Sunday, January 31, 2010

Zondervan and Baker Announce Free, Easy Alternative to the Self-Publishing Model

Authors of unsolicited manuscripts will no longer see their work returned to them with a "Thanks-but-no-thanks" letter from Christian publishers like Zondervan and Baker Publishing Group. Instead, they will receive a letter or email encouraging them to post their manuscripts, free-of-charge, on

" allows authors to quickly get valuable feedback from consumers on the relevance of their work and gain traction in the market without giving up any of their publishing rights," said Steve Sammons, Zondervan's executive vice president of Consumer Engagement. "It takes only five quick steps to get a manuscript on the site, and you start getting feedback on your manuscript quickly without the usual weeks or months of waiting and hoping." is a unique free online service that connects readers, writers and publishing professionals. It invites authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project. Visitors to the site can and will comment on these submissions ? and they personally recommend their favorites to the community. counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books ? and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

"We believe the strength of is that it allows authors, free-of-charge, the ability to get honest feedback from readers, editors and agents as to the relevance and quality of their work," said Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group. "That is why we feel the combination of features offered by will provide authors the largest audience, exposure and best potential entree into the world of publishing."

Not only will Zondervan and Baker promote the site to agents and other Christian publishers, their editors, as part of their editorial review process will track and review those books in the Christian section of that have the highest rankings and provide feedback to the authors.

" is a tremendous idea that creates a community linking writers with their readers," offers Steve Laube, president of The Steve Laube Agency. "Making it free is both revolutionary and very exciting. Where else can you get objective and instant feedback, and then use those comments and critiques to improve your work?" was created as a better way to access the best new work out there based on real customer input. Thousands of manuscripts come through publishers' door every year and is a great tool for improving an author's work and increasing his or her chances to be discovered by avid readers, editors and agents.

"I believe that is an excellent tool for the Christian publishing industry," said Sealy Yates, founder of L.A.-based agency Yates and Yates. "There certainly is a serious need for our industry to serve all those who would desire to be published authors. The current system does not provide ready access or even helpful information about how the system works. It supplies support for would-be authors, publishers and agents and is efficient and effective for all involved in the process." completely levels the playing field for a profession that heretofore was dependent on who-you-know or who-you-are. For the authors, the best part is that it is not just Baker and Zondervan looking for promising books; the site is open to other publishing houses and agents. Zondervan or Baker won't ask for a 'first option' to publish or take away any of rights of ownership, and the author can continue to submit to publishers and agents by other methods.

To learn more visit the website at: