Friday, May 24, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Eddie Jones

We are less than two weeks away from the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8, and I have another faculty member as my guest. Eddie Jones shares about Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, where he serves as Acquisitions Editor.

Welcome, Eddie. Please give us a snapshot of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

At Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas we embrace the new book publishing business model that favors Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook e-books over long press runs and warehouse inventories. We sell print books through traditional retail stores and offer standard industry discounts and support returns, but for our authors the real money is in e-book sales.
For example, in 2012 we sold over 50,000 copies of our books and paid over $25,000 in royalties. A large majority of our sales are from Kindle e-book sales.

Another aspect of our business model that sets us apart from other houses is our monthly payment schedule. We believe authors should be paid promptly for their work – not quarterly or semi-annually. For this reason we issue monthly royalty checks: often in the hundreds of dollars.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at Write-to-Publish?

Part of our mission is to launch new careers. That’s why I enjoy meeting with new authors who have great manuscripts. At conferences I’m looking for the unpublished author that probably will not land a 3-book deal with a large house but is ready to have their book published with a traditional, royalty-paying publisher. 

Our authors include Christy Award winners and new writers whose books found their first home with the small press. We are looking for nonfiction and fiction that reflects God’s truth. Recently, the American Christian Fiction Writers recognized LPC as an approved ACFW publisher and that has helped to expand our acquisition department.

Within fiction we have one standard for judging a work: Is it biblical? Not biblical as in preaching or teaching, but rather, could the story, scenes, and theme be overlaid with Old and New Testament narratives?

For example, does your novel deal with rape (Genesis 34: 1-7), incest (Genesis 19:30-38), or taking your family on a sailing trip (Genesis 9:20-23)? Does it show a man in high office seducing an office staffer (2 Samuel 11)? Provided the scene is organic to the story and does not seek to glorify the act, but rather shows its consequences, we will consider it for publication.

When our books project an agenda (and all stories have an agenda), they point to the goodness of God and his unfailing love, - a love that is expressed most often through the lives of characters in story-form. We believe there is a large market for these types of stories.

I know you attend many conferences. What do you see as the positive things for writers who attend conferences?

Backdoor opportunities. Without an agent, it is nearly impossible to make a connection with a traditional house. For this reason, a writers’ conference can serve as a backdoor into book publishing. Here you get to meet with editors and agents and pitch your story. 

A writers’ conference is like Cinderella’s Grand Ball. You’ll spend several hundred dollars and take time off from work and family, but those few hours may change your life.

Education is another key benefit. Due to appointments with conferees and my own teaching schedule, I no longer have the luxury of sitting in on writing classes, but I try to grab the class audio files from every conference I attend. On my iPod I have WTP class audio from Susan May Warren, Steven James, Doc Hensley, and many others. When I travel I listen to these classes and take notes in order to improve my writing. I would encourage every author that wants to improve their writing to attend a conference and purchase the class audio files.

Finally, the chance to worship and fellowship with other authors is a huge benefit. In some ways, these peer connections are the best part of a conference. I may only see them once a year but we share a kindred spirit and calling. I can honestly say that the individuals I have met at WTP are my church.

Thanks, Eddie.

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