Inquiring Minds Want to Know

As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association, I receive a number of emails every week both from wannabe authors asking for assistance in getting a book published as well as from self-published authors.

I try to answer each and every legitimate question that comes to me via email. I believe that as a servant of Jesus Christ, it is my responsibility to respond sincerely to each person God brings across my path (even a virtual path). Sometimes I give advice, but mostly I try to point people in the right direction to obtain the information they need.

However, it never ceases to amaze me how people with the self-determination and discipline to pen a whole book can be so clueless in their questions.

As a public service and an attempt to preempt future emails of this sort, I am presenting you with some samples of what I am talking about.

1. This question came addressed to cspa@christianpublishers.net.

“I am an author of a Christian book and would like some information regarding your website address and membership.”

Here’s a hint. Generally if an email address ends with a URL sounding name, like christianpublishers.net, then that is the website address. Try it first before sending an email. Who knows, you might even find the “Benefits of Membership” page listing all the pertinent membership information.

2.  This one was addressed to me from my book’s website at Marketing Christian Books.

“I am a Christian author. I want to get my books out there!  Give me a call please.”

Does this person think that I have all day to sit around and dispense free advice via the telephone? My website clearly states that I offer consultation phone calls for a fee. I will respond to emails requesting this service, but I won’t take my time to call and dispense free advice.

I once had a women call me for this type of advice. I answered one of her questions and then told her that I did not give free advice over the phone, that she could purchase my book or book me for a consultation. After I hung up, the women had the gumption to call me back to ask another question (which I did not answer).

3.  This type of question I get frequently even though Christian Small Publishers Association does not publish books, nor do we list anything about book publishing on our website.

“I AM INTERESTED IN INFO ON STARTING A BOOK PROJECT. MY WIFE HAS AN AWESOME TESTIMONY THAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE IN A BOOK TO SHARE WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST. THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE.”

You’re shouting. Next time, please don’t write in all CAPS. It does nothing to grab my attention.

I get this type of question so frequently, I finally uploaded an audio of a seminar I did on “The Ins and Outs of Publishing a Book” that I can point people to who want that type of information.

4.  Here is one from a book publisher who is not a member of Christian Small Publishers Association.

“I just have a quick book publishing question.  Do you know of any print on demand service like Lulu that will let you print in what I would call “gift book” sizes such as 6.25 X 6.25 or 6.25 X 7.25?”

I am always happy and willing to answer questions like this, to the best of my ability, from member publishers of Christian Small Publishers Association. After all, that is one reason people join an association, to obtain the information they need to be successful.

However, this person was not a member publisher of CSPA. So, why is he asking me this question? I suggest he join a publishing forum to ask these types of questions. I have a list of publishing discussion groups in the first chapter of my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The first chapter is offered as a free PDF on the book’s website here.

Now, please don’t test my statement that I respond to every legitimate question I get via email (there are only 24 hours in a day). Instead, please post your question in the comments section below.


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3 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want to Know

  1. Sarah,

    Great post. Thank you for the chuckle of commiseration. I’m not even a self-publishing association and I get the questions. Here are a few real questions, and unreal answers (the ones I wish I’d given instead of sighing and answering…again!):

    –How do I get self-published? (Uh, same way you get self-motivated.)
    –I sent you a story by my 15 year-old daughter. She is very gifted. I think you’d like to publish it. (“Thank you.” even though it’s a badly-written, 50-page homeschooling history paper.)
    –What is POD? (It’s a search term in Google.)
    –Please tell me how to find a publisher for my son’s fantasy book. (Find a new fantasy.)

    Sigh. Gotta love ‘em.

  2. Clay, Thanks for sharing. Those are great and provided me with a few chuckles!

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