Christian self publishing is a process that many Christian writers consider at some point or another. I know about this industry personally as I've published a book in this format. Well, technically it wasn't a traditional self-publishing arrangement, but it was pretty close. If you're curious about how this process works, I'll outline my experience here for you so that you can decide whether it's the right path for you.
When you go send your manuscript to traditional publishers and start to get rejected or simply don't receive any responses, you start to look at other options. With self-publishing, you pay a certain amount of money to have a book printed up professionally. Many of the companies that offer this service offer cover design services and other perks along the way.
Some companies wouldn't fall into the Christian self publishing category, but are very close. They offer a little bit more help and try to sell your book to distributors and other book sellers as part of the deal. The downside is that you stil have to pay a little something to get the book printed. This is the route I took.
Tate Publishing is one of the leading publishers and Christian book distributors in the market. You don't have to write a Christian book to be considered for publication, but you can't really write anything that goes against Christianity, which I like.
With Tate Publishing, you submit your book for consideration and then if it passes their evaluation process, they offer you a deal. You put up a certain amount of money to have your book printed. The company has editors, designers, layout professionals and a printing facility. You submit your book and it is assigned a specific editor. The editor gives you some suggestions about how to improve the writing as you go.
Then you work with a designer who comes up with a few cover designs for you to choose from. After you choose the cover, the book goes through some other processes before finally being printed up. At that point, you are assigned a marketing rep. The marketing rep calls book stores in your area to set up book signings for you to appear at. You then go to the book signings and try to sell books in your area. You get a cut from all the book sales. Sales that go through distribution give you less than sales you make yourself.
Working with Tate Publishing or other similar companies has some pros and cons for writers to consider. One of the advantages is that you get to work with professional editors and designers to make your book as good as it can be. Another advantage is that they have relationships with book distributors to help get your books in some stores. It's not going to be in every store across the country or in wal-Mart, but it will be in some stores. They also do really work hard to try to set up book signings and events for you to appear at.
The drawback is that it's not really like a traditional book deal that a major author would get. You have to pay money upfront, which is a big risk for you. Only a select few authors ever sell enough books to make back their initial investment. It's not really an arrangement that will make most authors a lot of money. If you are already a celebrity or you have some name recognition in your area, this could be a valuable method to use.
Another drawback is that the book signings aren't really much to get excited about. You basically get a table and a position near the front door. Unless you make your own sign or do something special, it's kind of awkward. You basically have to initiate conversations with people who are just there to shop around and hope someone buys a book so you don't look like a complete loser.
Christian self publishing is an option that probably shouldn't be pursued with hopes of making millions of dollars. If you want to create something to share with your family and friends, it's definitely something to consider. With options like Tate Publishing, you have a better shot of making money, but it's still a gamble.
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