Greed

Why is it that Christian authors are preyed upon more by greedy agents and publishing houses than secular authors? This is a question I’ve been wrestling with this week. You see, when I used to write and submit secular fiction I would receive rejection letters from agents and publishers but never pleas for money. But since I’ve been submitting my Christian fiction I’ve received some very interesting responses. I’ll share a few with you.

First, I received a phone call from an agent a couple of weeks ago. She had read my query letter and was interested in my manuscript. Of course there was a slight catch. She would need it to be professionally editted. And surprise, surprise, she happens to do editting on the side. The question that I blurted out almost immediately was, “How much would you charge?” She gave a startled laugh and then proceeded to tell me that it would be about $1500.00 – then after that she’d be happy to consider my novel.  Are you kidding me?

Last week I received an email from an agency I queried saying that if I’d like them to read my manuscript I would need to pay a $50.00 reading fee. Uh, no thanks.

About a month ago I received an email response from a publishing house saying they’d be happy to publish my book if I paid for it upfront. They said they offer a subsidy publishing contract to promising new authors.

I know the economy’s bad right now and I’m sure agents and publishers are feeling it just like everyone else, but why prey on Christian authors? I think I know why.

When I wrote secular fiction I had no problem chucking a novel after it got rejected way too many times. But “Engraved” is different. It’s a book I feel God ordained me to write and I can’t imagine ever shelfing it. 

I’m passionate about the message of this book. I feel like everyone can benefit from it. It’s about a God that pursues us, chases us, protects us, watches us, heals us, transforms us, loves us. It’s about a God who sees us when no one else does, even in our darkest hour, and is not shocked or disgusted by what He sees. Instead His heart is ravished over us. 

I want teenagers who are tempted to drink or use drugs to read it. To see that no good can come from taking that path. I want those entrenched in addiction to read it and know that God can save them, rescue them, redeem them. Not only that but He wants to – desperately. He’s waiting – arms open wide. I want parents to read it and know that God loves their children even more than they do. That He’s watching them when they can’t. That He’s holding them in the palm of His hand and not letting go.

I feel so strongly about God’s unconditional love for us and I know that God gave me the words to convey that message in my novel. So, yes, I would do almost anything to publish it and get that word out there. It’s not just a manuscript – it’s a message. I think that’s the reason agents and publishers see dollar signs. Because I suspect many other Christian authors feel just as strongly for their books. They would do almost anything to get it in print.

But just like I believe God gave me this book I believe He will help it get published in His timing, not mine.

Would I ever pay for it to be published? Maybe. If I felt God leading me in that direction.

But it’s not really my story – it’s His and I’ll let Him decide when the world will hear it…..

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