Zondervan is the gold standard of Christian publishing. They’re the best known and have been around for a long time (80 years!). If you’re looking for the highest quality, I would start here. They are a branch of Harper Collins, which gives you the power of one of the biggest publishing houses behind you.
If you want me to namedrop a little bit, they’ve published Rick Warren, Rob Bell, and Hal Lindsey.
They publish a variety of genres, including Christian children’s books, Christian fiction, and Christian nonfiction, including memoir.
Recent Sample Books:
- “Move” by Greg L Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, a nonfiction book which surveys 1,000 churches to determine whether church goers are actually growing closer to Christ.
- “The Mountain Midwife” by Laurie Alice Eakes, a novel about a woman who wants to abandon her family roots of midwifery to go to medical school.
Moody has a great reputation in the Christian community, mainly because of their reputation for the Moody Study Bible and Moody Bible Institute (even I took a correspondence course in Biblical Hebrew from them eons ago). But does their publishing branch match up to their reputation in other ventures?
They do have a good pedigree, since they were founded in 1894, and they do have good name brand recognition among the people you want to buy your books. They also have a good stable of authors like John MacArthur, A.W. Tozer and Gary Chapman.
Overall, I would rate this as a pretty great publisher to go with. Not my first choice among the ones on this page, but in the top three. A bonus is that they accept a huge variety of nonfiction and fiction. For their fiction categories, they accept the following: Children, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA (Young Adult), and Mystery.
The worst thing about Moody is that they’re not very friendly to submitters. You just can’t send them your manuscript, because they accept no slush pile. Instead, these are the three ways to get a manuscript to them:
- Through a literary agent
- Through an author they publish (a personal connection)
- From meeting them at a writers conference
- How Should Christians Vote? by Tony Evans. Most Christians begin with the question of “who” they should vote for, rather than asking “how” they should vote — in other words, what principles should be used to determine who to vote for?
- The Turning by Davis Bunn. Five people hear a voice from God that commands them to fight against the cultural direction of America. What happens next is unpredictable.
Dove Christian Publishers is a hybrid publisher, meaning that some of their books are traditionally published and do not charge the author, and others are self-publications, meaning they charge you to publish with them.
They publish fiction and nonfiction, and they do not provide advances.
They say that they’re looking for authors with some kind of social media platform, and also for books that will do well in the Christian market. They say that some books can take as long as 12 months to publish, but the majority require 4 – 6 months for publication (12 months would be a normal time frame, while 4 – 6 months is extremely quick in the industry).
They provide 25% royalties on e-books, which is industry standard (although some indie publishers go up to 50%), and 10% – 15% royalties on physical books.
- More Than a Great Partner: How to Find and Keep the Right Mate. A great self-help book helping unmarried people to find the right partner and married people to stay married.
- The Regency. In this high-octane thriller, an assailant kills a Washington D.C. pastor and then pursues a young woman.
About half of their titles are paperbacks, and the others are published only as ebooks — which is important if you absolutely need your book in print. Some Christian book publishers have the bad reputation of only publishing bonnet fiction, and that’s not Bethany House at all; most of their fiction doesn’t mention overt religious themes in the descriptions at all, although the Christian undertones are present in the book. But The Atonement by Beverly Lewis does have the traditional Amish garb on the cover:
- Letters to my Daughter: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey. After 4 decades of marriage, Rainey decides to share her hard-fought wisdom about marriage with her newly married daughters.
- The Inheritance by Michael Phillips (fiction, book #1 of a series). After the clan patriarch dies, the family fights over the inheritance on the Shetland islands.
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Crosslink Publishing makes it very easy to submit a manuscript to them. There’s a button on the upper left hand corner of their website which lets you submit directly to them, which sure beats waiting for an agent to accept your manuscript. They also are very open about the type of contract you would get, publishing a sample author contract on their website.
They sell their books at a pretty low price point — Confessions of a Ninja Mom on Amazon was selling for $4.84, which means your royalties would be lower by a third than if you were selling at $15.00 for a paperback. Awaken Your Might, a Christ-centered devotional aimed to improve your leadership skills, is priced at $3.99 (!!). These are good price points if you are a reader, but not such good price points for an author trying to earn money. But obviously their business model is more about selling tons of copies at a lower price point, so if that’s what you want as an author, go for it.
This manifesto lets you know a little bit more about their philosophy of publishing, including a commitment to absolute transparency and that authors should get a decision on their book within 7 days (a record in the industry!). Make sure to read the comments at the bottom of this post to see about the experiences of other authors with this publisher.
Overall, I think this is a better choice for nonfiction than it is for fiction. I didn’t find very many fiction titles that they’ve published, and had a hard time figuring out the pitch for the novels they do have.
Christian Faith Publishing makes it easy to learn about them with the helpful videos on their landing page. They also promise to create a 30-second book trailer for each of their titles released, which is a nice thing to look forward to as an author.
These are the genres they publish: fiction, children’s, poetry, and non-fiction. They are looking for books with “positive content.”
Authors who submit manuscripts to CFP will get a response within 5 days, after a review board decides whether or not to accept or deny it.
Every author receives publishing services such as editing, custom cover and page design (illustrations if needed), digital formatting (eBook), book trailer, press releases, author web page, and book distribution. Their book distributor is Ingram and Spring Arbor.
If you want to learn more about their publishing process, they have a video series called “Publishing Basics,” which explains many of the steps in publishing your book.
The website is a little decrepit, but since they’ve just published their 400th title, they can’t be doing that badly. Still, if you don’t want to go for a Christian self-publisher, but your book doesn’t have the market audience for a major publisher like Zondervan or Thomas Nelson, a small publisher like Lighthouse might be a good option.
They publish a number of fiction titles, including the genres of:
- Christian Romance Fiction
- Christian Historical Fiction
- Christian Young Adult
- Christian Fantasy
- Christian Children’s Books
- “Oh, Those Chinaberries” by Hilda Sanderson (Young Adult – YA – Fiction). Antoine was in love with Marilee, and as they go into the eighth grade, they have a very eventful chinaberry fight that leads to a lot of turmoil in their relationship.
Thomas Nelson is a really solid publisher, one of the best. It’s kind of a sibling with Zondervan, because both are subsidiaries of HarperCollins (don’t worried, you won’t be quizzed on this).
What’s the difference between Zondervan and Thomas Nelson? Not that much. Both are largely Protestant, and evangelical in the broad sense of that term. The biggest difference is that Zondervan is an upstart (1931) and Thomas Nelson has been around for centuries (1798). Also, Thomas Nelson has annual revenue which far surpasses Zondervan. What do age and gross earnings have to do with you, the author? Not that much, to be honest.
Thomas Nelson publishes big time authors, people like John Eldridge of “Wild at Heart” fame and Sarah Young of “Jesus Calling” fame, as well as Shauna Niequist, Max Lucado, and the Jesus Storybook Bible for kids, which recently just sold 2 million copies.
I wouldn’t call them theologically discerning, but more ecumenical in their approach. Which is fine, because this is a business and not a church. It’s difficult to get a manuscript accepted here, but if you get in it’s a great sign about the quality of your submission.
- The Stone of Ebenezer, by Susan Van Volkenburgh. A novel retelling the Biblical story of the battle over the ark of the covenant.
- Steve Farrar, Manna (nonfiction): When you’re in the wilderness, how will God provide for you?
Faithwords describes itself as catering to the “Christian inspirational market.” Which can pretty much be summed up by a single one of their most popular authors: Joel Osteen. As far as fiction, their most popular author is Paul Young who wrote “The Shack,” as well as Ted Dekker.
So they’re hitting a much broader market for Christian books than more conservative, evangelical publishing houses like Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. It’s more like self-help combined with a light Christian veneer.
- Grace Revolution by Joseph Prince. How to “live above defeat,” and conquer your problems.
- Overload by Joyce Meyer. How to live a life free from stress.
- Dr. James Dobson’s Godless, about the housing crisis and three people who try to crawl out of financial despair.
10. Jericho Books
Jericho Books is the edgy cousin of the Christian publishing companies. They are looking for “non-traditional voices.” So if the above publishers seemed too straight-laced for you, this might be a good fit for your book.
Some notable authors: Brian McLaren, famous for “A Generous Orthodoxy,” and also my friend Sarah Thebarge, famous for “The Invisible Girls.”
And I gotta say that I love that ram horn logo.
The downside of this publisher is that the website is a little scant, and I’ve had a hard time finding out basic info about them, such as submission policies. If someone does find out, please leave that info in the comments.
So far, from what authors they have on the website, they are focused on nonfiction alone, so submit your fiction elsewhere.
- Becca Stevens, “Snake Oil.” The book is about the natural body lotions company that Stevens started, and how she employs women who have suffered sexual abuse.