Saturday, May 14, 2011

Submitting Christian Fiction For Publication

A question appeared on my guestbook comments and I answered the reader, but I wanted to share this with you, especially if you write Christian fiction.  As you know, this is my genre although I did write secular fiction early in my career. Though the whole idea of writing a good book is exactly the same, guidelines vary, but I thought this response to the reader/writer's question might answer some of your questions.

The reader said: I have written three historical romances and would like your suggestsion on how to submit.

Gail's response:
That's a big question and it's covered in detail in my book Writing the Christian Romance. Check your library or it is available on You can also click the link on this page and it will take you to view the book.

Basically, if you want publishers who will get your books into stores and distribute them around the country and even to foreign countries, you need an agent. This means you need to find Christian agents and submit to them. You can find a good list of them on the ACFW site: Look under conference information and then agents. All of the agents listed are approved as legitimate Christian fiction agents. There are many scammers out there. Don't pay a penny to anyone who claims to be an agent. A true agent earns money by selling your novel. The others earns money by telling you that they will try to sell your novel -- but they don't bother.

Very few houses accept without an agent. Love Inspired Historicals do, but that is category romance so the stories are shorter than the long romances and have very specific guidelines to follow.

Knowing publishers guidelines is important. The length of a novel and knowing what makes a great novel is something you need to study if you haven't already. Attending quality Christian conferences where you have access to workshops, agents and editors is helpful. Working with critique groups is great because you get feedback from people who are also writing and hopefully know the difficult rules of writing fiction. Most people don't sell their first novels because they haven't learned the techniques and skill of writing quality books. The competition is high.

Many people give up and self-publish, but that is often a losing game, because no one sells , markets or distributes your books. They will list them online but that doesn't sell books. There are millions of books listed online. You have to hand sell self-published books which is time-consuming and difficult. Digital is another road -- but that takes a miracle to make any money. I have over 3 million books in print and my royalties from a digital novel is negligable. I'm sure that will grow in time as Kindles and other readers become more popular.

To summarize, you need an agent and it's important to understand what Christian publishers will accept and what they won't. You can find that in my book that I mentioned also -- or you might find it in any newer published books on writing Christian fiction. I may have a little of that on my website under For Readers. Check the articles and FAQs.

For Christian Fiction Writers:
If you write Christian fiction, take a look at our upcoming conference and our organization. I've known so many unpublished authors who joined us are now selling to the big Christian publishers and historicals are in demand. Both the organization and the conference has so much to offer. The organization has free classes, critique groups, marketing info and topics of the week, networking and access to archives on a multitude of research and writing topics. The conference opens the door for you to meet with agents and editors who are often be willing to look at your novel, and some of us serve as mentors where you can have a 15 minute appointment with published authors and have them look at your work or offer advice. All of this is covered under the cost of the conference. Our cconference is ususally the third weekend in September and the location varies around the country.


Jillian said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us, Gail. I really appreciate it and I'm sure others do as well.

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

Thanks, Jillian. As I said, this info is more complete in my book Writing Christian Romace from Writers Digest but I tried to give a good summary.

Sclew said...

Thanks, Gail. This is another great and helpful post. You are a terrific writer and teacher! I appreciate that you take time to share with all of us.

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

Sciew - Thanks so much. I'm happy to share what I know. Blessings.


Mel said...

Thank you for sharing your information and knowledge! This was very helpful! I look forward to reading more :)

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