Holy Week: Easter Sunday

"Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said." (Matthew 28: 5-6)

He is risen! Alleluia! A Joy beyond all understanding is upon us. Christ lives!

Easter is the beginning of our new life with Christ. Let's renew our commitment to live a holy life. Let's create time for additional prayer where we can commune our Risen Lord. Let's ask the Risen Christ for courage and strength we need to become faithful witnesses to the World.

Holy Week: Holy Saturday

"We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life." (Romans 6: 4)

Today, the darkness of the tomb begins to be replaced with a growing joy and anticipation. Christ will soon rise to defeat death and to throw open the gates of Heaven.

Let's reflect for a few moments on the ways in which Christ has brought us out of our own personal dark moments and carried our weaknesses and fears, our troubles and doubts, into the light of a new day. Let's rejoice and give thanks to God for our wondrous salvation.

Holy Week: Good Friday

"But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all." (Isaiah 53:5-6)

3:00 PM. The blackest hour. Jesus has died. Innocent of all crime, He willingly went to the cross for one reason and one reason only--so that you might live. You. It's personal. If the only sin on earth was the white lie you told last week, He would have been born and suffered and died, so that you would not have to pay the wage for that sin: death.

Yes, this is a black day. We have crucified Christ with our sins. Let's try to keep an awareness of Our Lord's suffering in our hearts throughout the day, and at three o'clock, let's pause for a moment or two of silent meditation as a remembrance of Jesus breathing his last.

Holy Week: Holy Thursday

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28) 

On this night, Jesus celebrated the Passover seder with His disciples. An important day for all Christians--the day Christ tells us of the new and everlasting covenant. For Catholics, this holds an additional significance: The institution of the Eucharist, the "source and summit" of the faith, which is Christ's Body and Blood.

Let's reflect today on the blood of the new covenant. By His stripes we are healed. By His blood we are redeemed. By His resurrection, we are saved from death. As we walk into tomb with Him, we have a reason to celebrate!

Catholics, let's also ask for the graces we need to truly believe in Christ's presence in the Eucharist and to approach the altar with reverence and awe.

Holy Week: Wednesday

The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.  Morning after morning  he opens my ear that I may hear;  And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield  from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." (Isaiah 50:4-7)

Let's reflect on Isaiah's words which foretell Our Lord's suffering. We've all said or done things that have caused others to suffer. Let's call to mind those times and ask forgiveness for times we have caused others to suffer.

Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

Lately, a case of style versus aggravation has cropped up in a few pieces of work I have viewed: the "verbless" sentence.

I am undecided as to whether authors attempting this form of style are doing so because they are trying to eliminate passive verbs (which are not all bad, as some authors may believe) or if they are attempting to make the dialogue and the thoughts of a character more realistic.

Granted, using a dash of this technique provides an interesting variation, but to fold in an entire cupful of "verbless" sentences is a distraction.

An example of this type of structure would be utilized in a paragraph such as:

My word! No couth, that one. None at all. Rather a viper in starlet’s clothing. A heartless scoundrel. A gold digger.

In all truthfulness, an editor would probably leave this paragraph alone because it definitely works to tell the reader exactly what the character thinks of this heartless viper of a starlet. However, if the author used this type of sentence structure throughout the manuscript, what would then make this paragraph stand out?

In a sequence such as the one following, there isn’t anything particularly interesting going on that needs emphasis or style, and the lack of verbs make the thoughts tiresome:

The store? Why? Tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow. Not today.

When an author decides to use a style technique such as verbless sentences, her edits should include a careful perusal of the manuscript to determine if the usages have turned from “style” to “aggravation for the reader.”

Happy editing.

Holy Week: Tuesday

"I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)

We are called to be a light to the world. To be a witness for Jesus in our thoughts, words, and deeds. But how easy it is to put on Christianity for a few hours on Sunday, and then set it down on Tuesdays--especially if we are put into an uncomfortable situation. But how faithful is that, to be a Christian only when it is convenient or there is no risk involved?

Let's take a few moments to reflect on how easy it is sometimes to fall from grace. Judas was a faithful apostle, but then betrayed Jesus in the worst way. Peter was a faithful Apostle, but then denied Jesus three times before he realized his mistake and repented. Let's examine our own lives to identify weaknesses or temptations that may cause us to betray Our Lord if we are not careful.

Make-A-Story™ - Monday's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term.  It means writing what the publisher wants.  Can you do it?  In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements.  The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view.   
A batch of cookies
A stray cat
A violin

Holy Week: Monday

"Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

Monday of Holy Week is a day that can be almost lost in the daily grind of everyday life. We're looking towards Easter, but see no special significance in this day. We're waiting for the week to pass, waiting on Resurrection Day to arrive. Many of us don't like waiting. It makes us antsy. But great things can come out of waiting.

Mary and Martha had to wait for Jesus. Lazarus died while they were waiting. Yet, Jesus didn't forsake them. He had a miracle in store, and he raised Lazarus from the tomb. What a great resurrection day that was! Do you think witnesses to that miracle had their faith strengthened?

Today, let's ask Jesus to raise us above any obstacles that prevent us from drawing nearer to Him. Let's take a few moments to reflect on the blessings God has placed in our midst--those both large and small.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

Each year, I like to repost some reflections on holy week. They may be repeat posts, but the sentiment is not stale. Let's remember, His love and sacrifice is the same, today, yesterday, and always.  Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) marks the beginning of the holiest week in the year. This is the week of our redemption. The week Jesus made salvation open to all. As we work our way towards Easter, lets take a few moments each day to remember why we call ourselves Christians.

I pray you all have a faith-filled and holy week that brings you closer to Christ.

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Luke 19:38)

Today marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem to joyful cheers of," Hosannah." So many people loved him. So many had witnessed his miracles of healing and hope. The believed Jesus was the key to a better life--and they were right!

Let's take some time to focus on those things that will help us to strengthen the faith we have in Jesus' promises. Let's ask ourselves: Have we made improvements in our prayer life? Have we offered sacrifices to God? Have we given alms or service to those in need? Do we truly believe He is the Messiah enough to put ourselves and our understanding aside and fully rely in Him?

Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

He, him, she, her, they, their, and them: such simple words, which can give writers a large problem. When an author’s fingers are flying across the keyboard he doesn’t always stop to make sure that the pronouns used are a match. The misuse of pronouns is such a common occurrence that many readers don’t recognize the author’s mistake. I speak from experience.

He, him, she, and her are singular forms. They, their, and them are plural forms. The truth is, most people recognize this fact. However, when writing, authors are prone to structure a sentence like this: A student (note: one student) should always turn in their (more than one student) homework.

This example should be easy enough to correct: A student should always turn in his homework.

Now, though, another problem has been created for readers who feel that the use of a masculine pronoun is sexist. A is an indefinite article. In this case, “a student” can refer to every student (whether male or female) because every student should turn in his or her homework. At this point, the author is slapping his forehead and saying, “You’ve got to be kidding. I have to use both he and she in every sentence with that structure?”

No. A better solution exists: Students (more than one/gender neutral) should turn in their (plural/gender neutral) homework.

Non-fiction authors have a problem keeping the gender neutrality throughout their work. Even in the writing of this blog, I have run across the problem. Making the “sexist” proponents happy is a very laborious task. My thoughts about keeping such readers content is stated above: "You've got to be kidding." And I add: "Get over yourself."

My solution: I’d rather offend someone by forgetting about the neutrality than I would want to offend a readership who will very quickly grow tired of the continual use of “he and she” in every sentence. I also want to remain grammatically correct, so I refuse to concede.

The best solution for this dilemma is for an author to state that for simplicity’s sake, the masculine or the feminine form of the pronouns will be used and that said form is meant to be inclusive of both genders.

However, an author should always be diligent in their self-edits and look for conflicting pronouns. They should keep an eye out for their mistakes.

Oops, let me rephrase that: An author should always be diligent in his self-edits and look for conflicting pronouns. He should keep an eye out for his mistakes.

Happy editing,

Make-A-Story™ - Monday's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term.  It means writing what the publisher wants.  Can you do it?  In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements.  The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view.   
A guitar
A giraffe
A gable

Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

As discussed in previous posts, a self-editing checklist is often a helpful tool for authors. Today, I’d like to share some words that are often confused, and adding these to your checklist will save you time when self-editing:

Acute/chronic: A good way to remember the difference in these words is to think of pain. A chronic pain is unyielding. Acute pain is at its most painful or critical point.

Affluent/effluent: Both words deal with the flow of water. Affluent water flows into; effluent water flows out. Also affluent can deal with an overflowing of riches, etc.

All right/alright: Although increasing in usage, the experts agree. It is never all right to use “alright.”

Calendar/calender: The first is a chart showing the days of the week, month, and year. The second is a machine that is used to glaze of smooth paper or cloth.

Chord/cord: Chord has to do with music; cord is a rope or something that connects (tangible or intangible).

Desert/desert/deserts/dessert: Desert (noun) is a dry wasteland; desert (verb) is to abandon; deserts (noun): a just reward or punishment, such as “She received her just deserts.” A dessert is the sweet dish served as the last course of a meal, or a sweet treat.

Faithful/fateful: Faithful is loyal and dependable; fateful is an event or outcome controlled by fate.

Hanged/hung: One of my favorites: People are hanged and objects are hung. Easy enough.

Hoard/horde: A hoard is a stash or hiding place; a horde is a crowd of people.

Mantel/mantle: These words are confused by many writers. A mantel is the shelf or ledge over a fireplace while a mantle is a cloak or a cover.

From time to time, I’ll bring more information to add to your personal checklists.
Happy editing.

Make-A-Story™ - Monday's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term.  It means writing what the publisher wants.  Can you do it?  In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements.  The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view.   
A lost cat
An old love letter

Make-A-Story™ - Monday's writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term.  It means writing what the publisher wants.  Can you do it?  In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements.  The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view.  
An old photograph found in a Bible
A rose bush
A spool of purple thread  

Book Videos, Reviews & Other Promo Q & A

Well, I said I'd be back to answer more questions. As promised, I'll try to be more brief.

At this time, even though it may not be relevant to Q&A, I want to let everyone know that all PBG staff and I love what we do. Our authors are awesome and talented individuals, and we enjoy working wtih them, getting to know them both professionally and oftentimes on more personal level. We love finding and nurturing new talent. We love building lasting relationships with our authors (look at how many of our authors have multiple titles with us). And, we love producing products that both entertain and uplift. That's a lot of love going around...There's truly nothing like it!

OK, down to business because I promised to be brief.
  • Book videos: Do you create book videos for your books?
  • Answer: Sometimes.We don't create videos for all books. But we try to create them for series books and books that we feel convert well--promo-wise--to a visual medium. It's my belief right now that book videos are a novelty. I'm not convinced they do anything to increase sales, but they are--or can be--very cool, so I look to them more as TOMA (top-of-mind-awareness) advertising that hopefully will cement the author's name in the viewer's mind.
  • Reviews: Do you send books out for reviews? How many reviews do your books receive?
  •   Answer: Yes. All books get sent to a specific list of reviewers--or I should say, our list of titles gets sent to reviewers. Some reviewers want actual books submitted, some want only a list. We accommodate their requests accordingly. As far as how many reviews we receive, that varies per title. We can't guarantee a title will receive any reviews. It's up to the reviewer/review sites to choose which titles they will read. Some titles receive a multitude of reviews, some titles receive only one or a few, and some titles are never picked up for review.

  • Marketing: Do you give the same marketing budget to all books.
  • Answer: Technically we don't have a "budget" -- as in, there is never an allotted dollar amount that is set aside for marketing any specific title. I can say that we treat all books equally, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the same amount of money is spent on all titles. As I stated earlier, not all titles get book trailers, so there's one example. What we try to do is discern what a title needs as far as promo. It goes without saying (even though I'm about to say it!) that we want every title in our catalogue to do well and sell like hotcakes, so we do what we can to make that happen. For one title, that may mean procuring a book video. For another title, it may mean doing a specialized promo in the author's local market. For another, that may mean web site banner ads, email blasts, or magazine/eZine ads, and so on. Just as no two books are alike, our marketing strategies (and therefore the "budget") vary per title.

  • Blog Tours: Do you sponsor book/blog tours for your authors
  • Answer: Sometimes. Sometimes an author sets up those things on his/her own--in which case we do help advertise the tour. Sometimes we set up tours for authors. We do think that tours are great advertising, and we do usually (regardless of whether the tour is set up by us or the author) provide some type of giveaway for the tour (usually the author's current or previous eBook; or a gift certificate to our store). I do think that blog tours are great advertising. They may not amass immediate sales results, but because blog posts are out there forever, blog tours do affect search result ranking, which can definitely help an author in the long run. 

  • Sales: Can you guarantee sales? What's the average number of books a title sells?
  • Answer: No. Couldn't tell you. I wish we could guarantee sales. Truth is, we can't. We can take any two titles, treat them exactly the same (create a book video, advertise on web sites, in magazines, run free promo, procure reviews...), have both authors do exactly the same thing (promo, tweet, tour...) and one book will soar the other will crawl. In my previous post I mentioned what I observe to be the most successful authors/titles commercially and spiritually, and that was the truth, but still not a guarantee. The way I look at it, we all (author and publisher) must do everything we can to promote a book, make sure readers know about and have access to it, but beyond that, we have no control over whether the reader will actually purchase the book. 
     As far as average numbers. I couldn't tell you because I don't figure averages. Averages are irrelevant. If a book is crawling, it doesn't matter that forty other books are soaring--not to the author of that crawling book, anyway, right? We've had some titles sell only a hundred copies in the life of the title (usually a short story by an author who has no other titles available). We've had some titles fly out at thousands of copies in a month, tens-of-thousand in a quarter. 
    When it comes down to it, we have to leave it to God. I have faith that as long as we (author and publisher) are doing everything we know we should be doing, as long as we have our priorities straight, as long as we truly want to glorify God in our work, then He works it out. Here's a true story: we had an author who had a story with us. For a couple years (yes, I said years!) the story crawled. Then for some reason, one month, it just took off. To this day I have no idea why. Except, that it must have been a God-thing. I firmly believe that He makes sure the "right" people read our books at just the "perfect" time. We just have to remain steadfast in Him. If we don't, we could go crazy with the "why isn't this working" and "what am I doing wrong" and "why is so-and-so doing so much better." Perhaps its not an issue of something not working; perhaps it's an issue of it working sloowwwwly. Perhaps it's not an issue of doing something wrong; perhaps its an issue of needing to wait for God to reveal just how right it is. Perhaps it's not an issue of so-and-so doing better; perhaps it's an issue of so-and-so's time being "now"--or so-and-so having commercial success but lacking spiritual success (or vice-versa). 
    I've said it before, but I believe wholeheartedly: we have to think about Christ's crucifixion. What looked like defeat was ultimate victory when coupled with the Resurrection. When it comes to publishing Christian fiction, if we're going to label it (and rightly) Christian, then we have to--absolutely have to--trust that He works all things for the good--no matter what it looks like in the here and now.

OK, I did it again...went on and on and on...So, I'll close now. (This was more brief than the last post, I do believe :)

One last Q&A: Do you like parenthetical statements. Answer: Evidently, I do!

Happy writing, everyone. God bless you!

Catholic Characters, Contracts & More: Q&A

I often get asked questions about what we publish, how our editing process works, how I decide what to contract, and a myrid of questions so colourful they could rival the Northern Lights. So, I decided I'd tackle some of those questions here today.

  • Catholic Characters: Will you publish Catholic-themed stories or stories that feature Catholic characters? 
  • Answer: Absolutely. I've heard about and recognize the aversion some publishers of Christian fiction have towards including Catholicism on any level within the text of their titles. It is true that there are many Christians who believe the Catholic Church is not a Christian denomination, and so to publish a Catholic-themed story is to risk alienating a certain percentage of potential readers. Alienation is not something any of us want to prosper, so I do understand a natural hesitation on the part of publishers that are looking at the bottom line.

    I do not ascribe to the belief that Catholicsm is not a Christian denomination. I've studied extensively the history and offficial teachings of the Catholic Church and know that Catholicsm is as Christian in its official doctrine as Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist...and so many other Trinitarian-based denominations are. (That said, I don't want to get into a theological ping-pong match, so if you disagree, let's just agree to disagree. Theology isn't the point to this post.) The point is: since I know the Catholic Church is Christian, I will never exclude Catholic themes or characters from Pelican titles. I don't want to alienate readers, either, but I won't pass up a well-written story that has a fantastic and uplifting message based on "possible" denominational prejudices. 

    What I will pass on is a well-written story that contains flawed theology--regardless of the denominational background of the author, characters or theme. I pray daily to publish only those stories that glorify God and which He wants me to publish. I don't care if the author is known, unknown, had a first book that flopped, had a multitude of NY Times bestsellers (OK, let's face it, I don't see authors who've had a multitude of NY Times bestsellers [yet], but, I'm just saying...) What matters is the message. If that message, even subtly, conveys something about the Trinitarian God that is either faulty or misleading, I won't publish it. That said, the majority of our titles are "generic" in that the Christian themes are universal in their Christianity and don't refer to denomination--and that's OK, too. Again, it's about the message.
  • Advances: Do you offer advances?
  •   Answer: Yes. We do offer advances, but not as a general rule, and when we do, they are nominal (as in, you are not going to be able to pay your mortgage with it, but you might could go out to dinner). The reason for this is two-fold: We are a small company, so I prefer to use capital to produce and market our titles. And, I want to work with authors who aren't "all about the money." Before you get offended by that last statement, let me explain. First, there's nothing wrong with wanting to make money. Let me repeat that: There's nothing wrong with wanting to make money. But, there's something to keep in mind when it comes to an advance: an advance isn't "extra" money, it's royalties paid in advance of sales. If a title sells, the author will earn royalties. Whether royalties are paid in advance or after the sale, the earnings are the same (get a thousand dollar advance, you don't see any more cash until sales have exceeded a thousand dollars in royalty payout. Get $0 advance, you see royalties accrued/paid immediately). Now, that said, and before I get hog-tied and flogged, I understand how much an author has put into writing a manuscript, and I believe authors deserve to get paid for their talent and time; I don't dispute that at all. I actually want that, but the question becomes, should the money be given before or in arrears of sales? The answer to that question will vary, and sometimes may be indicative of an underlying attitude/belief/fear. (AUTHOR: if I don't get an advance, I may never get any money out of this. If I get an advance, the pubisher will be forced to market my book. If I don't get an advance my peers will look down on me. If I don't get an advance, I'm cheapening the value of my work... PUBLISHER: if I invest this money, will I see a good ROI. If I invest this money, will the author help promote...)

    Here's something to consider as an author: Are you willing to put your efforts into marketing? (something publishers large and small will desire) Do you believe your book will sell? (if it does, you'll earn money, whether in advance or after sale) Are you willing to work with a publisher to ensure your book's success? (I hope so, if you sign with us. From edits through the entire life of the contract, we want to work with our authors, nurture careers.) Now, let's take a look at it from perspectives: As an author, you want your publisher to promote your book after publication, right? You don't want your publisher to put the book out there and then do nothing, right? You want your publisher to seek reviews, to advertise your book, to promote your book via sales promos and giveaways and ad campaigns, etc., right? (to put time and money into it) You don't want your publisher to say, "I'm a book publisher; I've published your book. It's available on Amazon, so my job is done," right? Exactly! So understand, a publisher (or at least this publisher) doesn't want authors to say, "I'm an author. I've written the book, I've done my edits, so give me my advance; my job is done." Publishers want authors who understand that the success of a title rests on teamwork between publisher and author--and oftentimes, the availability of more than one title. Publishers want authors who are willing to peddle their wares, so to speak (and I don't mean spend a lot of money, necessarily, but rather to be present, willing and able to participate in venues and co-ops). Publishers want authors who believe in their own message and talent. (I'm getting ready to make a generalization here, so don't beat me up if you don't fit the bill. I'm not trying to make a statement about anyone who doesn't fit the following description), but in my experience, the authors who are the most successful are the ones who don't care about up-front money--or money at all, for that matter--who have four or more titles available, who are regularly FB'ing, tweeting, blogging about their books and their fellow-authors' books, who are publicly joyous (as in not flinging negativity about anything). Those are the happy authors, the successful authors both commercially and spirtually. They relish in the fact their messages are out there, that readers write to them to offer positive feedback, and an advance can't procure any of that. But teamwork can. Those are the authors who receive  decent royalty cheques. (Ack! I know this answer ended up being more in scope with earnings in general rather than just advances.)

  • Contracts: Is your contract term really for ten years? Can I see a sample of your contract?
  •   Answer: Yes. No. Our initial contract term is, as of this writing, ten years. Contrary to what some would say, this is not "against industry standard." The fact is, contract terms vary anywhere from one year to the life of the copyright (which is basically forever, right?). The reason our contract term is ten years is two-fold. One of the reasons is good, one of them, I consider sad. The good reason is because we actively seek the sale of subsidiary rights such as audio, large print, foreign language, etc. Oftentimes, this requires us to allow someone else the right to produce said subsidary product for a term of five, seven years or longer. If we don't have those rights, we can't give those rights, so to have an initial term less than ten years, hinders our ability to properly market the work.
    The second--and sad--reason is one that we haven't personally experienced (as far as I know), praise the Lord, but one other publishers are seeing. With the increase in self-publishing, some authors seem to be signing with a publisher for a year or two, pulling their now-popular, marketed, freely and professionally edited title, (regardless of sales numbers or repute of publisher) and then self-publishing it--sometimes before the publisher has recouped their investment in the project, or while a subsequent book in the series is still under contract. While I hope this is not a growing trend, but rather an exception; and while I hope we never see this happen with PBG or in any other Christian arena, I felt it was best to avoid such eventuality. (We put time, effort and money into our projects, and while this supposed trend by some authors may not be illegal, it's certainly a detriment--especially in the instance of a series--not only to that one particular authors' works, but to all authors within a house if this negatively affects the publisher). 
    Ten years accommodated both issues I've mentioned. As many will probably agree, ten years goes by pretty quickly. (I still feel as if it's 1999 :) ), so I don't feel it's an exhorbitant length of time; but it does mean that both author and publisher will be committed to a project (which is a good thing, by the way. I figure if author and publisher are both reputable, then "being joined at the hip" for ten years isn't going to be so bad.) and it means PBG is free to peddle those subsidiary rights without a time-hindrance, and hopefully can create additional earnings for both author and publisher. (In case you're wondering, we do employ a foreign rights agent; and we do have several audiobooks productions with more on the way).
    As far as us posting a sample of our contract; it won't happen. I don't beleive a contract is for public consumption, and while in general I do not negotiate the terms of our contract, it may change per deal, so there's no reason to put out a sample because said sample mightn't be accurate to the any particular project offer, anyway. I will say this, though: I've done everything I can to make our contract as lurcrative and protective of both author and publisher as I can, and I've received positive comments from more than one literary agent on the quality of our contract, so I think we've done a pretty good job of being fair and clear and on par. 
    Lastly, I think it's important to say this about contracts. As an author, you have to be comfortable with whatever contract you're signing, whether it be with a large company or small. Don't sign a sketchy contract just because there's a huge advance attached and a prestige behind being pubbed with So-and-So. Don't sign a small-pub contract that gives you pause, just because you want that "I'm published" in the win column. If I offer a contract, it's because I believe in the marketability of the title. It (usually) means more than one PBG has put time into evaluating the project. Since we like the project and we don't like wasting time, I'd like that contract offer to be accepted. BUT, I don't want any author at PBG to be unhappy or uncomfortable or here for the wrong reason. So, if we offer you a contract and you don't like the terms--whether it be the length of time, royalty rates (non-negotiable, btw), payout schedule or possibly requested edits that are "deal-breakers," don't sign the contract. Just decline and seek publication elsewhere. It's OK. It's your work. You have the right to say no, just as we have the right to require manuscripts to fall under certain guidelines before we'll publish.
  • Money talks: Do your authors make money?
  •   Answer:  Some do; some don't. (rather some make a significant amount, some make less) I've written royalty cheques for twenty-five dollars and for hundreds and thousands of dollars (and on those larger numbers, I don't mean an isolated once or twice). The fact is, some books sell; some don't. The only rule I've noticed is in regards to promo (which I mentioned earlier, so won't repeat) and in the number of titles an author has available. An author with one short story--or sometimes, even one novel--might not (probably won't) make a whole lot of money. An author with five short stories will make more money (per title, not solely cumulative) --and that's even if every one of the titles in question are marketed and funded exactly the same. That said, even that "rule" isn't really a rule because I've seen a one-title author sell like hotcakes and a multi-title author flounder. I believe that's the reality of small-indy publishing. The key is really promo promo. promo. Now, when we're as large as some other publishers, and we have a book club or some such that produces tens of thousands of "automatic" sales, then my answer to this question will be different. (Notice I said, when, not if. -- and I'm hopeful that all PBG authors will prayerfully agree me on that so the Lord will see to it in His good and perfect time.)
  • Content:Do you adhere to CBA guidelines?
  •   Answer: Yes, and no. I would say that most of our titles do fall under CBA guidelines, but we don't live by a "rule" that every PBG title has to adhere to CBA guidelines. We live by a rule, as I stated earlier, that every title has to be true to mainline Christian doctrine. I take very seriously our responsibility not to lead readers astray or to drag them into some place they shouldn't necessarily be. We will take "edgy" stories. But that's thematically edgy, not content-edgy. There will not be foul language or open-door sex in our titles, for example. While these things are life's reality, I don't want to be responsible for putting in someone's head images that shouldn't be there. Words are powerful; creating a vivid love scene, even using mild terminology, could border on voyeurism. (Let's face it: A married couple making love is morally OK, for example, but who wants to walk down the street and watch that couple going at it in the park? Just because the marriage act is moral within the confines of that bond, doesn't mean it's acceptable for others to watch it happening, right?) Littering a title with foul language could help to desensitze someone to the nasty verbiage and contribute to their subsequent use of such words. (Think about it: When one hangs around people who cuss, the cuss words eventually just start popping out, unbidden, don't they? At least that's been my observation.) I know some will disagree with me on these things, and that's OK; we can agree to disagree. 
      Pelican will consider stories that tackle, temptations of the flesh, suicide, abortion, and other hard/edgy topics or sinfulness (not condoned, if sinful, but tackled). If those stories are told in adherence to CBA guidelines, then they are; if those stories stretch the confines of CBA guidelines, but are still told without condoning things contrary to God's commands or leading someone astray, then so be it.I know it's kind of trite to say, but if you want to know what we publish, the best way to find out is to read some of our titles--and read our guidelines.
    I hope that sufficiently answers these questions. In a later post, I'll answer more questions--and I'll try to be more brief in doing so, also! For now, happy writing, everyone. I pray God blesses you abundantly for your faithfulness to Him. And to all you PBG authors, thank you! Your presence and your stories make such a difference in the lives of PBG staff and our readers.