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Ten Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make When Turning Sermons into Books

Contact Neil Eskelin, LifeBridge Books, 704-968-8753, neil@neileskelin.com

 

CHARLOTTE, NC, April 21, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- After ghostwriting and editing more than 300 Christian books, Neil Eskelin, president of LifeBridge Books, offers his advice to ministers who have a sermon series they want to see published as a book.

 

Here are the ten most common mistakes:

 

1. Their writing lacks "you" power. Since the goal is to help readers, try to use the word "you" ten times as often as "I."

 

2. They forget they have a personality. To develop a relationship with the reader, sprinkle your manuscript with personal stories--at least one or two per chapter.

 

3. They fail to grab the writer's attention. After writing a chapter, pull out the best illustration and move it to the beginning. Start strong.

 

4. They need to use a thesaurus. If you are writing on faith, vision, or any particular theme, don't use the same word over and over in successive sentences or paragraphs. Find synonyms to get your point across. Also, if you use an unusual word, once or twice in a book is enough.

 

5. They shout instead of speak. Only rarely should you use words or sentences with all capital letters--it's like shouting at the reader. Instead use italics for emphasis. Also, keep exclamation points to a minimum, or they will lose their impact.

 

6. They need to give the reader a break. We see far too many long passages. Readers are easily bored, so keep sentences and paragraphs short. Also, we like to use a subheading on at least every other page.

 

7. They believe their words are chiseled in stone. God may tell you what to preach, but be open and flexible when it comes to recommended edits. Trust your editor to make wise decisions, even though you should always have the final word.

 

8. Their title lacks life. The book we produced for author Benny Hinn was originally to be titled, "The Person of the Holy Spirit." We changed it to "Good Morning, Holy Spirit," and it sold several million copies. The new title had imagination and life!

 

9. They design their own book cover. Get a pro to produce two or three possible covers and tweak the best one until it can compete with any bestseller. Research shows that the cover is 80 percent of the sale.

 

10 They fail to explore publishing options. Most of the books we produce for pastors are published by LifeBridge Books, which has national distribution, but several of our clients either self-publish, or want a manuscript to present to other publishers.

 

Says Eskelin, "We prefer taking rough sermon transcripts and creating the first draft. This saves the pastor untold hours of writing and shortens the production time from months to weeks."

 

For more information about turning sermon series into books, contact Neil Eskelin: neil@neileskelin.com.