published would be harder than I originally thought. And last—but certainly not least—here’s my choice for the rejection letter that is, in my most humble opinion, the clear winner for the most brief-but-not-so-sweet rejection:

Thanks but I’ll pass.

It was around this time in the query process that I began to rethink my marketing strategy.

What You Can Expect from GodlyWriters.com

What I plan to share here is my own experience through it all. The up’s and the down’s in the life of a Christian writer/author. The good times and the bad, if you will. But other writers, agents and publishers are going to help you as well. Besides my own experiences, there will be plenty of Contributing Writers who will provide tips, training, resources, and guidance along the way. You see, this website is going to be a “show me, don’t just tell me” kind of site. And so we need to hear about your journey as well.

My prayerful goal is that what gets published on this website (by both myself and other fine guests) will be profoundly useful to you in your own process of digesting this immense publishing industry. We plan to provide content from a Christian writer’s perspective and I hope that other Christian writers, like yourself, will be blessed, encouraged, and educated by what they find here. Sound good so far? Then browse around, leave a comment or two, consider guest posting about your own writing experience, and show us what you’ve learned!

Blog Attributes for GodlyWriters.com

This blog is built on WordPress and is hosted by Bluehost. I purchased the URL through Namecheap. The current theme is a highly customized version of the Genesis Theme Framework. In terms of visual design, we download most of the photos for our individual blog posts from Creation Swap and Creative Commons. Any advertising is (or will be) done primarily with Beacon Ad NetworkAmazon AssociatesE-junkie, and Google AdSense.

Advertising Disclaimer

Please note that some of the links in this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item, an affiliate commission will likely be paid to the owner of this website. We are disclosing this affiliate structure in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  (See also 16 CFR, Part 255)

General Disclaimer

This is a general blog about writing for the Christian reader. I’m (Charles Specht) just a Christian guy writing about the world of writing. I’m not a literary agent, a publisher, a professional editor, or an attorney. The information provided herein is on an “as-is” basis. Although I try to verify all details, statistics, and other information provided, I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. I will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

Internet Privacy

I believe that privacy is deserved, not earned. If you have questions about this site’s tracking of your usage, please visit our Privacy Policy page.

Copyright Policy

With the exception of “guest posts” written by others, I solely own the content on this website. It is copyrighted in my name.

Image credit: Caro Wallis (Creative Commons)
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  • D

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience.  I believe that you will enjoy the support from the writing community as you move towards a platform.  And on that note, I bet you’re excited about Michael Hyatt’s new book (I know I am).  I think you might also enjoy Michael Nichols – Grow on Purpose.  I believe he and MHyatt both have enjoyed tremendous help from Building Champions – Daniel Harkavy.  I look forward to hearing/reading more!  Best wishes, don’t forget that our timing may be different than God’s timing.

    • Hey, thanks, D.  Yes, I’m thinking about getting Michael’s new book on Platform. I suspect it will be a wealth of great information.  I’m working on my platform all the time.  It is a constant work in progress, as you probably already know.

      Have you written a book yourself?

  • Megan

    Hi Charles,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives one a lot to think about. I am getting close to finishing a book and it does seem overwhelming, especially since I don’t have much of a platform either. I will be glad to learn the wisdom you share here. BTW, what is the news on your book? Have you found a publisher yet?

    • Hello Megan! I’m glad to hear that you’re almost there with your book. Keep going, don’t stop! It will be worth it.

      I have signed a publishing contract with Ellechor Publishing. Actually, I’m hoping to put the finishing touches on my footnotes tonight and then send it over to them. Looking to have it published in Spring 2013.

      I plan to write an article about it next week, for sure.

      What is your book about?

      • Megan

        My book is not technically a devotional but focuses on some of David’s beloved Psalms and a person from Christian history who exemplified a portion of it in some way. It is for YA audience. It focuses on people throughout church history. It has a 2 verse selection from the Psalm, tells about the person, ends with a prayer and a relevant quote from that person.

        • That’s great stuff, Megan. Keep writing and don’t stop. Let us know when it’s all done, will you? God bless!

  • So glad that you followed me on Twitter and I followed you over here! I’m in a similar boat to where you were … I’m actually in the process of working my way through that very list of agents from Michael Hyatt’s blog :). Thanks for sharing from your experience and providing guidance too!

    • Welcome to GodlyWriters.com, Amy!

      I’m glad you could learn a thing or two about my journey, and hopefully you’ll have better success than I did. That’s why I created this website…so that it would help other writers, like you!

  • I had a very similar experience with the Christian publishing industry regarding my completed manuscript, and starting a blog in response to it… At least I know I am not alone in my woes…

    I just released my first book, and I am thankful for the journey God has taken me down despite the struggle it has been.

    Thanks for sharing you story!

    • That’s great you started the blog because of it. It is slightly therapeutic and it helps you to learn. At least that’s what happened to me.

      Keep up the good work and don’t stop writing!

  • Phil Landry

    Thank you so much for doing this.

  • Mrs. V

    I’m praying for direction with my writing and trying to be patient with the publishing process. Seems like an endless uphill battle.

  • KB

    I am just out of high school and my dream is to get a book published. I have everything I am going to write about and on my year off I plan to work a job, and in my free time, write. But my main concern is if this publishing thing is hard, is it worth sacrificing my time? Do you regret pursuing to be an author? Writing is my passion and it is what makes me the happiest, but can I make a living off of it? or should I pursue a “plan B” career while also pursuing my book and trying to get it published? I really would like some opinions and advise ,from some experienced authors, on my predicament. Thanks, KB

  • SAS

    I use to be a retail manager and have never been one that likes to write. I’ve been very blessed to been able to stay at home with our children from the time that they were born.They are in middle school and high school now and I am starting to think about what I should do with the second half of my life. As I have started to pray about this….. God laid on my heart and almost said in a LOUD voice to write a book. I have ignored this for over a year. So one day on my way to church three months ago, I said “Lord if you want me to really write a book send me a sign today at church.” Now I know that God doesn’t always respond to our demands like this. But I was brought to tears in the sermon as it was clear as day my sign from God was there. For awhile I was like, that didn’t really happen did it? But He has kept confirming this for the last 3 months as He has giving me a laid out plan to follow so far. No, I’ve not even started the book. First, He took me through a month of fasting, then a 37 day devotion laid out by God Himself and 4 days ago He has just given me the next 30 days of learning how to hear, digest, live, mediate, reflect and obey God’s word. No this has nothing to do with my subject of the book. But God is wowing me by how He is taking me on a step by step journey. It has given new meaning to Psalms 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I don’t feel qualified to do this,but he keeps saying this quote to me. “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
    I totally stumbled upon your site. And God has prompted me to share the beginning of this experience with you. I honestly do not know what next month will bring, but excited to see.
    Thank you for providing a place to share this experience.
    Happy that you were able to get your book published and will be reading soon.

  • Cherubb2

    I believe the Lord has lead me to this webpage. I have been working on a book for many years but somehow I seem to get discouraged an feel like what do I really have to say. I have 60 years of lessons the Lord has taught me through my life experiences from being childhood abuse, adoption, children being kidnapped, watching drugs and alcohol steal my children, raising grandchildren and more…. I have a message of hope that I learned from the Lord as He taught me to walk close to Him.
    I hope to glean some much needed information to re-energize me again to start writing again…I have more stories since I put the pen down that I would really like to write as the Lord taught me some very powerful lessons through them. A story called ‘Chains’ which is about my handicapped son.
    I heard the whisper of God tell me to write the book several years ago and I come up with every excuse why I’m not worthy.
    Thank You in advance for encouragement and support as I continue this journey.

  • Allie55

    Thank you so much for your transparent and generous sharing of your experience as a Christian author! I am just beginning my journey and am discovering that having a passion and a calling to write is not enough. I look forward to learning more and more about your journey.

  • Allie55

    Thanks for your help and inspiraton, Charles. Since reading your blog I’ve begun working on a blog of my own. It’s pretty fun. Now if I can just get a handle on social networking maybe I can start gathering a few followers, also. Thanks again.

  • Charles, I appreciated reading your story. I’ll hang around for a little while here and try to learn from your wealth of experience. I’ve self-published a small book that I mostly give away now but my dream is a traditionally published book one day. May the Lord continue to use you and bless you in His service. Thanks again.

  • Adam Dalton

    I can understand exactly the type of situation you have described. I wrote a 30,000 word manuscript that I still consider a work in progress. It was my first attempt at writing Christian fiction and I wanted to tell a story that relayed the importance of having faith in God.

  • shareallicu

    I am writing a fiction novel and would like to write it from a Christian point-of-view, but not really sure how.