Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do's in sending publishers your book proposal

Many of you will be attending the Together for Adoption Conference this weekend and I hope you might be inspired to consider doing some writing. Adoption and orphan ministry  is an area that needs books and many attending this conference have capability of writing quality and helpful books that the adoption and orphan community could benefit.  Yet, many do not know how to contact publishers with their book idea or do not do it very well.  Thus, their thoughts will not be published.  In this blog I will write some “do’s in contacting publishers and in a follow-up I will have some don’ts.

First, send them your very best work and not something you started and wanted to “throw by” an editor to get their thoughts.  Second, give them a compelling reason why you are the very best person to write this book. This is not bragging and please do not stretch the truth.  Yet, publishers need to know why you are extremely qualified if not the most qualified person to write your book.  Third, go to the publisher’s website and read their proposal guidelines.  This will tell you how the publisher prefers the proposal, what to put in the proposal and what to keep out.  Fourth, give the publishers several weeks before contacting them on the status.  Fifth, it is o.k. to submit your proposal to more than one publisher.  This is called multiple submissions. Yet, do let the publishers know that other publishers are also reviewing your proposal out of courteousy.  Finally, do your research on what books are in the marketplace that has a similar theme or topic.  If there are several out there, then you will truly need to think through what makes your book truly unique. If there are no books on a similar topic, then you will have to consider if there is either an untapped market or no real market at all.  The best word I use to sum up this blog is research.  It is vitally important you have thoroughly researched why you are the most qualified, why the publishers will want to publish your book,, how to submit a first-rate proposal to the publisher, and what like-minded books are in the market.

In my next email I will have some thoughts on what not to do when sending your proposals.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Please do not think adopted children are consolation prizes

Do you remember the game show where the contestants were able to choose between a couple of doors and they hoped to pick the door where they received the main prize or best prize?  If they did not, then they would receive the consolation prize and everyone did the collective groan because this was always a prize of much lesser value.  Recently I was privileged to be quoted in a forthcoming book on church orphan ministry where I talked on this.  I believe far too many believe that biological children are the main prize and what would be best for us.  Second would be biological children through In Vitro procedures and then the last place or the true consolation prize would be adopted children.  Thus, couples might have adopted children after not being able to have biological children or after first having their “real” children.  My fear is that far too many in and outside the church believes this and sadly many adopted children also feel the tag of being a consolation prize.

I thank God on a daily basis that my wife and I never had biological children.  If we had, then I am not convinced we would have ever adopted Hannah and Samantha our two children from China.  My two girls are truly God’s best for me and the girls God chose for my life.  For that I am honored and privileged.

I do hope my friends attending the Together for Adoption Conference learn all they can, have great fellowship, purchase lots of books, and come back with a renewed commitment to helping the orphans of the world.  But please do not ever think the orphan children you are working with are consolation prizes.  They are God’s children and God has no consolation prizes in His family.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A call to publishers to consider the orphan and adoption community

This post is my encouragement to publishers to strongly consider publishing addional resources in the areas of orphan ministry and adoption.   I am certain on a daily basis you have those who come to your editorial team or send proposals with the latest and greatest book idea that they know all readers want and their book or their client’s book will be high on the best sellers list.  God has blessed me to work in publishing for close to twenty years; however, one of the true blessings God has given me is my two adopted girls from China.  This has opened the doors for me to attend two orphan ministry and adoption conferences.  The first is the National Orphan Summit which by the Christian Alliance for Orphans www.christian-alliance-for-orphans.org and the second is the Together for Adoption Conference www.togetherforadoption.org which happens to be occurring this weekend in Austin, TX.  These conferences are very similar to your national ETS and SBL meetings in which there are keynote speakers, breakout sessions, many displays, and lots of social interaction.
Yet what has struck me about this group is with the exception of the very fine book by Russell Moore titled Adopted for Life there has been very little published by the leading Evangelical publishers.  Yet, those who attend these conferences (heads of agencies, pastors, and adoptive parents) are truly key gatekeepers who would more than likely know the potential author because they sat the author’s session.  Plus, the end result of writing, reading, and implementing these books is one of God’s children who have no home finding a blessed home with a family who will love and care for him or her. 
In upcoming blogs I would like to share specific book ideas that I believe would do well for you.   I would like to share with those in the orphan/adoption community how to properly contact the acquisitions editors concerning their book idea.  In the meantime I would encourage you to check out some of the live video streaming of the upcoming conference www.togetherforadoption.org.
In Him

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 22 - A very special day


September 22 of this month was a very special anniversary date.  It was five years ago on Wednesday that my wife and I flew home from China with Samantha Grace Li-Chin Kragt.  It was at the Grand Rapids International Airport where Samantha met for the very first time her four year old sister Hannah Joy Xue Kragt.  There is something very special about adoption.  It is a truly special  when one open's his or her hearts and says to the Lord he or she is willing to take any child God  sends to them.  Then, when God sends them the child they know is their God ordained child it is a wonderful event.  Of course that is like God's adopting us as His children.  How I am glad that God choose to take us in to him.