Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inkwell Interjects

I know I just criticized the Christians yesterday, but this little bit of b.s. was just too insane to pass up. Self-publishing magnets, Xlibris, recently put out a press release listing 5 Tips for Successfully Publishing a Christian Book. The tips range from the ultra-obvious to the Jesus-Christ-why-am-I-even-reading-this?! ridiculous. In lieu of posting a Book News full of layoffs and bankruptcy notices, I decided to reprint it below, adding my own antagonistic interjections where applicable.

Successfully Publishing a Christian Book

Christian books are written for a specific purpose, for a specific audience. Knowing how to go about it will ensure your success in publishing a book on Christianity.

Writing a book that caters to a particular audience – like the Christian community – is a direction taken by a writer to ascertain that they have applied not just a holistic approach towards successful distribution but also targeting it to the right market. The best part about writing a Christian book is getting them published and seeing it make a difference in readers’ lives. The following guidelines will help you along the way when writing your Christian book.

First, try to conceptualize the kind of book you are writing. Penning a Christian book does not mean you can just babble off religion like it is daily fodder for the rumor mill. Christianity basically means living a life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and holding true to the Christian faith. If you are to write a book with these essential elements, then you are already headed in the right path. Your book will be as lively as it is entertaining; inspiring as it is educating.

Inkwell interjects: In other words, if you're going to write a quote/unquote "Christian book," make sure it's about either Christ or Christianity. Thanks for the clarification, Xlibris!

Second, your interaction with the Christian community adds to the foundation of your Christian values. Living the Christian lifestyle will always give you credibility as an author of a book on Christianity. However, communicating with a community of fellow believers will provide you with more knowledge and information on the Christian life that will be valuable for your written work. The truths that you glean from others will strengthen your book’s trustworthiness. Anecdotes will also give your book a personal touch as do quotes from real people.

Inkwell interjects: My, these motherf**kers are wordy. Perhaps it's because they charge by the page for their publishing services and are trying to set an expensive precedent for their potential customers? Anyway, here's the CliffsNotes version: 'Practice what you preach' was good enough for the original Christ, but for his biographers, that's simply not going to cut it. To steal a page from the Jews (Hey, they stole Jesus!), better you should schmooze.

Third, pray. Ask for guidance, focus and inspiration. If you are writing a book on divine matters, then you are going to need divine inspiration. Once you receive direction and guidance for your book, you can then begin your outline.

Inkwell interjects: Pray for 'divine inspiration'? Priceless! Oh, and your editor's gonna love this, too. As your completed manuscript will be, in effect, The Word of God, they won't have to fix a thing. (And if they try? You know they're doing the Devil's work.)

Fourth, be resourceful. Do not just rely on the Internet to help you with your content. Books about Christianity from published authors also are good content aids. Organize your materials and set a writing schedule. Add flavor by placing in your own experience with Jesus Christ – nothing beats personal encounters with the Lord in conveying your message to your audience. A detailed but not too lengthy testimonial will help you connect with your readers more.

Inkwell interjects: Yes, simply copying information from other sources may not be enough when writing your own book. You may have to resort to -- gasp! -- using your own ideas and experiences. (Of course, this would seem to contradict the 'waiting for divine inspiration' mentioned in tip 3, but whatever...)

Fifth, find a publisher. Once your manuscript is all set, search for a publisher and comply with their submission guidelines. Make sure they have services that will help you target your book to the right audience.

With these guidelines, you are well on the way to a becoming a successful author of a Christian book.

Inkwell interjects: Wait, what? "Find a publisher"? Isn't that supposed to be a pretty tough thing to do? I mean, why would they be on a self-publishing website if finding a publisher seemed in any way possible?

(Prays, waits, prays again.)

Ohhh. I get it, Xlibris. You're just testing their faith.