The Making of a Christian Bestseller: An Insider's Guide to Christian Publishing

Published By: Faithwalk Publishing

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Writing/Publishing

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Reviewed by Julie Failla Earhart

As a writer, I've read my share of how-to books in all aspects of the field. Most of them are about the same. Ann Byle's new collection of essays, The Making of a Christian Bestseller: An Insider's Guide to Christian Publishing, about the writing and publishing market, specifically the Christian market, is refreshingly different and informative for the seasoned veteran and the newbie alike.

Byle uses her interviewing skills to perfection by talking with the biggest names in the genre about different aspects of Christian writing, then taking that information and putting it easy-to-read, affirmative essays. Topics range from writing sex scenes and humor to researching details to editing to building relationships with editors and agents.

Byle gets advice from such heavyweights as Jerry Jenkins, Sally Stuart, Nancy Rue, and James Scott Bell. The 40 essays are broken into seven sections starting with "The Call to Write." The last section is devoted to "Conquer(ing) the Market: Building Your Presence with Readers and the Media." Each essay/chapter contains a sidebar "Bestseller Tip" with useful advice. For example, providing an afterlife for review copies; James Scott Bell's LOCK System; and tips to maximize a meeting with an acquisitions editor. Ironically, the book's last essay is "Finishing the Job: Publicizing Your Book."

I'm not exactly sure what quantifies a book to be labeled "Christian," but Byle talks to all writers about how to write good books without having to rely on sex and foul language. My favorite quote is from Chapter 3--The Christian as an Artist. Author Davis Bunn reminds writers that "if you read Hemingway, Dickens, or Faulkner, the evil characters they created speak cleanly yet are dark and live forever as timeless, powerful characters...It's certainly easier to write a bad character if he uses foul language, but bad language doesn't necessarily make him a stronger bad character."

Armchair Interviews says: Every writer should read Ann Byle's The Making of a Christian Bestseller: An Insider's Guide to Christian Publishing, whether Christian or not. She talks to writers not necessarily about Christian writing but about good, strong writing.

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