The Writing Life: Published?

Thoughts from Curt Iles

I’ve made a new friend via the Internet, Doug from Canada. He had several questions on self-publishing and perseverance. Here are some of my thoughts.

On Rejection:

Rejection is the badge of honor of any writer working hard to be published. In spite of the success God has blessed me with (sales of over 20,000 cumulative on 7 books) I’ve dealt closely with rejection. There is a saying in publishing: “All you need is one more submission than rejection.”

On learning more about the publishing world:

One book I’d recommend is Sally Stuart’s annual book, The Christian Writer’s Market Guide. It shares about the great opportunities out there.

I am currently reading a book on self publishing companies entitled Top Self Publishing Firms by Stacie Vander Pol. It explores the pros and cons of the best self-publishing/POD (“Print on Demand”) companies such as Outskirts, iUniverse,, Authorhouse.

What about submission services like “”

I’ve submitted two books to Writer’s Edge. One was rejected (The Mockingbird’s Song) and it has been my most fulfilling book. The second one was accepted (The Wayfaring Stranger my first novel) but I never received “a bite” except from an African publisher.

On getting your foot in the door:

My advice from my vantage point is to look for an agent. Most publishers only work with a reputable agent. Stuart’s book will list many agents. Check references and find agents who have satisfied clients. My agent is Terry Burns of Hartline Agency.

Having a platform
Because I have an active speaking platform (0ver 100 events per year) and have built a strong reader base (2500 solid mailing addresses and 1200 email contacts) I’ve had success with self-publishing. However, it is not for the faint of heart as you are putting your own money on the line.

Can you tell me about the pros and cons of self-publishing?
Yes. Pros of self-publication: control of product, reward, satisfaction.

Cons: Risk of having a closet full of unsold books. No one can produce a book as good as the pros.
Constant need for marketing, speaking, and promotion . Another con of self-publishing is distribution. Most of the chains do not deal with independently published books. Therefore it is difficult to reach beyond a regional audience.

Also, if I do decide to pursue self-publishing, do you have a preferred self-publishing service that you would recommend?

See the books I mentioned. Also google the Jenkins Book Group website and look at their IPPY awards. (These are for self-pub books.) Look at the publishers that show up over and over. They’re the best.

A parting shot

Go for your dreams as God leads. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.
There are two kinds of writers: Both have been rejected countless times. The first type gives up out of disappointment and frustration.

The second type, the kind you and I want to be, gets back up after rejection and keeps writing, submitting, and never quits doing what he/she feels called to do.

I firmly believe many writers in the first group are as talented, if not more so, than the latter.
The only difference is the traits of resolve and persistence.


Curt Iles

One comment

  1. Good comments, Curt, I enjoyed it. If life were fair publishing would be all about the writing. In truth, however, it is all about persistence . . . staying the course until that elusive connection is made. This isn’t just something that happens to writers, but musicians, artists, actors, you name it. For every ont that makes it there are hundreds more out there with as much or even more talent who have not yet made that elusive connect. Most will cease to try and never will. The dedicated will do what it takes.


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