Welcome to Godly Writers, the beginner’s guide for Christian writers!
You see, I finished writing a book on how to figure out God’s Will for your life and–for me–this is the next step in the slippery process of figuring out how to get that thing 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.
Oh yeah, and I’m looking for a few thousand people to come alongside me as I wade through the refreshing waters known as the Christian publishing industry. Want to join our tribe? Contact us.
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 continue to pray it will one day soon become a published book.
Like most aspiring authors out there, I’m a newbie when it comes to the Christian publishing industry and so I want to learn about how this whole thing works. So here we are.
What I Tried Doing First
After completing my manuscript in June 2011, I went to Michael Hyatt’s website, downloaded his list of recommended 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. And then I waited some more. And a bit more. Finally, I received an email that went something like 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.
Huh? What does that mean? Then I got another 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:
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 represent your work.
Wait a minute. Two months? Yep, two months—at least. One even had the audacity to suggest a wait closer to six months!
Although most of the 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.
The Art Of The Rejection Letter
Shortly after similar letters began showing up, something unimaginable happened. It was quite unexpected. And hurtful.
Apparently a few agents out there can’t spot literary perfection when it so plainly stares back at them after landing in their inbox. You see, I actually started receiving rejection letters. Imagine that.
Here’s an example of 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 favorites:
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 pastor a megachurch first? Wow! Apparently, getting a book published will 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 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. The good times and the bad, if you will.
But others 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.
Much like Jeff Goins is also trying to do, we want to find out the answers to questions like:
- How do successful [Christian] writers make a living?
- What does it really take to get published [as a Christian writer]?
- When is it okay to pursue your passion?
- Why do [Christian] writers write?
- How do you succeed at the creative life without going crazy?
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 customized version of the Genesis Theme Framework. (Interested in a writer’s website or blog like this one? Email me.)
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 Network, Amazon Associates, E-junkie, and Google AdSense.
Hey, listen up! Some of the links in this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item, I (or someone else) will likely receive an affiliate commission. It’s how I plan to fund this little online endeavor. Now pull out your credit card and start clicking away. I am 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)
This is a general blog about writing for the Christian reader. I’m just a Christian guy writing about the world of writing. I’m not a literary agent, a publisher, or even an editor. And I’m certainly not an attorney! I don’t know much, so take what you find here for what it’s worth. You’ve been forewarned.
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. Got it?
With the exception of “guest posts” written by others, I solely own the content on this website. It is copyrighted in my name. Write your own stuff! LOL.
Image credit: Caro Wallis (Creative Commons)