Small Commercial Publishers
Discouraged by the daunting task of seeking publication with a major publishing house, but not ready to resort to self-publishing? Many small traditional publishers are open to new writers, accept unagented submissions, create attractive book covers, market the books they publish, and pay real royalties … without charging authors anything.
You can find these publishers in a market guide (such as The Christian Writer’s Market Guide). Be sure to get the most recent edition—or sign up for a subscription to an electronic version that is continuously updated and available online. (See https://christianwritersmarketguide.com/.)
You can also meet acquisitions editors from small presses at some writers’ conferences (such as Mount Hermon and the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference).
Be sure to study and follow the publisher’s writers’ guidelines before submitting.
Also, before sending anything to any publisher (traditional or subsidy), get your work professionally edited and proofread. Remember, many other authors who are pitching to those publishers will be doing this … and that’s your competition! (Contact me if you’re interested in a quote on my editing services. Or visit the Christian Editor Connection for more options.)
If you’ve worked with a small traditional publisher, I’d love to hear about your experiences and get your suggestions and advice. If your dealings with a publisher were positive, I may add that company to my recommended list and possibly invite them to serve on faculty at one of the conferences I direct.
If you are a reputable small press, please feel free to share details about your company (and a link to your website).
September 4, 2017 @ 10:28 am
Hi Kathy. I was deeply blessed to hear about Leafwood Publishers/ACU Press through a friend at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Leafwood/ACU is a long established traditional small publishing house. They have an academic division (ACU), which publishes commentaries and Christian textbooks, and a non-fiction division (Leafwood), which publishes Bible studies and Christian living books. I submitted my proposal for a series of Bible studies (after being professionally edited by you 😉 and I do not have an agent. I’ve worked with Leafwood for 11 months now and could not be more pleased. The entire team is highly skilled, professional, kind, and godly. The relationship has been entirely collaborative, which is a tremendous blessing. They care about what I think, but also know when to take control of the reigns. I did reach out to an agent in the beginning and hired the agent for a reasonable one-time fixed fee to review the contract. The agent was familiar with the publisher and commented that their contracts were good and fair overall. Nevertheless, with the agent’s guidance, I was still able to negotiate a slightly higher royalty than the original offer. The first study in the series, HAGAR: Rediscovering the God Who Sees Me, a 7-week in-depth Bible study, will be released on 10/10/17. An additional note to writers of Bible studies: please keep in mind that the publisher does expect Bible teachers to have proper credentials (in my case, I have a Masters in Biblical and Theological studies from Western Seminary). I am truly delighted to be working with Leafwood and, Lord willing, hope we will work together on the next study in the series. – Shadia Hrichi
September 9, 2017 @ 1:59 pm
Thanks so much for sharing this story about Leafwood Publishers/ACU Press and your wonderful Bible study, Shadia!
September 12, 2017 @ 1:53 pm
I met my small traditional publisher, Mountain Brook Ink, at a writer’s conference. The owner, Miralee Ferrell, is a multi-published best selling author and does a lot of the editing. When she asked for my book, I submitted it in November 2016 and it was published in July 2017. The second book follows in March of next year. The third will be available October 1. Though this sounds like a whirlwind affair, I have been very pleased with the time given to my manuscripts. I had to write some sections over and was encouraged throughout the process. When I disliked some of the changes I was allowed input. All in all it has been a pleasant and satisfying experience.