Tag Archives: books

What books do publishers read?

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I thought this video from Laurie Beshore was fitting for today for two reasons:

1) Today is the last official day of the Love Without Walls Blog Tour

2) Laurie talks about how if she didn’t read books would see “only a part” of “reality.” She says that she like books don’t just “describe what is, but what can be.”

old booksThe same is true for publishers (and I imagine any profession). If we don’t read about our profession we won’t grow in our profession. If we don’t continually read on how to be more innovative marketers, thoughtful editors, and committed Christian professionals, then eventually our books will suffer and our authors and consumers will be under-served.

So, for this series of posts on the publishing process I thought it might be fun to post a list of books publishers read. These are books I’ve read, my colleagues have read, industry standards, and other goodies.

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – This book is hugely popular among writers, regardless of what type of books they write. The same is true for publishers. It’s just a compelling read about writing and King’s tumultuous career.
  • Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers by Scott Norton – I discovered this book at the national meeting for the Society for Biblical Literature, oddly enough. It’s great reading for aspiring editors.
  • ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income, Second Edition by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett – A fellow marketer at Z gave me this book when I first start blogging. It is an excellent resource for growing your online presence. I’ve recommended it to numerous authors, colleagues, and friends.
  • Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future by Jason Epstein – This is a book written by a major New York publisher. The big takeaway for me from this book was that publishers must ‘acquire for the back list’ as a way to ensure a sustainable business.
  • What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis – Our publishing team read this book together a few years back. It helped all of us wrap our minds around the digital revolution we’ve been through the last few years. Especially in regards to SEO, it really got our wheels turning about how we title, market, and sell our books. We know regularly use terms like “Google juice” and “Googley” as a result of reading this book.
  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt – I’ve not read this book yet but it’s on my short list. Others around Z are already reading it. Mike Hyatt’s wisdom and experience in publishing is just too good not read and implement.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White – This little handbook is the bible of self-editing and professional writing. If you’re a writer you must own and heed this book.
  • Get Known before the Book Deal by Christina Katz – This is a book I stumbled on a few years ago and have recommended to many new writers who are trying to build a platform for promoting their work.

This list is far from exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of some of the books that float around our offices.

Until next time, may you know the joy of reading a good book that energizes you in your vocation.



John Dickson

John Dickson (PhD, Macquarie University, Sydney) is a senior research fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University; co-director of the Centre for Public Christianity; and senior minister at St. Andrew’s Roseville. The author of more than a dozen books, he is the host of two major historical documentaries for Australian television and is a busy public speaker in corporations, universities, churches, and conferences.

Zondervan Author Info

On Book Marketing

On Engaging Church we almost always blog on ministry related topics and/or about Zondervan’s church and ministry resources. Today I’m taking a short rabbit trail to talk about marketing – specifically book marketing.

For the sake of this blog post I’m going to assume that some of the bloggers who follow Engaging Church hope to someday publish their own books. With that assumption in mind I will also assume that some of you read books on writing, publishing, and book marketing.

This weekend I’ll be giving a short workshop on social media and book marketing at the 2010 Breathe Conference. (I’m humbled they have asked me to present this year. Here’s hoping I can do a bang-up job!)

In preparation for this workshop, and as continuing education for my job, I read a number of books on marketing and publishing. Here are the top 5 that I’ve found most helpful:

Sign up for the “Ethnic Blends” blog tour!

Mark DeYmaz is serious about making the local church diverse. He’s the author of two books on the subject, the newest being, Ethnic Blends: Mixing Diversity into Your Local Church, with Harry Li. It’s part of the Leadership Network Innovation Series.

Here’s what some others have said about Ethnic Blends:

For those doing the hard and important work of helping to build the ethnically diverse church, Ethnic Blends offers much-needed encouragement and a road map forward. — Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Author, and Professor, North Park Theological Seminary

God called us to reach people, love people, and help people grow in Christ, no matter what their background is. This book helps us to recapture that vision in a powerful way. — Jonathan Falwell, Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church

The Ethnic Blends blog tour will be November 1-5. Sign up here to participate. [Sorry! This blog tour sign up has closed.] If your blog is approved you’ll be sent a FREE copy of the book. Then post your review on Amazon and on your blog. It’s that simple!

(After reading the word “blends” so much is anyone else jonesing for a milkshake?)

Washed and Waiting: Wesley Hill blogs on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality


Wesley Hill, author of Washed and Waiting

Wesley Hill

Today’s post is by Wesley Hill, author of the new book, Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

When I began to wrestle with my homosexuality in a serious way, I was a Christian and a committed church member. The first people with whom I wanted to talk about my experience of same-sex desires were the pastors and elders at my church. Compassionate and understanding people that they were, these leaders looked for books and resources to help me grapple with what I was facing.

Disappointingly, however, we all came up short. There just didn’t seem to be any books we could find that described what it felt like to wrestle with homosexuality from the inside, as it were—as a Christian. There were plenty of books that talked about the causes and the results of homosexuality in individuals and families. There were also lots of books that talked about the “culture wars” and the relevant biblical passages and the governmental legislation about homosexuality and marriage. But, unfortunately, it was hard to find a personal, pastoral book that said, “Here is what it looks like to be a Christian and experience the reality of homosexuality firsthand. Here is my story…”

5 New Bible Reference tools to Kick Off Fall 2010

I hate to admit it, but the summer ends soon. *sigh*

So, as churches, youth groups, pastors, and small group leaders finalize their fall schedules I thought it would be helpful to post 5 new Bible reference tools that will help you better teach the Bible. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? In addition to some of the catalog blurbs about each book I’ve posted my own thoughts. I’d love to read your reactions to these titles below. Are you looking forward to any of them more than the others? Which one?

Zondervan Atlas of the Bible revised editionZondervan Atlas of the Bible: Revised Edition by Carl Rasmussen – “This thoroughly revised edition of the Gold Medallion Award-winning Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible uses innovative 3D imaging technology and over one hundred images to bring the biblical world to life with unprecedented clarity.” As I flipped through it I was amazed at the Holy Land imagery and how clearly the information is portrayed. Who says an atlas isn’t cool? read sample

Mark Buchanan interview 2 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm

Spiritual Rhythm by Mark BuchananYesterday we posted part one of our interview with Mark Buchanan. Here’s part two in which he discusses his new book, Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. (Read a sample.)

EC: How can we help others who are in a different season then we may be ourselves?

MB: I think the idea of seasons of the heart is akin to the idea of love languages: just by being aware of them makes us more sensitive to others. For me, going through a deep and prolonged winter of the heart has made me safe for more people in my church. It made me a better pastor. By thinking of spiritual formation in seasonal language, I am now able to discern a person’s season and help them steward it best. Even more, I am able to help them find Christ in the thick of it.

Mark Buchanan intervew 1 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm

Mark Buchanan, author of Spiritual RhythmMark Buchanan is a pastor and award-winning author who lives and speaks on the West Coast of Canada. His writing has been published in numerous periodicals, including Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, and Discipleship Magazine. He is the author of five books including Your God Is Too Safe and his new book Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul.

Here’s the first half of our interview with Mark on Spiritual Rhythm. The second half can be found here.

EC: What does spiritual rhythm mean?

MB: I distinguish between rhythm and balance. Balance is what most people seek, but I think it’s is a myth. Balance in life is something that, even if we can attain it, is not worth the effort. It’s like standing a kayak: it’s fragile, inert, and a misuse of the kayak.

Rhythm is what we seek when we paddle the kayak. Balance flows out of rhythm as a natural by-product of it. Balance is not the point of life any more than it’s the point of kayaking, but it’s what happens without our even having to think about it when we get our  rhythm right.

In a spiritual sense, rhythm is comprised of our pace of life and our ways of engagement in any given season. A good rhythm is what serves us best that season. In winter, we move at a different pace than, say, in spring. We engage life and God differently. That difference is defined by rhythm.

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