To engage with this article, go to Seriously Write.
This Labor Day weekend I’m going to be controversial. I encourage you to follow God’s leading for your writing career, even if it deviates from the expectations of others and even if others don’t understand your path. Keep your eyes on the Lord and walk in the way He leads you. Great. Nothing controversial, so far. Keep reading.
Recently, many writers received an email informing us that certainly we hoped for a publishing contract with a Christian publishing house and that the pitch and query methods for sale by the sender would get us there. The opening assumption was flawed.
Back in the days before the entire publishing world underwent drastic changes and the Christian publishing industry almost collapsed entirely, that assumption was probably true. But then bad things happened. For those of us who were in the door, yet not signed, who had manuscripts before review committees of major houses, whose manuscripts were with agents, or whose writing was headed toward publishers we’d just connected with at conferences, the bottom fell out of our world.
We were good enough. We were in. But the industry folded upon itself.
During that time, many of us were also treated poorly. At a final conference founded by a big-name writer, he chastised the entire Christian publishing industry for its treatment of writers. Many of us were bruised. Unethical events occurred, wrecking our work or failing us professionally.
We walked away, and we do not want to go back. We published open market. We became publishers and/or editors ourselves. We followed the path the Lord showed us, and we continue down that path.
If you squeaked in during that collapse, I’m truly happy for you. God is sovereign, and He still works miracles. His leading got you in the door. Follow that leading.
But what about the wounded? And what if you’re a new writer?
Times have changed.
There are many more options now. Some of the old houses have rebounded, though many (most?) Christian houses are now owned and managed by large open market publishers. However, because of that crash, good has resulted – more opportunities for authors.
Authors can pursue traditional publishing, but we can also pursue indie publishing right from the start, if that is where God leads us. On top of that, we can work with a publisher and yet maintain control as a “hybrid” author purchasing services cafeteria style.
Publishers Weekly even has an indie publishing company newly opening. Then there’s Amazon, a one-stop shop for all our publishing needs. And, with the help of Reedsy, we can find any type of independent contract help we need.
To produce quality work for the marketplace, authors can easily find beta readers, line editors, content editors, copy editors, book designers, and cover designers. There are no limits, other than our skill as writers and our bank accounts, and for that a Kickstarter campaign or a well-supported Patreon account can help.
So, I encourage you to follow the path of creativity where God leads. Creativity is a gift from God. Each one of us is a unique creator. Sometimes the Lord uses calamity to guide us. Other times He uses abundance. Follow Him.
Don’t feel stymied or lacking if you go down the path others least expect. Ignore the people who chastise or shame Christian writers who have gone indie.
We live in a wonderful age. It’s almost as if the printing press has been re-invented. The Lord gives us each unique stories for unique markets. Only He knows how to get our work where it needs to go. Trust His leading.
How do you see the Lord leading you on your writing journey?