It can be difficult and overwhelming for authors looking to navigate the publishing world. Most authors enlist the help of an agent, but even if you’re set on finding an agent, it doesn’t hurt for you to know the basics about the publishing world. That way you can monitor the trends and you can stay on top of industry standards. And that’s where this article on the best Christian book publishers comes in.
The world of Christian book publishers is not much different than traditional publishing world; it’s just that Christianity is the focus of the audience and the viewpoint. One of the most important things you can do to help to get your religious novel published is to target the right Christian book publishers as well as help your agent do their job.
What Are Imprints?
An imprint is similar to a brand name. Just like General Mills has brand names like “Cheerios” and “Betty Crocker,” major book publishers have imprints. When it comes to book publishers, they typically create a new “imprint” name for each separate publishing undertaking. Because of this, one publisher can have multiple imprints typically representing targeted for specific audiences or those with a specific viewpoint.
Many of the publishers listed on this page use imprints and you will encounter many others when search for publishers of Christian books. So, do a little digging. Don’t assume that just because you haven’t heard of a Christian book publisher, the same will apply to their parent company.
The Biggest Christian Book Publishers
HarperCollins Christian Publishing is the world’s largest provider of Christian material. It offers over three centuries of combined expertise as a Christian book publisher from two of the most recognized Christian publishing houses:
Thomas Nelson: Originally founded in Scotland, Thomas Nelson is a leading Christian book publisher and has been providing inspirational content for more than two centuries.
Zondervan: Originally founded in Michigan, Zondervan was acquired by HarperCollins in the 1980’s. It has continued to grow its reputation as a high-quality Christian book publisher ever since.
WestBow Press: WestBow Press is a self-publishing alliance created by HarperCollins and Authors Solutions, Inc. (ASI). It’s goal is to create a self-publishing division to find new Christian voices.
Other Christian Book Publishers
FaithWords: This was founded in 2001 and has sold more than 60 million books since then. It is the publisher for authors like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and T.D. Jakes, three prominent Christian Faith ministry leaders. They also publish fiction from bestselling authors such as Lauraine Snelling and Ted Dekker.
Bethany House: A division of Baker Publishing, Bethany House publishes high-quality Christian fiction and has done so for over five decades. Their titles include fiction and nonfiction books that are no stranger to the Christian bestseller lists.
Moody Publishers: Moody is located in Chicago, Illinois, and is a nonprofit Christian book publisher. They publish numerous bestsellers including “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “Parenting with Scripture” by Kara Durbin.
Harvest House: HH was conceived in 1974 by Bob Hawkins Sr. who wanted to “help the hurts of people.” Within two years of its founding, his five initial book titles had sold over 100,00 copies. Harvest House became one of the top ten Christian book publishers by the late 1980’s. They publish more than 150 new titles annually and carry over 1,200 backlisted titles. Their focus includes Self-help, Bible Resources, and gift and children’s books in full color.
Crosslink Publishing: This is a small, family-owned publisher, specializing in Christian Books. Their partnerships make your book available to over 30,000 wholesalers, booksellers, and retailers.
There are many more Christian book publishers in addition to the ones listed above. Below are two resources you can utilize to find additional publishers who might be interested in your project.
- Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition 2016: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published 16th Edition by Robert Lee Brewer
- Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2017: Your Comprehensive Resource for Getting Published
Find a Good Literary Agent
Of course, you will need to bridge the gap between author and publisher. And that’s where a literary agent comes in. So, to find the best agent, be sure to read our guides on the subject:
- How to Get An Agent
- US Literary Agents
- Do I Need an Agent to Publish my Book?
- Literary Agents in Los Angeles
- Literary Agents in New York
Make an impression; Know Your Market
It’s the job of a good literary agent to help you navigate the publishing world by knowing which publishers will be interested in your project and how to get it in front of the right people at the right time. Literary agents are some of the busiest people on the planet and to get your religious novel published you may want a good agent, so make it as easy as possible for them to represent you.
You only get one chance to make a good first impression. If you can’t do that within the first couple minutes that an agent takes to look at your query or book proposal, they will move on to the next manuscript in their pile. Invest the time into learning how to write a good query and put together a killer book proposal, and how to avoid common pet peeves of agents. It will be time well spent.
An agent’s job is to sell your book to a publisher. So one of the things they look for is a compelling idea, one that will catch the attention of a publisher. Does your book have that kind of hook? If so, make sure it figures prominently in your query letter and your proposal. That way the agent or publisher doesn’t have to waste time figuring it out.
Take the time to research your market and know what Christian book readers expect. It’s crucial that your book includes things that excite and inspire them. It’s also crucial that you leave out the things that will turn them off. When you have a realistic idea of who your demographic is and how many readers there are, you can highlight that for the agent to make their job of advocating for your work that much easier.
Establishing a Platform
Establish a platform well in advance of shopping that first work to Christian book publishers. Most new writers make the mistake of thinking their followers will come because they publish a book. But in fact, one of the secrets to publishing a successful book is to build your followers first. When your book launches, those followers typically boost your book sales by being your first readers and then talking about your book.
Your agent will have a much easier time selling your book to a Christian book publisher if you let them know that you have a ministry of followers online or offline. In fact, knowing that you have an established platform could mean the difference between getting a good agent and ending up in the slush pile.