Frequently Asked Questions
Many of your questions may be answered here on our FAQ page. Feel free to drop Frank an e-mail if you have a question or comment not addressed here.
As much as I would like to help new authors get their books published, I really have little control over which books will get a publisher’s attention. The hard truth is, publishing is a tough industry, and even tougher for newcomers. Publishers are more cautious than ever, and seldom take a chance on a new author. Still, good books do get published, and new authors get launched every day. If your idea is salable and the writing solid, you have as good a chance as anyone.
If you’ve shopped your book at all, you’ve probably learned that many publishers are no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts except through agents. Your best approach would be to try and get an agency to handle your book–which sounds much easier than it is. But it can be done if the idea is publishable. Begin by picking up a recent copy of the Christian Writer’s Market Guide, which you can find in most bookstores. This is a good place to get started looking for an agent to approach with your idea.
You can also search the internet for contact info. Follow the guidelines of each agency and send them only the information they ask for. Then pray that if God wants your book published, he will lead you to the right people. I usually tell people to be persistent, and if their book is meant to be published, it will be.
I wish I could, but I’m busy enough writing and proofreading my own projects. And I probably wouldn’t be the best coach anyway. If you have a serious desire to write, I suggest you contact the Christian Writer’s Guild, an organization owned by my good friend and best-selling writer, Jerry Jenkins. This is a great place for new authors to look when trying to strengthen their skills.
I’m still not sure how I broke into ghostwriting, so I’m not sure how to best advise on this. My suggestion would be to begin by getting your name into the hands of editors and agents, letting them know that you’re available to write on a “work for hire” basis–which means you get paid, but don’t own the rights to the material once it’s turned in. You’ll need samples of your writing to send to them, so they’ll know whether you can do the job.
There’s no thrill or glory in ghostwriting, but it is the best way to break into publishing. The goal is to build a resume that gets the attention of editors, and then using your connections to begin trying to get your own material published. I know of a lot of working writers who make a decent living writing for others–but you can’t have an ego, and you have to love the art of writing! You also have to learn how to “capture” someone’s voice on paper, which is much harder than it sounds.