It’s Time for Come-Alongside Publishing

Once you could get published by a royalty-paying house if you had something to say and could write. Now you need a platform on the scale of a megachurch pastor.

I started as an unknown, but a publisher liked my writing and took a chance. That hardly happens today.

Why not traditional publishing?

As owner of the Christian Writers Guild for twelve years, I’ve been trying to get people from unknown and unpublished to where they’re ready to land a contract. But times have changed. Most of them still can’t get published.

Traditional publishers have tightened their belts, and they keep demanding bigger platforms. The market is missing out on books that should be published.

Why not traditional self-publishing?

I’ve opposed self-publishing because so often it meant a writer had sent somebody a check and their manuscript — and the company printed virtually whatever they received.

I’d see Foreword misspelled as if we’re moving forward, Acknowledgments with the British spelling, and sans serif body type — which everyone in publishing knows is hard to read.

Those usually signal poorly written books with little or no editing or proofreading. Even if the message is sound, the cover and internal typography shout to potential readers that this is an amateur effort.

In Writing for the Soul I say, “You’re not being published. You’re just being printed. And you’re paying for it.”

Frustrated writers would say, “That’s easy for you to say because you have a name.” Today good writing has become less important than platform. And even if you succeed in building an audience, traditional publishers are publishing fewer titles.

Why not something better?

For months I wrestled with how I could help. What I came up with is neither traditional publishing nor the usual self-publishing. I call it:

● come-alongside publishing

● mentored publishing

● educated publishing

The Christian Writers Guild has launched a new course called Published. We’ll teach you everything you need to know so that when you complete the course and send us your manuscript, CWG Publishing will publish your book.

You’ll get a mentor for the course, and then for your manuscript you’ll get:

● an editor

● a proofreader

● a cover designer

● a type designer and typesetter

● e-book formatting.

Beyond that, we offer a free package of social media, marketing, and publicity tips.

At the end of the process you’ll have a published book you can be proud of — and that is worthy to compete against any traditionally published title.

Jerry B. Jenkins is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 180 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series. He owns the Christian Writers Guild ( His latest release is The Breakthrough (Tyndale).


  1. says

    As an aspiring author who is increasingly disheartened by the lack of quality seen in best selling books today, this makes me very excited. I’m not quite there yet (still only a few chapters into my first manuscript), but knowing that, even if I would normally get rejected by countless publishers for whatever reason, my dream of being a published author can still come true makes me very excited.

  2. Stacy A says

    This sounds wonderful! But for me the bottom line is — how much does it cost? I can’t seem to find that information here. Can someone help me locate it?

  3. carolyn martinez says

    I have looked at many self publishing companies. And there is always a catch. Either they don’t do any of the promoting or they do not offer any marketing. Please send me more information on your company.

  4. Joyce Mask says

    This sounds very interesting. I, like Sarah, would like to know how much it costs. I am a missionary and for a number of years as I shared stories from the missionfield in churches, people have repeatedly told me that I should write a book. I finally decided to do it and have begun working on it. I’m not really very far along yet, but I would like more information. I have had some articles published in several of the Assemblies of God publications in the past.

  5. Lisa Kibler says

    I am currently working on the autobiography of a pastor who used to be a Black Nationalist. It’s a compelling story. The interviews are complete and the transcripts are also complete. I am ready to roll on the finished product. Will this course be for non-fiction as well as fiction?

  6. Marcia Berger says

    I too would like to know the cost. I have a manuscript started, that is a spinoff on a play that I wrote for church many years ago, ” A Shepherd’s Disappointment”, (from disappointment to clarity). I would really like to publish this book because I know so many people, including myself that have have wondered what on earth is God doing, only to learn we were not seeing the whole picture. My biggest problem in sending it out is not so much the fear of rejection but having the money to send it out to several publishers. My income is limited that is the biggest rub, so that is why I want to know how much I need to invest.

  7. says

    First, I got excited. Then I thought more about it. Now I have questions . . . and concerns.

    My big issue with Published is that it sounds like ANYONE who has enough money to invest can get published. Am I wrong? What standards are in place that the students must meet? Who decides if they pass or fail? Does an editorial board have final approval of the manuscript?

    Or is it pay the price, take the course, and—bang!—you’re a published author?

    I get that the publishing industry has changed and I get the whole author marketing/platform thing. I’m willing to do all I can as an author. I believe you have a heart for writers and want to help. It’s reflected in the “come along side” ideal.

    What I don’t get is the (possible) watering down of talent if the only qualifier–other than completing the course–is money. I worry that unless stricter guidelines are in place—as they are in other reputable college courses—it won’t do much for the integrity of the industry–especially for the CBA.

    I also believe you won’t let that happen.

  8. says

    I share concerns. I hesitated to comment because I didn’t want to be a wet blanket…but, what I was hoping for was that CWG would go into publishing and accept unagented manuscripts. The mission of offering the opportunity for Christian writers to hone their craft and find a means of getting published is great, but no matter how well I write, at $10,000 I’m out of the game until I find an agent willing to take a chance on me.

  9. Rachel Laird says

    This new course Published sounds very exciting to me. I’m glad to know my story has a good chance of being published without waiting for years. Of course, my biggest concern right now is saving up the money to pay for the course but I’m seriously praying about it. Thanks so much, Jerry Jenkins and CWG, for coming up with this course.

  10. says

    I think creative, innovative ideas like this course fit the evolving world of books. In January, I self-published my first novel on Kindle and can tell you this: during the initial free promotion, 15,500 people downloaded it in 5 days (11,000 on day 5); my brother, a non-Christian, was among them; I had a blast putting the pieces together. The DIY venue might be out of the box, but it suited me, likewise out of said box. By the way, I did zero marketing–no Facebook, no self-serving blog tours, and I asked friends and family not to review the book per Amazon policy. For my next project, I’d love the opportunity to work with CWG experts, funds permitting. Writers need that input. Even my ebook went through dozens of critique partners.

  11. Amelia A Ray says

    After the book is published, do you do follow up marketing with other venues such as Tyndale or Thomas Nelson who maybe interested in doing production of reprints?

    If not, will I have to market on my own and shell out additional costs for marketing purposes?

    Last, how do you handle royality rights?

    • CWGadmin says

      Hi Amelia,

      We currently are retooling our marketing package and hope to roll that out in the next few weeks. While we don’t specifically present titles to traditional publisher, what we’ll be offering will help you get more exposure for your book. There certainly have been cases in which a custom-published book has taken off and then been picked up my a publishing house. Regarding royalties, in our package, you’ll receiving all profits from your book sales as you will own the copyright. It wouldn’t be a traditional royalty situation, because that is generally something found at a traditional publishing house.

      Please give us a call at 866-495-5177 if you have other questions.

  12. Amelia A Ray says

    Will I still be required to participate in the writing course in order to publish my work? I attended ACW (American Christian Writers )workshop in May of 2010 and had the privilege of meeting Dr. Hensley. Since that time, I’ve begun work on my first manuscript back in May of 2010 and as of todate am just tying up loose ends. I’d promised to contact Dr. Hensley once I was ready to submit for proof/corrections, etc. This has now been more than a year since I’d made contact with him. However; I’m still planning to contact him as was previously discussed.

  13. says

    This is exciting. I’ve written two and a half novels and several short stories, but to date most of what I’ve had published is my nonfiction. I’ve been very leery of self-publishing for the reasons Jerry highlights, and for the relative lack of services most offer: notably marketing.

    My personality profile identifies me as an off-the-charts introvert, so marketing my fiction is terrifying. A course that will mentor me through the process is welcome.

  14. Rebecca Parker says

    I think this would be a fabulous idea! I am very new to the idea of publishing but feel like it is a direction that God is pushing me. It feels daunting and its hard to find a starting point

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