Pastors like you make excellent book authors because the same steps they use to research and outline a sermon-or a sermon series-are the same steps they can use to write a book. It also helps that you have frequent contact with your congregation that helps you learn what kind of problems ideal readers tend to deal with and the questions they tend to have. These are all distinct advantages that make it easier for pastors like you to write relevant and engaging books that can stay with people longer than a sermon that will be forgotten over time, and the following tips will help you reach your writing goal.
Tip #1: Schedule Book Appointments
Time for your book doesn’t just happen, it has to be planned. If you are serious about writing a book, then pull out a couple weeks to dedicate to your book or at least pull out 3 hours per week to focus on researching, organizing, writing, publishing and even promoting your book. You can make the most of these appointments if you go into them with a plan and the key people around you know not to interrupt you so you can focus. If this isn’t possible, seriously consider partnering with a ghostwriter who will partner with you to define your book and will spend the extra hours to physically write your book based on recorded interviews with you.
Tip #2: Choose a Topic That Is In Demand For Your Target Readers
Before you choose the topic for your book, take a moment to think about the most frequent questions people ask you after your sermons and during Bible Study. Think about the issues people often bring to you in ask for counseling sessions. Think about the topics you most often pray about when you pray for your congregation. The topics that come up most often should be on your short list of topics for your first book. To narrow it down from there, you can find the intersection between the topic your ministry experience has best equipped you to discuss and the topic that your readers choose. If you plan to sell your book, your choice for a topic should be one that is related to a problem that readers are already interested in spending money on to solve and that you are willing to publicly promote and market as a problem-solving solution or that you at least are willing to form a partnership with someone who will.
Tip #3: Plan a Publishing and Marketing Strategy That Fits Your Ministry
Every author would love to be a best-selling international author, but if your ministry is firmly grounded in your local community then focusing on promoting your book internationally may introduce conflict with your calling and extra stress into your life. In this case, seriously consider publishing a book that your congregation and local community is likely to love to read and share. If your congregation and community often talks about the books they are reading, then they are probably avid readers and a longer book may go over well with them, but if they are not big fans of reading then embrace the smaller book size like John Maxwell and consider breaking down your big topic into a book series. Self-publishing may work well for you because the talent in your congregation and community may be all you need to produce a quality book that will make an impact. Claim your free copy of the Author Info Kit to learn more about how to do this.
However, if you often speak at international events, you have a growing online presence via streaming and social media, you often appear in broadcasts that appear on television or radio, you regularly write articles or blog posts that appear in publications that reach thousands of readers, or you travel several times a month to speak in different locations, then marketing to a national or even international audience is more likely to compliment your ministry goals instead of conflicting with it. In this case, write to the people you know and the rest of the world who shares their concerns will still feel as if you wrote it for them, publish using a strategy that makes the most sense for your ministry’s budget and the amount of time staff and volunteers can dedicate to producing and promoting a quality book as part of ministry outreach, and embrace publicity and promotion opportunities that are tied to what you are already doing as part of your ministry outreach while looking for new publicity and promotion opportunities that don’t compromise your primary ministry activities and goals. Claim your free copy of the Author Info Kit to learn more.
Tip #4: Outline The Best Book You Can Write On Your Topic
It’s not uncommon for pastors to have so many ideas about their topic that they don’t know where to start when it comes to writing their book, so just take your time and organize your ideas into a book by starting with your outline and build from there. Even if you have notes and recordings of sermons related to your book’s topic, it would be better to outline the best book you could possibly write and insert the information you’ve shared in the past in addition to writing new information then to force a book out of what you taught before. Your readers will get a much better quality book as a result.
Tip #5: Commit to Keeping Your Book Appointments to Finish Writing and Editing
There’s nothing to it but to do it. Now that you have an outline for your book, dedicate your book appointments to writing your book using the best strategy for your writing personality. After your book is written, be prepared to do at least one round of self-editing and prepare to have three or more rounds of professional editing.
Tip #6: Invite Your Congregation to Read It and Provide Feedback
Everyone doesn’t need to read it before it’s published, but invite a few people who you can trust to give critical feedback on the effectiveness of the overall message so you can keep that in mind while you start the revision and rewriting process.
Tip #7: Ask for Help When You Need It
Being a pastor is challenging enough without adding on stress related to your book, so if you need to bounce ideas off of someone or you are looking for someone to walk with you through the writing process, don’t hesitate to call me at 843-636-3716, email me at TheWriter@DanielleFetherson.com or even book a consultation with me through my website.
As a pastor, you have already committed to spending your life in service of those who need encouragement, support and spiritual guidance. Your book could go a long way towards helping those same people understand how God’s word applies to their specific situation by saying it in a way that resonates better with them than any current Biblical translation, so don’t lose heart while writing your book and let these tips get you closer to realizing your publishing goal. The Author Info Kit is full of more DIY resources, and if you prefer talking with someone who can help you, don’t hesitate to contact me at 843-636-3716, email me at TheWriter@DanielleFetherson.com or even book a consultation with me through my website.