Today I’m thrilled to review Independent Publishing for Christian Authors: A Guide to the Why, When, and How for Writers, the newest (independently published!) book by Ed Cyzewski. Most of you here know Ed. He’s an author, contemplative, writing coach, and the founder of The Contemplative Writer. Geared toward Christian authors, Ed’s new book explores the ins and outs of commercial and independent publishing. The book grew out of Ed’s conversations with writers, who often ask him just which publishing path they should pursue.
Ed’s book is a wonderful combination of facts, practical tips, and spiritual guidance. At the heart of the book is a series of chapters weighing the pros and cons of commercial versus independent publishing. The title of the book makes it clear which path Ed prefers, but his goal is to lay out all the facts — the benefits and drawbacks of each process — so that writers can make the best decision for their own work and life.
Ed also guides writers through the steps they will need to take if they decide to publish their books independently.
For me, a really helpful section of the book is in chapter two, where Ed outlines a possible career trajectory for a new writer. He shows how a writer might begin with blog posts and from there start writing short eBooks and, later on, print versions of these books. From there, the writer can decide whether to continue in independent publishing or to try a commercial publisher. I really like this organic model of career growth, and I appreciated seeing it laid out step by step. Are you a new(ish) writer? Read this section of Ed’s book!
These practical guidelines are invaluable. But what makes Ed’s book shine is the spiritual guidance. It’s possible that a reader could get some of the facts about publishing from other books, blog posts, and articles. But here’s what you won’t get anywhere else — mentoring on the spiritual implications of publishing your book. Over and over, Ed reminds his readers to separate their writing ministry from the business of getting published. Here’s what he says about his own work:
If my mission is to help people pray better rather than hitting a particular sales goal, I have a very clear idea of what “success” looks like and the steps I should take. My goal isn’t necessarily to find the authors with the most influence, the social media users with the most followers, the podcast with the most listeners, or the blogs with the most readers. My goal is to find people who share my vision and goals who will partner in helping me minister to those who need help with prayer.
It can be a lifesaver, Ed says, to get some clarity about your mission and why you want to write and publish in the first place. This will also help you decide which publishing path to take.
Ed also has some hard questions for his readers. In your desire to be published, have you lost sight of your mission and ministry? Are you serving your ministry or serving a publisher’s demands? Is this the publishing career you wanted? I’d rather not be asked and have to think about these questions, but I know I need to. Maybe you do, too?
Facts and guidelines + spiritual guidance = a great book on publishing. Writers, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. Let it be well with your publishing soul. You can find Ed’s book on Amazon.
Ed Cyzewski is the author of Flee, Be Silent, Pray and A Christian Survival Guide. His books on writing include Write without Crushing Your Soul, Pray, Write, Grow, and The Contemplative Writer. He writes regularly at http://www.edcyzewski.com. He has spoken about independent publishing at the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference.
When he’s not publishing books, he works as an editor, author coach, writer for online magazines, and blogger for small and medium-sized businesses.