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Thread: Guest Editor: Charlene Patterson visiting Sept. 27-29!

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW
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    Do writers need to submit through a agent to Bethany House?

  2. #27
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77
    Do writers need to submit through an agent to Bethany House?
    I'm lifting this directly from our writers' guidelines posted on our Web site.

    Bethany House Publishers is no longer able to accept unsolicited manuscripts, proposals or queries by mail, telephone or e-mail. We will consider one-page only queries sent by fax to 952-996-1304 and directed to the appropriate department (Fiction, Nonfiction, or Youth). Queries of interest to us should receive a reply within four to six weeks. (Note: Query tips are at the bottom of these guidelines.)

    We continue to accept queries, proposals and manuscripts through established literary agents, recognized manuscript services, and writers conferences attended by Bethany House editorial staff.

    You can find out more at www.bethanyhouse.com

    And I think if you read this forum page closely, you'll discover there are other ways to submit, too.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77
    What things about a manuscript are likely to grab your attention when it comes across your desk? Also what are the current trends you have noticed in Christian fiction?
    I look very closely at the first paragraph, even the first line. Did it hook me? Then the first chapter Ė is anything interesting happening? Can I picture the characters and setting? Do I want to keep reading?

    I love original, clever ideas. Good writing and storytelling, of course, impress me because, Iíll be honest with you, most of what I read in proposals is subpar. Iím looking for a manuscript that makes me want to stay past five to finish reading. I like a strong narrative voice.

    An interesting trend right now is a surge of popularity in certain genres. For the most part, these genres are new or recent to CBA. Those genres are
    suspense
    humorous romance (both historical and contemporary)
    chick lit and mom lit
    literary fiction

  4. #29
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Charlene, thank you so much for being here. You're doing a great job fielding our questions, and I know we all appreciate it!

    Here's a question that was posted in the wrong spot earlier. I merged it into this thread, but it wound up on page 1, so you probably won't see it:


    Historical Fiction Parameter
    My WIP is a novel about a black pastor in 1960's MS with themes of intercession, spiritual warfare and racial reconciliation. According to your guidelines this would not be accepted because the time period is after 1950. Is that Bethany's standard or industry wide definition?

    David
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpatt
    I look very closely at the first paragraph, even the first line. Did it hook me? Then the first chapter Ė is anything interesting happening? Can I picture the characters and setting? Do I want to keep reading?


    I love original, clever ideas. Good writing and storytelling, of course, impress me because, Iíll be honest with you, most of what I read in proposals is subpar. Iím looking for a manuscript that makes me want to stay past five to finish reading. I like a strong narrative voice.

    An interesting trend right now is a surge of popularity in certain genres. For the most part, these genres are new or recent to CBA. Those genres are
    suspense
    humorous romance (both historical and contemporary)
    chick lit and mom lit
    literary fiction
    Thanks for answering my questions, very insightful.

  6. #31
    muse..muse...come here muse! Bk_30's Avatar
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    I also want to thank you for comming. My question has more to do with your youth market though. In your guildlines it says that you do not accept unsolicited proposals for full-color picture books. This lead me to believe that you do not accept any quiries for picture books, was I wrong? What is the comming trend for christian childrens picture books and early/easy reader books for the christian market?

  7. #32
    still crazy after all these years AW Moderator Good Word's Avatar
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    Hi Charlene,

    We're so glad you are here!

    I've been wondering about promotion and PR. What is expected of the author in terms of promotion? What does a publishing company the size of Bethany House sees as its role? Do you have PR staff?

    Something else: When someone like you reads as part of your job, do you ever get to read for fun? What was the last book you purchased in a book store or online?

    Thanks,

    Lisa

  8. #33
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Thank you for joining us, Charlene. I was wondering about the publication process post-acceptance. (Yes. I know. Ego. ) What are the so-called normal steps and timeline?

  9. #34
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
    My WIP is a novel about a black pastor in 1960's MS with themes of intercession, spiritual warfare and racial reconciliation. According to your guidelines this would not be accepted because the time period is after 1950. Is that Bethany's standard or industry wide definition?

    David
    Hi David,

    Iím not sure what you mean by "according to your guidelines, this would not be accepted because the time period is after 1950." What made you think that? We classify anything set before 1950 as historical. Anything after 1950 is called contemporary. That is a pretty standard delineation. We publish both categories.

    By the way, if you havenít already, I highly recommend reading River Rising by Athol Dickson. Fantastic book. Some similar themes.

  10. #35
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Hi Charlene,

    Welcome.

    At a writer's conference everal years ago, I talked to an editor of a small Christian publisher about Christian Science Fiction. She seemed to think the term was an oxymoron.

    My question: do you see any market for Christian Science Fiction (as opposed to Fantasy)?
    --Roger J. Carlson

    If you've received spam from me, my apologies. My gmail contact list was stolen and they spoof me every couple of months. Nothing I can do, but if you get spam from roger.j.carlsonATgmailDOTCOM, just put the address in your block list. I still receive email there, but I don't send from that address anymore.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bk_30
    My question has more to do with your youth market though. In your guildlines it says that you do not accept unsolicited proposals for full-color picture books. This lead me to believe that you do not accept any quiries for picture books, was I wrong? What is the comming trend for christian childrens picture books and early/easy reader books for the christian market?
    Iím sorry to say I donít have good news for you about the Christian childrenís book market. Youíre correct, we do not accept queries for picture books. Childrenís picture books are very expensive to produce, but they sell for a relatively low price. Also, most of the childrenís books published in the general market are safe and clean, so youíre competing in a very crowded market.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Good Word
    I've been wondering about promotion and PR. What is expected of the author in terms of promotion? What does a publishing company the size of Bethany House sees as its role? Do you have PR staff?

    Something else: When someone like you reads as part of your job, do you ever get to read for fun? What was the last book you purchased in a book store or online?
    These days an author must wear the hat of marketer as well as author. Gone are the days when the author stays in the attic and writes while the publisher promotes his book. You the author are a key player in your bookís success. We need your help to get the word out, especially in your local area. What exactly is expected of you will vary depending on your publisher and the type of book. At BH, we send out a marketing binder that lists some of the things authors can do to promote their book.
    Yep, we have Marketing and Publicity staff. They create and place ads, get reviews, send out press releases and follow up, create marketing materials such as bookmarks or postcards, buy co-ops, help set up signings and other promotional events, submit the bookís information to all the online retailers, etc. We also have a large sales staff that is out calling on book buyers at major sales outlets.

    Hee hee, yeah, I do get to read for fun. I love books. I read what our competitors are publishing in fiction. I read novels selling well in the general market. I read nonfiction when I want something different. My eyes get really tired, so I often listen to books on tape. The last book I purchased was about the history of Yellowstone National Park (yeah, Iím a history buff). The last novel I read that wasnít a Bethany House book was The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birol
    Thank you for joining us, Charlene. I was wondering about the publication process post-acceptance. (Yes. I know. Ego. ) What are the so-called normal steps and timeline?
    Think positive! Hereís a quick overview of How a Manuscript Becomes a Book. Most anything besides a novel would have additional steps. The timeline varies by publisher, but the process usually takes 10 to 18 months. Right now we are signing books that will release in Summer 2008 or later.
    1. Author delivers manuscript to publisher.
    2. Reviews read manuscript and editor provides feedback to author.
    3. Author addresses feedback in a revision/rewrite and sends new manuscript.
    4. Editor line edits manuscript, creates a style sheet, and writes cover copy.
    5. Manuscript is copy edited.
    6. Book interior is designed. Manuscript is typeset.
    7. Typeset galleys are proofread.
    8. Galleys are sent to the author for review.
    9. Galleys are sent back to typesetting and corrections are entered.
    10. Cover design is finalized (a cover mockup has already been created for the catalog).
    11. Editor checks final galleys. (Another proofread is sometimes done at this time.)
    12. Electronic files are sent to the printer.
    13. Printer sends page proofs and cover proof for the publisherís approval
    14. Book is printed, bound, and shipped to the publisherís warehouse.

  14. #39
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Hi there! I have a general sort of question. A lot of writers seem to think the author should be doing masses of promotion. However the only publishers who really push this idea seem to be the ones whose sales are terrible (making me think it is largely a blame shifting tactic). I would be interested in knowing what you think is an appropriate amount of promotional activity for a new author with their first book coming out--and what sorts of author-initiated promotional activity are actually effective (or ill-advised).

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson

    My question: do you see any market for Christian Science Fiction (as opposed to Fantasy)?
    Hi Roger,
    Yes, I would say there is a market for Christian science fiction. Itís a very small market right now, but weíre noticing that young people, especially, are interested in this genre. For some examples of whatís been done, check out the books by John B. Olson and Randall Ingermanson and Kathy Tyers.

  16. #41
    Stef
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    Hi, Charlene! Thank you for answering our questions. Does Bethany House have a statement of faith for their authors to sign?

    Blogs are everywhere these days. Do you recommend that your authors use them as a promotional tool? Have you ever really discovered an author through a blog?

    Is it more difficult for BH to have first novels reviewed?

    Do you put awards clauses (like the Christy) in contracts? For example, "If this book is nominated for or wins an award, royalties will increase by X%".

    My parents always said I asked too many questions. Thanks for your time.

  17. #42
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    Hi there! I have a general sort of question. A lot of writers seem to think the author should be doing masses of promotion. However the only publishers who really push this idea seem to be the ones whose sales are terrible (making me think it is largely a blame shifting tactic). I would be interested in knowing what you think is an appropriate amount of promotional activity for a new author with their first book coming out--and what sorts of author-initiated promotional activity are actually effective (or ill-advised).
    Iíve never seen the promotion work an author does negatively impact the sales of the book. When the author is more involved, the sales are usually higher. Sure, 100 copies might not make a huge difference in the bottom line, but thatís 100 people who might never have found the book otherwise, who might tell their friends, and who might buy the authorís next book. An author is especially effective in his/her own local area: making media contacts, making bookstore and library contacts, promoting the "local author" angle. We give authors several ideas (ranging from speaking engagements to sending out postcards) and encourage them to do whatever they are comfortable with, without impeding the main thing they can do that we canít, which is to write the books.

  18. #43
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stef
    Hi, Charlene! Thank you for answering our questions. Does Bethany House have a statement of faith for their authors to sign?

    Blogs are everywhere these days. Do you recommend that your authors use them as a promotional tool? Have you ever really discovered an author through a blog?

    Is it more difficult for BH to have first novels reviewed?

    Do you put awards clauses (like the Christy) in contracts? For example, "If this book is nominated for or wins an award, royalties will increase by X%".

    Hi Stef, Good questions. We do not have authors sign a statement of faith, but we do usually ask them about their faith background. They are out there representing our company, so we want to make sure our views mesh.


    I donít have a specific recommendation about blogs. Iíve seen authors use them successfully as a promotional tool. I do encourage authors to at least have a website that features information about them and their books.


    I wouldnít say itís any more difficult to get a first novel reviewed than a novel by an established author. In fact, it may be easier because review sources like to feature the "fresh, new thing." What sometimes makes a book hard to get reviewed is the long lead time those publications need or the small amount of space devoted to Christian books.


    Oh no, we donít put in any award clauses. Iím sorry to say that the books that win awards are hardly ever the high selling books. The recognition is very, very nice, but literary awards do not usually lead to higher sales.

  19. #44
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Hi Charlene, thanks for being here. I have a question about distribution -- how does Bethany House work with their distributors to get the books out there, or do you have your own sales force? And do all your authors' books get on the shelves, and if not, how are they made available to the buying public?

    Thanks,
    Ray

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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    The Pacific Between ē A Bunch of Stories
    (2006 IPPY Award)

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  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by maestrowork
    Hi Charlene, thanks for being here. I have a question about distribution -- how does Bethany House work with their distributors to get the books out there, or do you have your own sales force? And do all your authors' books get on the shelves, and if not, how are they made available to the buying public?
    Thanks,
    Ray
    Hi Ray,
    At Bethany House, we have a sales force that takes our frontlist and contacts every outlet you can think of, from independents to chains to libraries to distributors to special markets. Yep, every book we publish ends up on a shelf somewhere. We donít have total control over what goes where (there are book buyers at the stores and distributors who make those decisions based on what they think they can sell), but we can tell you where itís likely to be. You can find our books online, in Christian bookstores, in the inspirational section at chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble, and at stores like Wal-Mart and Costco.

  21. #46
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    At the same writer's conference I mentioned before, the publisher said that the market is much more open to "edgier" fiction. Perhaps including some profanity, violence, and sexual content. Are you seeing a trend toward this?
    --Roger J. Carlson

    If you've received spam from me, my apologies. My gmail contact list was stolen and they spoof me every couple of months. Nothing I can do, but if you get spam from roger.j.carlsonATgmailDOTCOM, just put the address in your block list. I still receive email there, but I don't send from that address anymore.

  22. #47
    I'm a believer AmyBA's Avatar
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    Hi Charlene-- thanks for coming by to answer our questions. Mine's a short one, I think:

    How much of your day is spent reading submissions? How often do you end up taking work home with you?

  23. #48
    ~writes for Him~ Robin Bayne's Avatar
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    How would you describe the writer you'd most like to work with?

  24. #49
    practical experience, FTW karenmary's Avatar
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    Hi Charlene. What a gift you are giving to the AW writers. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpatt
    One thing some first-time authors donít do that I absolutely need them to do is finish the manuscript. What I care about first and foremost is if you can write a good story - and keep it going for 350 pages. I also like to see authors get several critiques by trustworthy people on the manuscript so they are giving me their best possible product.
    Do you know if your non-fiction acquisitions editor feels the same way about a finished manuscript? I've read/heard/gotten the idea from somewhere that it is best NOT to finish a non-fiction book manuscript b/c of the vast amount of research that might go into an effort that isn't exactly right for a publisher -- and could be slanted to fit their needs specifically is accepted.

    Karen Mary Lynch

  25. #50
    Giggle Collector akaa1a's Avatar
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    Good afternoon, Charlene!


    Obviously books like the Christmas Box and A Prairie Christmas have been popular, but is the narrowness of the subject make it difficult for a first-time novelist who has written holiday Christian fiction to be considered for pupblication?

    And, if you don't mind another question, is a charitable slant for a novel unwise for the Christian marketplace?

    Many thanks for your time!

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