Deciding What to Publish

Most independent authors produce and publish a book on a topic that is meaningful or important to them. The same is true for publishers. Many publish books by authors that have a platform to sell the books. However, one publishing strategy that some experts recommend is to find out what types of books people are interested in reading and then publish books for those needs. In utilizing this strategy, authors and publishers are assured of a built in audience for their books.


Recently, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) surveyed evangelical leaders about what topics they would like to see published in the next two years. In case you do not know, the NAE is a fellowship of member denominations, churches, and organizations. The organization’s goal is to “make denominations strong and effective, influence society for justice and righteousness, and gather the many voices of evangelicals together to be more effective for Jesus Christ and his cause.”

The evangelical leaders surveyed by the NAE included representatives from a broad array of evangelical organizations including churches, missions, and universities. These leaders listed interested in reading books on the following topics:

  • Missions
  • Social Action
  • Evangelism
  • Biblical Living in a Pluralistic Society
  • Multi-Ethnic Ministry
  • Discipleship

This survey shows that there is an audience seeking to read books on these subjects. This is good news, especially if you already have a book on this subject. If you have a book matching one of these topics, you can widen your marketing reach to include evangelical church and mission leaders. If you are looking for a subject, or you write books for church leaders, consider penning and publishing a book on one of these subjects.

However, before you charge ahead, let me provide one word of caution. Why would a church leader read a book you have penned or published? What authority do you have to speak on the subject? Are you a known Christian scholar or author? If you do not have specific qualifications that church leaders respect, your marketing may be for naught.

Enter endorsements. If you are serious about marketing a book to evangelical leaders, you are best served to acquire at least one endorsement by a church leader that carries some clout. Otherwise, church leaders may not think twice about reading your book.

Yes, church leaders want to read books on these subjects, but, remember, they want to read books by thoughtful, educated authors they can trust. Having an endorsement by a respected church leader opens the door for your book to be presented with confidence to evangelical leaders seeking more information on your subject matter.

Related Posts:
The Changing Publishing Landscape
Publishing Industry Trends for 2016
Publishing is Not Enough

Bookmark and Share

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Indecision: A Success Killer

You can find articles on mistakes authors and publishers should not make all over the Internet. It seems that almost everyday, I get an email with a link to another article talking about mistakes to not make if you are a publisher or an author.

EPSON scanner image

I recently read a white paper on “6 Mistakes in Publishing Today.” The paper took a look at the fact that the publishing industry has been turned upside down by new technology and market dynamics and the mistakes many publishers are making in this season of publishing. While this paper was really geared toward larger publishers, one of the mistakes listed stood out to me. I think it is a mistake that many small publishers and independently published authors make.

This mistake is indecisive leadership.

I can hear you saying, “Wait, I am the only employee of my publishing enterprise. I don’t have to worry about leadership.”

You are wrong. If you are the only employee of your publishing endeavor, then you are the leader. It is up to you to have the vision, set the direction, and make the strategic decisions necessary to ensure success of your enterprise.

Two common issues the article included under “indecisive leadership” were:

1. Choosing short term profits over long-term success.

I have seen this many times with small publishers and authors. I have often said that marketing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Those that act like it is a sprint often make decisions that maximize short term returns. Short term profits might feel good, however, focusing on short term goals almost exclusively will not ensure the success of your publishing enterprise over the long haul.

2. More words than actions.

As the saying goes, talk is cheap. It is often easier to make plans than to execute them. If you find yourself thinking more about what you should do to market your books, then actually doing those things, take note. Success follows action. Don’t let fear of failure or indecision about which course of action is the best keep you from executing a plan. Pray over your plan. Then move forward. Trust that God will lead you.

All decision involves risk. In your leadership of yourself and your enterprise, I encourage you to strive to create a clear plan of action and balance short and long term considerations for your publishing endeavor.

A New Work

Do you feel that God is calling you to do something new?

I recently had the privilege of being a guest on the God in The Midst radio show during the month of July. The host asked me to share with the audience a message that God had laid on my heart. You can listen to the entire message at this link: God In The Midst.


I shared with God in The Midst’s audience that God has prepared good works for us to do long before we were born (Romans 8:10). When the time is right, God calls us to do these works. We will know that God is asking us to do one of the good works he has prepared for us because it will be outside of our comfort zone, and we will not feel equal to the task.

Looking at God’s call to Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey as recorded in Exodus 3 and 4, I shared the following points about when God calls us to do a work he has prepared for us to do.

  1. God does not command us, he invites us to do the work he has for us. God says to Moses, “Come, I will send you…”
  2. We will not feel equal to the task. Moses’ response to God was “Who am I” that I should go and do this thing.
  3. We will feel scared. When God calls us to do something new that is out of our comfort zone, it feels like more than we are capable of doing. We will be scared and we may even find an excuse not to do the task like Moses did. Moses told God that he was not eloquent but slow of speech and tongue.
  4. God promises us that we will not have to do the task in our own strength. Not only will God be with us, his power will also accompany us. He reassures us that he created us to do the thing he is asking us to do. Just as he told Moses that he would be his mouth and he would teach him to speak.
  5. God will send others to help us. God sent Moses’ brother Aaron to help him. He, too, will send people your way to help you do the task he is calling you to do. People to support you. People to encourage you. People to help you.

Is God calling you to a new work today? Maybe he is calling you to write or publish in a new genre. Maybe he is calling you to start a publishing company. Maybe he is calling you to start a new ministry.

Whatever God is calling you to do, be encouraged. God has prepared you for this task. You will not have to do it in your own strength alone. He will be with you and he will send others to help and support you in the work.

Bookmark and Share

The Changing Publishing Landscape

Recent industry news shows that the publishing industry is undergoing a huge shift. The Christian book market’s news this summer included:

  1. ChristianTrade Association International closed its doors in June.
  2. CBA has ended Christian Store Week, a program designed to drive traffic to Christian bookstores.
  3. News that RBTE (Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit – largely for the liturgical crowd) is “struggling” to go on.


The industry is changing. Book publishing and marketing today barely resembles what it was a decade ago. Many things have changed.

Print no longer dominates the landscape.

  • eBooks are taking up a larger and larger percent of book sales (about 25% currently).
  • 70% of consumers reported that online consumer reviews were the second most trusted source of information for purchasing decisions.

Brick-and-mortar stores are no longer the number one seller of books.

  • In 2012, for the first time, online retail stores sold more books than brick-and-mortar retail stores in the United States. Last year, 43.8% of books bought by consumers were purchased online, while only 31.6% of books were purchased in large retail chains, independent bookstores, other mass merchandisers, and supermarkets.
  • Over a quarter of all books purchased are bought on, accounting for 30% of all book dollars spent.
  • With increasing Internet connectedness and decreasing physical bookstore browsing, the way people discover books is shifting. As recently as two years ago, one-third of new books were discovered in physical bookstores. Now, that number has shrunk to one-fifth.

Self-publishing is becoming mainstream.

  • The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and digital titles, according Bowker® Books In Print.
  •  Amazon’s CreateSpace was the largest player in the self-publishing space last year, publishing around 60,000 titles.
  •  Self-published titles are beginning to dominate the ebook bestseller lists. For example, five of the 10 ebook bestseller titles for April 2013 as compiled by Digital Book World were self-published titles.

The publishing world is changing. This is good news for independent authors and small publishers. The whole process of publishing and selling books from the entry point to publishing a book to marketing that book has become within reach of almost anyone. Of course, with more books available, the hardest work now is getting your books noticed.

Bookmark and Share

Paper Because

Predictions are that eventually our world will be digital only. Paper will be extinct or at least an endangered species.

As more and more information, including books, are moving to the digital realm, companies that are based on paper – paper makers, printers, etc. – have had declining sales. To combat this, the paper industry has launched a publicity campaign called “Paper Because“.

If you are an old school paper lover (like myself) you will find this “Paper Because” video humorous. It is just one of many “Paper Because” videos that the paper industry has recently produced. You can view more of these on YouTube.

Bookmark and Share