Monday, August 31, 2009

So You Want to Write a Book? Experts Offer Tips

"A lot of church leaders have a story to tell but don't know how to get it from brain and heart to paper," says Warren Bird, co-author of 21 different books, who knows something about telling a story.

"They wonder whether anyone would be interested in reading it. And they don't know how to contact publishers--or whether to go the self-publishing route."

Over the years Bird has contributed to books that total a half-million copies in print, mostly directed to church leaders. In a Web Exclusive article for Church Executive magazine for August, Bird offers advice to pastors as first-time authors. His article can be accessed under "Web Exclusive" at

He gives answers to the most common questions asked by pastors and other would-be authors: Do I need an agent? Do I need someone to help me write the book? If I write a book, how many people will read it? Should I write my book before thinking about publishers? What about self-publishing? What about making a book into an audio book, whether for download or CD or Kindle? What's a good royalty advance for a first-time author?

Bird is also research director for Leadership Network and has contributed to two recent books: "A Multi-Site Church Roadtrip" with Geoff Surratt and Greg Ligon, releasing in September, and "Unleashing the Word" with Max McLean (October release).

On the same theme of "getting published," Church Executive's August issue features the article, "It's a Revolution Out There When It Comes to Getting Published," by Stan Jantz. The co-founder of Conversant Media Group describes the state of flux in which the entire publishing industry finds itself today with the introduction of the Kindle electronic book reader and the increasing importance of Publishing on Demand technology. POD permits the printing of a single copy of a book from digital file to completion in one day for less than five dollars.

Another article for would-be authors is an interview with Cecil Murphey, author and co-author of 112 books, including The New York Times bestseller "90 Minutes in Heaven" with Don Piper. Murphey, well known in evangelical publishing circles, responds to questions about his approach to writing, doing research, and "getting started." His most recent book is about his wife's successful struggle with cancer, "When Someone You Love Has Cancer" (Harvest House, 2009).


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