Thursday, January 16, 2014


I recently finished writing my seventh book (The Christian Writer’s Guide to Book Proposals) and sending it off to my editor. It was truly a blessing from God, and a reminder that anything of worth that I produce as a writer (or in any other endeavor, for that matter) is only by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Such an accomplishment may or may not impress you, depending on your perspective. Some people I know find it absolutely amazing that someone could write even one book in their lifetime, let alone seven. On the other hand, I know people who have written literally dozens of books, and so only the seventh one in a 30-year career (in which I’ve spent most of my time editing other people’s books) is hardly awe-inspiring!
All of this makes me wonder if perhaps we overlook many of the blessings we receive from God, and fail to see the great things He’s done in us and through us, because we spend too much time comparing ourselves to others. Paul had the right idea when he said, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Galatians 6:4).
This particular book, by the way, was a special blessing for another reason. It is the first time I have been assigned a book by a publisher, instead of me pitching a book idea to them. My editor at Sonfire Media, my publisher, wants to get me started on a series (The Christian Writer's Guide to . . .), with different titles covering such topics as brainstorming, writing a first draft, revision, and marketing.
There is even the possibility (I might even say the probability) that some books in the series will be written by other authors. That’s OK by me; remember, I’m learning not to compare myself to others, or envy the blessings God gives to someone else. It’s all to the glory of God!
David E. Fessenden is a literary agent with WordWise Media Services and an independent publishing consultant with degrees in journalism and theology, and over 30 years of experience in writing and editing. He has served in editorial management positions for Christian book publishers and was regional editor for the largest Protestant weekly newspaper in the country.
Dave has published six books, written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and edited numerous books. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. In 2011 he pooled his experience in Christian publishing to produce Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract, published by SonFire Media. The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy, Dave’s first novel, reflects his love for history and for the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan-Doyle.
Dave and his wife, Jacque live in south-central Pennsylvania and have two adult sons.

“There are three rules for writing a book,” a famous author once said. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are!”

It’s true—to some extent, the process of writing a book is shrouded in mystery, and is probably the main reason why so many potential authors are simply treading water. Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract helps take the confusion out of the process. Veteran editor Dave Fessenden merges practical advice with spiritual counsel, so that the approach emphasizes the inspirational impact of the author’s material.

To produce a complete, publishable manuscript that will have a real ministry, you need to do a lot of praying, a lot of thinking, a lot of study, a lot of research—and very little actual writing at first—until the creative pressure, the spiritual burden, builds to a critical mass. At that point the book practically writes itself! Well, not really. But if you follow the methods Dave teaches, writing a book should be a bit easier, a bit less mysterious. Concept to Contract can show you how.

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