by Peter Leavell, @PeterLeavell
Oh, how I love everything about the publishing business!
But lately, there’s been so much banter about publishing lately, specifically Christian publishing, my compass seems to have added up and down to the cardinal four.
I’ve learned, since hitting the market a few years ago and striking gold, that the author is her or his own business, and that the author’s business must pair up with a publisher, another business, which will best sell the product.
There’s nothing mystical, no magic, it’s just hard work and business. No good or bad, no inspiration, no better market, just publishing and books. Having a Christian label or General Market label is just a label many businesses put on the books.
The sooner an author, or aspiring author, demystifies the entire process, the less emotional toll this is on the heart. Writing is rough enough as it is.
To reiterate, the author IS a business. That means the author does the branding, business plan, budgets, etc… you know, all the stuff authors are generally pretty much terrible with.
So, authors, work what you can control (your product), partner with what company works best (Christian market, general market, self, etc), get help where you want or can get (it takes money, capital, like any business), and steer your writing career by the stars that God gives you.
For me, my brand is my passion—history and literature. I’m no genius, just a hard worker. I have an online book club, history posts on Facebook, I blog on two novel sites, and write features for ACFW—I landed those opportunities by consistently keeping myself open to helping other authors (businesses) in the industry and found myself in the right place at the right time—time and time again. Continual research and study and discussing things with anyone who will talk to me in the industry is key, as well as consumers, and now readers that I chat with are showing less interest in Christian fiction and more interest in high Theology and Philosophy, so I’m reading those books in hopes those ideas will appear naturally in my work. I read nonstop—by May, I’ve read 30 books of all sorts of genres. I found a great opportunity to publish my western series with Mountain view , and have several agents I’ve talked to for projects I have in mind that, and when the manuscripts are finished, I’ll fire them off to them because I’ve done the work to see what the agents represent (read the books they’ve sold to what businesses). I hire editors for my work (except the last novel, because we were rushed to get to print). I know which publishers are out there, what they like to publish, and I subscribe to industry news so that I know names of acquisition editors and movements in the industry.
I’ve demystified the process of publishing. I think you should, too. *warning. Novel writing, putting words on paper, or inspiration, is so transcendent that there is an entire category of how-to-write books right next to religion.
Oh my goodness, I love this stuff.
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com