by John Ellis
Getting a book published is not easy, nor should it be. As readers, we assume that the gate-keepers (the publishers) are doing a good job of vetting the manuscripts that eventually are turned into books and then marketed to us. The publishing industry does not owe aspiring authors an ear much less a book deal. Their responsibilities are pointed towards the readers, their employees, and their employers. Because I realize that, I do not underestimate the privilege of having my book read and considered by two publishing houses. It’s rare to get a manuscript before a publication committee. However, my appreciation for the process doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the struggles and discouragements of the whole thing.
This morning, I posted on this blog the rewritten introduction for A Godless Fundamentalist (it’s linked to below). Whether or not the whole thing becomes a book and is ever published is still up in the air. Having recently received a negative response from a second publisher, I’m up against a wall, I think. That’s not to say that there isn’t a way around the wall. It’s to say, if there is, I can’t see it, yet. I do have some ideas to help find a way around the wall, though; some of them involving my friends and readers of this blog, if you are so inclined (the favor I want to ask is towards the bottom of this short post).
When I made the series private on my blog early last summer, I did so because I didn’t want to give publishers the excuse of “well, it’s already available for free.” Now, though, I think one my best options is to post the rewritten introduction in hopes that somehow, someway it sparks interest in the project as a whole. The first publisher turned it down because they don’t generally publish memoirs and their marketing department isn’t set up to market one from an author who’s completely unknown by the target audience. The second publishing house doesn’t generally publish memoirs either – same thing. That’s not to say that publishing houses don’t take risks and publish outside of their normal wheelhouse; it’s to say that an unknown like me is too big of a risk. While I continue to figure out how to contact publishers (the Christian imprints that I know of that publish memoirs only accept submissions from literary agents), I think the only thing I can do at this point it to work to increase my visibility within the Christian blogosphere and publishing world.
Right now, the most promising way forward involves Christianity Today; they have placed me in the queue of testimonies for publication. They may mean that they email me today and ask for an article. That may mean that I’m on a list of thousands that rarely gets looked at and I’ll never hear back from the testimonial’s editor. Or, it may mean that I hear back from them in a few months asking for an article. I don’t know. I do know, though, that I can’t wait around for them if I’m serious about getting the book published.
Not content to wait around, I have other irons in the fire. Lord willing, the blog Servants of Grace will be publishing my blog post “Death’s Unnatural Intrusion Into Childhood” this Wednesday (4/3). I submitted it to them for republication because I think it represents my ability as a writer and it’s a topic that will resonate with a wider audience than my specifically theological posts. I will continue to submit pieces to them as way to help further my visibility (Servants of Grace is filled with edifying articles and I’m honored to be included in their mission, even if it never helps me get a book deal – you should follow SoG regardless of my involvement). Another well-known within the reformed Christian publishing world and respected publication accepted an article pitch from me and is currently considering the article for publication in the next issue. Along these lines, I will continue to submit to websites, magazines, and blogs. However, there is a way that you can help if you don’t mind.
Below is a link to “A Godless Fundamentalist: Introduction.” If you read the first version of it, I encourage you to reread it. It has some edits that I believe expound on the heart of the book as well as cleans up the writing. If after reading it you would like to help spread the word, share it on your Facebook page and on other social media platforms you use (in fact, you don’t even have to read it to do that, if you’d like) and email it to those who you believe would benefit from it and/or enjoy it. Over the next few days and depending on how the response to the “Intro” goes, I may write a brief summation of my testimony (the rest of the book) and publish it as a blog post to help further stoke the fires of interest in the book.
Thank you for putting up with my self-promotion. And thank you for considering helping in my self-promotion as I continue to seek a book deal for A Godless Fundamentalist.
Below is the link to the Introduction. Please click, read, and then share the Introduction on social media.