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Best of the Blogs 20 May 2017

Best of the Blogs: 6 May 2017

Apologies for missing the last two Best of the Blogs posts. I had a long wifi-free weekend away with my husband, then I was at the New Zealand Christian Writers Retreat—I had a great time!

Congratulations!

INSPY Award Shortlist Announced

Congratulations to the finalists in the INSPY Awards—especially Kara Isaac, who made the shortlist in two categories with different books (Close to You in First Novel, and Can’t Help Falling in Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense). Now it’s up to the reader judges to decide! Kara’s next book, Then There Was You, is due out in June. If you like contemporary romance, you’ll love it.

ACFW Genesis Award Semi-finalists Announced

And American Christian Fiction Writers announced the Genesis Award semi-finalists—these are the names you’ll be seeing in Christian fiction in years to come.

Publishing

Updates on Tate Publishing

The Oklahoma Attorney General has filed charges against father and son Richard and Ryan Tate of Tate Publishing. This follows over 700 complaints from as far away as Europe and South Africa. The pair have been charged with extortion, embezzlement, racketeering, and extortion by threat. Further charges may follow as the investigation continues.

I’ve long been against vanity presses such as Tate, who claimed to be a traditional royalty paying publisher. Traditional royalty paying publishers do not require payments, do not offer a contract until they’ve seen a manuscript, and only publish the best manuscripts. In my experience, Tate scores 0/3 on this simple test.

If you published books or music through Tate, you can contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office to submit a complaint.

Blogging

Nick Thacker at WriteHacked shares nine tips for Writing a First Blog Post Perfectly. Actually, the tips work for any blog post—I guess the takeaway is to start as you mean to go on.

Shane Arthur at Smart Blogger teaches us How to Write Spellbinding Introductions. It’s a long post, but there are lots of nuggets to mine!

Inspiration

Karen Swallow Prior visits The Gospel Coalition to remind us that Only One Platform Will Last.

I don’t agree with everything in this blog post. Some of it I don’t even understand (I’ve never voluntarily listened to The Rolling Stones, and if I’ve ever heard “Mother’s Little Helper”, I don’t remember it and I have no idea what it’s referring to).

But there are some great quotes. Especially the last line. Check it out.

 

Best of the Blogs: 8 April 2017

Best of the Blogs from Christian Editing Services

Best of the blogs: the best posts I’ve found this week on writing, editing, and marketing your books. Plus two I wrote. In case you missed them.

Writing

Mike Duran has a new project in the works: a companion to his non-fiction book Christian Horror, this one examining Christian Science Fiction. I love shows like Star Trek, Stargate and Star Wars (see a theme, anyone?), and I’d welcome more quality science fiction that reflects Christian beliefs. What about you?

Donald Maass visits Writer Unboxed to share Casting the Spell—a new way to look at look at your opening lines and ensure they hook your reader.

James Scott Bell visits The Kill Zone blog to give us advice that’s halfway between writing and editing: Don’t Kill Your Darlings—Give Them a Fair Trial!

Editing

I guest posted at Seekerville this week, sharing steps in revising and self-editing your fiction manuscript: Creating Diamonds from Coal. The first step is putting on the pressure.

The second step is examining the stone—especially your use of point of view. I shared on Understanding Point of View here on Wednesday, and I’ll be looking at interior monologue and showing, not telling next week.

If you’re one of those readers who don’t like waiting for the end of a series, then I’ve got you covered: sign up to my mailing list via the link at Seekerville, and I’ll send you a free pdf with the full series of blog posts.

Marketing

Author newsletters. We all have one (or think we should have one). But what do we write about? In this week’s Business Musings, Kristine Kathryn Rusch discusses what she sees as the two major types of newsletter—the chatty fan newsletter and what she calls the ad circular. Which do you write?

Perhaps more important, which do you prefer to read?

By the way, if you’re interested in my author newsletter, here is the signup link: Iola Goulton Author. I email about once a quarter.

Inspiration

Kathy Harris visits the American Christian Fiction Writers blog to ask Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations? She encourages us to focus on what we have achieved, rather than on the endless to-do list we’re stressing over.

Publishing 101: The Christian Market

Publishers Operating in the Christian Market

At first, I was going to call this post ‘Christian Publishers’, but I soon realised that while some of these publishing houses are owned and operated by Christians, many are not. For example, two of the biggest names in Christian publishing, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan (respectively, publishers of the New King James and the New International Versions of the Bible) are owned by HarperCollins, one of the ‘Big Five’ of publishing, and owned by News Corp. Thomas Nelson also offer a self-publishing option, WestBow Press, managed by the notorious Author Solutions (who are owned by another ‘Big Five’ publisher, Penguin Random House).

Over the next few months, I’m going to profile some of the publishers operating in the Christian market. Some are major trade presses, publishing dozens of books a year, fiction and non-fiction. Others are small presses, publishing a handful of titles annually focused on specific genres. Some specialise in ebooks, and don’t offer print editions. Some are vanity, subsidy or co-operative presses, working with authors to publish their books for a fee. Some are reputable. Some are not.

What information is covered?

In looking at each publisher, I’ve tried to find out the information I would want to know as a fiction author needs to know in making a decision about the most appropriate publishing choice. Note that what is the best option for one person might not be the best for another.

  • How many books do they publish each year?
  • Do they publish fiction? What genres?
  • What books and authors have they published recently? Do the reviews or samples highlight any publisher issues (e.g. editing)?
  • Do they accept unsolicited submissions, or do they only accept submissions from agents?
  • Are they a Big 5 publisher, small press, vanity press or something else?
  • What services do they offer? Do they charge for these services? If so, how much?
  • What editorial and marketing support do they offer?
  • Are there any red lights?

In each case, more information will be available from the website of the respective publisher.

How did I choose the publishers to feature?

My profiles will focus on publishers of novellas or novel-length fiction. If you are interested in finding out who publishes magazines, short stories, poetry or non-fiction, I recommend you consult the latest edition of The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, which is updated annually.

This list includes:

If you seek traditional publication, then the ACFW Recognized Publisher List is a good place to start. Recognized Publishers must meet certain criteria, but meeting the criteria does not imply endorsement by ACFW (or Christian Editing Services!). The criteria are:

  1. The publisher publishes novels written from a Christian worldview in any Christian fiction genre (i.e. should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material, and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA, as determined by ACFW.)
  2. All of the publisher’s fiction is Christian, or the publisher has an imprint devoted entirely to Christian fiction (in which case only the imprint will be recognized).
  3. The author must not participate financially in the production or distribution of the book (including a requirement to buy books).
  4. The publisher must pay royalties.
  5. The publisher must have been in business at least one year, and have previously unpublished books of Christian fiction by at least two authors (other than the owners) in print over the past year. Two books must have gross sales of over $5000 each in a twelve-month period.
  6. The publisher’s books must show evidence of professional editing and cover art, and the content must reflect biblical principles.

The revenue requirement is new, and although I don’t know what has prompted it, I suspect it has to do with those small presses who were created to publish books by the owner, have expanded, but offer little in the way of marketing support. A minimum gross sales figure should help eliminate those who have no distribution networks, provide insufficient support or expect their authors to do all the selling.

 

Are you intending to submit your manuscript to a publisher? Which publishers are you considering?