What advice do you have for writers? I minored in English in college, and I love to write stories and would love to write Bible studies, but am unsure how to branch into that. Of course, I’d want my doctrine to stick to Lutheran doctrine and would want it to be thoroughly vetted. Any insight is appreciated. Most of my career has been focused on using my major (History) as I’ve worked in the political and governmental realm.
First, you might find the following resources helpful in your writing quest.
- “Fiction Writing Tips” series on my blog, A Writer’s Life
- “Q&A with Katie Schuermann” on The Word Endures (July 19, 2017)
- “So You Want to Be a Writer” on Meet, Write, & Salutary (June 16, 2017)
- “Writer to Writer: Some Friendly Advice” on The Word Endures (March 2017)
- “The Sorry State of Christian Fiction” on Stet (August 1, 2014)
- “You Are What You Read” on A Writer’s Life
- “How to Be a Writer” on KFUO’s The Coffee Hour – Andy Bates and Sarah Gulseth interview Katie on February 26, 2019
- “A Soft Apologetic for Suffering and Heart” on RevFisk: Raw – Jonathan Fisk chats with Katie about the craft of writing on November 29, 2018
- “A Washington Post Column ‘Reinventing Religion — with Romance Novels’” on Issues, Etc. – Todd Wilken interviews Katie on August 27, 2018
- “Christian Fiction” on Issues, Etc. – Todd Wilken interviews Katie on November 13, 2015
- “Writing Fiction” – Katie interviews author and editor, Lisa M. Clark
Second, a bit about branching into the profession of writing books.
At this point in time, any legitimate publisher will want to see a completed manuscript from you before considering investing in your name and product, so write that book. Get it done. Yesterday.
The publisher also will want to know that you have more than just one book in you, so be ready to share with them ideas for the next 3 to 100 books you plan to write. If you have an online presence with a substantial following, that probably won’t hurt your chances any.
But it is also safe to say that, even with a completed manuscript in hand and ideas for a thousand more books in your back pocket, a publisher is more likely to take you seriously if you have an agent. How do you find an agent? The same way you find a dentist. Ask around. Look at the teeth in the mouths smiling in your community and, upon finding a set you admire, ask who works on them. You can also search the web for “literary agents” and have a heyday surfing the results. One way to narrow your search is to look for agencies that already represent authors writing and publishing books in your preferred genre. Then, hand those agencies your completed manuscript and ask them to represent you.
Self-publishing is also an option, and while this can lead to success, it also can lead to your having to be a salesman for the rest of your life of a little-known product competing in an already oversaturated market.
My honest-to-goodness advice? Write a book if you have to, especially if it serves your neighbor. But if you don’t (and it doesn’t), then spend your time and talents writing letters and stories and poems and whatever else you love for the people you love. A postage stamp, in my humble opinion, remains the best publisher in the world.