Christian Self-Publishers Finally Get Some Respect

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These days, Christian self-publishing has moved from the Rodney Dangerfield era to the Aretha Franklin age. Once they couldn’t get no respect, but now self-publishers in the category are singing Aretha’s chorus and asserting themselves as an important and viable option for faith-based authors.

An emphatic illustration of that shift came this January when Jerry Jenkins, coauthor of the bestselling Left Behind series, announced that his Christian Writers Guild was launching CWG Press to help go-it-alone newcomers. A longtime critic of self-publishing for “poor writing, little editing, sloppy proofing, bad covers,” Jenkins says his about-face was prompted by an “epiphany” that, even with the training his organization provided, worthy new writers without the platform required by many traditional publishers were not securing contracts. Jenkins’s new program—which he calls “come alongside” publishing, for its integral educational and mentoring component—joins around 20 other options for aspiring faith-based writers who are bypassing traditional publishers.

Other programs—variously described as self-, co- or custom publishing, depending on the specifics of their services—range from divisions at top christian self help books houses to small businesses started by editors and marketers who used to work at those and other houses. Packages are priced from $500 to $15,000 or more, from the creation of a simple POD file to an offset print run, e-versions, and distribution and marketing support.

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