Parson Place Press LLC
So you want to be a published Christian author. At Parson Place Press, you're one step closer to realizing your dream. What should you do next? Keep reading to find out.
NOTE: If you've read all this content before and just want to proceed to the guidelines section, click here to go directly to the Book Proposal
submission or Manuscript
As a small, independent Christian publisher devoted to first-time Christian authors, Parson Place Press has adopted a co-op approach to Christian publishing. In so doing Parson Place Press is now asking its authors to purchase a minimum of 100 copies of their newly-published books at a specially discounted author's price (wholesale minus the author's royalty share). This option makes it a win-win proposition for both the author and Parson Place Press. This option provides the author with ample copies of his or her book to market, sell, and give away for various marketing and benevolent purposes while helping to offset the cost to Parson Place Press of preparing a new book for publication and distribution. Therefore, effective 7 October 2013, this is Parson Place Press' new policy for publishing new titles.
Yet another option for you to consider as an aspiring author is the possibility of becoming your own
publisher. If you are interested in becoming an independent publisher (like Parson Place Press), you may visit the Be Your Own Publisher site
for more details on how to proceed in that direction. That site is not a part of Parson Place Press, though it is operated by Parson Place Press' founder and managing editor. If you wish to proceed with seeking publication by Parson Place Press, however, and if you are agreeable with purchasing a minimum of 100 copies of your book at the time you sign the publishing agreement, then keep on reading below for details on how to prepare and submit your book proposal and full manuscript for consideration.
Parson Place Press' Publishing Goals
Before you submit your book proposal, please consider whether your book's content fits with Parson Place Press' publishing goals and criteria. Good, heart-warming stories are nice and make for pleasant, uplifting reading, but at Parson Place Press, the goal is to publish literature that overtly and explicitly glorifies God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and urges Christian believers to live a life of righteousness and holiness in compliance with God’s Holy Word. Whether submitting fiction or nonfiction for publication by Parson Place Press, it must meet these strict requirements before it will be considered.
In the non-fictional literature category,
Parson Place Press is looking for content that uses the Bible as the predominant source to teach something spiritually valuable, expound on a theological or doctrinal thought, explain a prophetic insight, etc. Any teaching that cannot be supported by the canonized Bible will not be considered.
In the fictional literature category,
Parson Place Press is looking for stories that contain reality-based, down-to-earth characters and events which demonstrate the practical application of Biblical teaching to daily living. While you may submit fantasy-oriented fiction, Parson Place Press has yet to receive such a story that makes the Bible and/or the Christian’s relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ its undergirding theme. For instance, how does being a Christian and knowing Jesus Christ as one’s Savior make a difference in the life(lives) of the main character(s)?
The overriding purpose of all the literature Parson Place Press publishes is to point the reader to Jesus Christ, accepting His offer of salvation and everlasting life with Him, and living for Him and His glory in this world for the rest of our lives. Literature which does not have an obvious focus on Christ and living the Christian life from a Biblical perspective will not be considered.
What to Submit
- conservatively orthodox, Christian-themed topics and content only; literature that fails this requirement will not be considered for publication by Parson Place Press (why?)
- content that is not currently under consideration for publication by another publisher; in other words, Parson Place Press does not consider simultaneous submissions; if you accept an offer from another publisher while that same manuscript is under consideration by Parson Place Press, Parson Place Press will not consider any of your future submissions for publication
- both fiction and nonfiction
- any genre, e. g., mystery, romance, didactic, apologetics, etc.
- any targeted age group ranging from juvenile (upper elementary or pre-adolescent) to adult
- early childhood or lower elementary level content will not be considered because of the need for the final publication to be extra short and contain full color artwork, which is rather cost-prohibitive to print
What About Book Marketing and Promotion?
Before continuing, you should also consider whether you are ready and willing to take on the task of marketing and promoting your book to the public once it is published. The real challenge in publishing any
book is the work of marketing and promotion of that book. As hard as it is to get published, it's even harder to effectively promote a book to the point where it becomes a good-seller, let alone a best-seller.
While Parson Place Press will submit a press release to your local media announcing your book's release, there's no guarantee that the media will publicize this announcement so that the buying, reading public will hear about it and check it out. Therefore, it's up to you, the author, to promote it however and wherever you can, as often as you can. If you are one of those authors who feels you should just concentrate on writing and let your publisher take care of the publicity and promotion, your book is likely doomed to obscurity from the start, since even so-called traditional publishers leave the lion's share of book promotion up to their authors. The greatest advantage traditional publishers have over small publishers, especially micro-companies like Parson Place Press, is their long-established connections with the media. However, even large, well-established publishers focus the majority of their energy and financial resources on promoting their best-known and/or most successful authors. Who can blame them? That's just good business sense.
Following are just a few suggestions for how you can effectively promote your book. You can read more about these and a few others at Michael L. White's blog
- Website -- Every author needs a Website. If you don't already have one; create one. There are lots of excellent software tools for helping you build a high quality and appealing site. This is one of your best places to showcase yourself and your work, not to mention build a following of loyal readers. If you are not computer savvy enough and/or are unwilling to do this yourself, get someone to do it for you. It's that important.
- Blog -- Every author needs to blog about something. If you don't already have one; create one. Make the content about whatever you wish, but be sure to mention your book and other forthcoming writings you're working on from time to time without annoying your readers with overly-frequent marketing propositions. In fact, if you simply mention that you are working on a forthcoming book and what it's about, you will generate a bit of anticipation among your regular readers. In some cases, you can actually combine your blog and your Website into one. Blogger.com and Wordpress.com are the two most popular, so take your pick.
- Social media -- If you aren't already a member of LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, join all four and start building a following, although it appears that Facebook is much more over-rated than the others. Read all you can about how to use them properly (etiquette). Also, be sure to read Christian Computing Magazine's special issue "The Truth About Social Media and Ministry" published in April 2014, and devoted entirely to the use and validity of social media in a Christian minsitry context. There's much to apply to the Christian author's, publisher's, and marketer's aspects, too. UPDATE: Christian Computing Magazine was renamed Ministry Tech Magazine in June 2015.
The Next Step
If you've made up your mind now that you don't
want to pursue being your own publisher and you want Parson Place Press to consider your book proposal for publication, simply follow the author guidelines printed below to have your written work considered for publication by Parson Place Press. Please read the FAQ section
of this site, too, for more details on Parson Place Press' publishing process. Furthermore, you should use The Christian Writer's Manual of Style as your reference and guide when writing/editing your manuscript for consideration for publication by Parson Place Press.
The only exception that Parson Place Press currently requires to following this manual's recommendations is regarding the use of personal pronouns referring to God. In order to honor the Divinity of God and to clarify any confusion over who a pronoun is referring to, Parson Place Press requires that all manuscripts submitted for consideration capitalize pronouns referring to God. You may refer any questions about style, etc. to the Managing Editor via email
Book Proposal Submissions
Before you send your manuscript, the Managing Editor prefers to read your book proposal first. If you can sell him on the idea for your book and present a strong marketing and promotional plan in your proposal, he will then request a digital copy of your manuscript. However, do not mistake a request to consider your full manuscript as a sign that your manuscript will be accepted for publication. If the Managing Editor decides to reject your manuscript, he will explain his reasons in a written response by email. Now, please read and comply completely with the Book Proposal Format and Preparation
and the Manuscript Format and Preparation requirements
Book Proposal Format and Preparation
Compose and submit your book proposal in Microsoft (MS) Word document file format, per the instructions given below. When preparing your book proposal
for submission, select Margins from the Page Layout tab on Word's task ribbon along the top of the screen, and set up your page as follows:
- 1 inch
- 1 inch
- 1 inch
- 1 inch
- 0 inches
Pages: Multiple pages
Keep the default settings for the Paper and Layout tabs.
Use a Normal, Times New Roman, 12 point font. Use block paragraphing; do not indent the first line of each new paragraph. Use left-justified, single-spaced lines for every paragraph. Double-space after each heading and between paragraphs.
You are free to develop the proposal however you choose, but it should include at least these elements:
- a working title
- the author's actual name and any pen name used
- a brief, general description of the main subject of the book
- a brief description of the book's plot, if a work of fiction
- a proposed Contents page (i.e., a list of your book's chapter titles; this is very important!); this may be omitted only if your book is a work of fiction which does not use chapter titles
- the target audience of the book
- a brief biography of the author (not your whole life story; a couple of paragraphs about your place of birth and upbringing, education, and current city/state/country of residence will suffice)
- a strong, convincing plan for how you, the author, plan to market and promote your book
- and two sample chapters.
The object here is clarity and brevity. Your book proposal should be as clear as possible while remaining as brief as possible, not exceeding two full pages.
Of course, the two sample chapters are separate, but in addition to, the two-page book proposal, so they are not subject to these page total limitations. If you have any questions before submitting your book proposal, you may contact the Managing Editor, Michael White, by email to email@example.com
. If he likes your book proposal, he will request a digital copy of your manuscript. Use the following guidelines for your full manuscript submission. However, DO NOT
submit your full manuscript until requested.
If the Managing Editor requests to see your full manuscript, you should submit it according to the following guidelines. Just in case the Managing Editor decides to accept it for publication by Parson Place Press, submitting your manuscript using the following formatting will lessen the amount of work the editor and formatter needs to do to prepare it for publication, thereby expediting the preparation for publication process. If you have already finished your manuscript without using this formatting, you may skip down
to the section below which explains how to quickly reformat your manuscript in compliance with these guidelines.
Manuscript Format and Preparation
All manuscripts submitted to Parson Place Press must be in MS Word 2007 or later document file format. Using the following guidelines will expedite the editing and preparation process if your manuscript is accepted for publication by Parson Place Press.
When preparing your manuscript
for submission, select Word's Page Layout from the task ribbon along the top of Word's interface, and set up your page as follows on the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog:
- .5 inches
- .5 inches
- .5 inches
- .5 inches
- .25 inches
Pages: Multiple pages
- Mirror margins
Apply to: Whole document
Keep the factory default settings for the Paper and Layout tabs.
Use a Normal, Georgia, 12 point font, though individually italicized or bold words for emphasis is allowed. Use justified, one-and-one-half line spacing (1.5 lines) for every paragraph. Do not add extra lines between paragraphs, but do
triple-space (equivalent of pressing the ENTER key twice when set to 1.5 line spacing) after each chapter title, and triple-space before and after any charts, graphs, computer screen shots, etc.
To make paragraph formatting easier, when you first begin typing your manuscript, you can have Word automatically format every paragraph for
you when you insert a carriage return (i.e., when you press the ENTER key). To do this, simply place your cursor at the beginning of the first line of the first paragraph of your text and then click on the diagonally-right-downward-pointing arrow in the bottom right corner of the Paragraph section on the Page Layout tab of the task ribbon or you may use the ALT+O+P keyboard combo. When the Paragraph dialog appears, use the following settings:
Indents and Spacing tab
Select Justified from the Alignment: box
Select Body text from the Outline: box.
Choose First line from the Special: box
Type .25" in the By: box
Type 0 pt (zero point) in both the Before: and After: boxes
Select "1.5 lines" from the Line spacing: box
Make sure the At: box is blank
Line and Page Breaks tab
Make sure all boxes are un
the "Widow/Orphan control" checkbox. Make sure the "Widow/Orphan control" checkbox is checked. Everything else will be taken care of during the editing and preparation process.
Do NOT create page headers or footers with pagination or book title and author information on them, as this also will be handled by the manuscript formatter during the final formatting process. Furthermore, if your book uses footnotes, move them (along with their bibliographical references) to an "End Notes" page at the end of your manuscript.
How to Quickly Reformat Your Manuscript
If you've already finished your manuscript, and you're now wondering how to quickly reformat all your paragraphs to fit these requirements, here's how to do that in minutes, instead of hours.
- Create a New document and set all of the settings as provided in the instructions above
- Next, open the existing document containing your finished manuscript and press the CTRL+A keyboard combination to select the entire contents of the document
- Next, right-click your mouse and choose Copy from the pop-up menu to copy the selected contents onto your computer's clipboard
- Click your mouse pointer anywhere on the page to unselect everything (use EXTREME CARE at this point NOT to press any key(s) on your keyboard, as this will delete everything that is selected! However, if you should accidentally do that, press the CTRL+Z keyboard combination ONLY ONCE to UNDO the action; if you hold down this combination continuously, it will undo every recent change you've made to your document, including changes you meant to make!)
- Now, switch to the window of the New document you created earlier, click your mouse pointer anywhere within the New document's blank content area, and either right-click your mouse pointer and choose Paste from the pop-up menu or press the CTRL+V keyboard combination to paste the clipboard's contents into the New document. Again, press and release the V key ONLY ONCE, as holding it down will cause your computer to paste the contents repeatedly until you release the key!
- A small rectangular icon with a clipboard image at the left end, the characters "(Ctrl)" in the center, and a drop-down arrow at the right end should appear at the end of the contents you just pasted into the New document
- Click on the drop-down arrow on the icon and choose the "Merge Formatting (M)" option (identified by a tool tip when you hover your mouse pointer over the clipboard icon with the right-curving arrow on it, the second one from the left)
- Finally, save the New document with a name of your choosing which easily identifies and distinguishes this document from your original manuscript file, and you are ready to attach it to an email and send it to Parson Place Press
If, for any reason, this method does not work for you, you may try the next best option as follows:
- FIRST, do a Save as on your manuscript's current filename and rename it something different, like "BOOK NAME for Parson Place Press", where BOOK NAME stands for your book's title. This is a very wise precaution. In case your attempt to reformat turns your work into a complete, jumbled mess, you can always delete that file, do another Save as, and try again. Your original work remains intact.
- Now, highlight all of the text in each chapter, except the chapter title and any charts, graphs, photos, etc. You can do this simply by placing your cursor at the beginning of the text block, scrolling to the end of the text block, then holding down the Shift key and clicking your mouse after the last character in that text block. This will immediately highlight everything in the entire text block. Take extreme care at this point NOT to press any other keys on the keyboard. If you should accidentally hit a key while your text block is highlighted, you can hold down the Control key and then press and release the Z key to undo that action. However, do NOT hold down the Z key continuously, or it will undo all your recent changes up to the maximum number of changes stored in Word's memory, including the changes you meant to make!
- Next, click on the small diagonally-right-downward-pointing arrow in the bottom right corner of the Paragraph section on the task ribbon along the top of Word to open the Paragraph dialog. You may also try the ALT+O+P keyboard combination to open this dialog. Tweak all the settings to match those listed above. Finally, click the OK button on the Paragraph dialog, and wait for Word to complete the formatting function. You can watch the status bar along the bottom of the page where the page numbers and section numbers are shown. When the last page is formatted, you can continue proofing your manuscript for other items you want to change/correct.
Book Proposal and Manuscript Email Submission Requirements
Send your completed book proposal by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
. The Managing Editor will render a decision as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, that there are numerous proposals and manuscripts under simultaneous consideration, so please be patient
. If your full manuscript is requested for further consideration, the Managing Editor will provide you with the appropriate email address where to send it when requested.
The preferred method of receiving book proposals and manuscripts is by email attachment, because this is the most expeditious means and because it lessens the likelihood of receiving damaged or corrupted media through the regular mail. However, postal submissions will be accepted, PROVIDED that you put your work on a CD or USB drive. Although printed book proposals will be considered, NO PRINTED MANUSCRIPTS WILL BE ACCEPTED
, because the editor will NOT re-type or scan any manuscripts before sending them to the printers. You will be notified by email, if you included a valid email address, whether or not it has been accepted for publication. If you choose to mail your manuscript, send it to:
Parson Place Press LLC
ATTN: Manuscript Submissions
P. O. Box 8277
Mobile, Alabama 36689-0277
If the Managing Editor rejects your mailed book proposal or manuscript, he will discard and/or delete all copies of your book proposal or manuscript in his possession and notify you by email, providing a valid email address is given (which is the preferred method of contact). If you do not provide a valid email address with your regular mail submission, the editor will notify you via regular mail if you have provided a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE). If you do not provide a SASE for this purpose, you will not be notified. If you wish to have your CD or USB drive returned to you, you MUST provide a SASE or pre-paid package mailer for this purpose. Neither Parson Place Press nor any agent working on its behalf will be liable for lost or damaged media returned to you using the SASE or package mailer you provide.
If you wish to insure a return package mailer, you may opt to pay the cost of return shipping by credit or bank card through Parson Place Press' online payment system. The Managing Editor will provide you with the URL to this site at the time you decide to use this option.
If you still have questions, please browse the frequently asked questions (FAQ)
page for more details. If you do not find your questions answered there, you may send an email to email@example.com for further assistance.