Don Parker

Donald James Parker is a rebel with a cause and is the author of nine novels, seven of which he considers culture-flash fiction. His goal is to promote God's kingdom and tear down strongholds of the enemy while he provides entertainment. He writes for The Christian Pulse, Examiner.Com, and The ebooks of all his novels are available for free download from his website at All of Don's books promote sexual purity, but two are especially focused on that topic - Love Waits and Homeless Like Me. The novels that attack the theory of human evolution include More Than Dust in the Wind, All the Voices of the Wind, and All the Fury of the Wind. Reforming the Potter's Clay is an attack on the occult. All the Stillness of the Wind is a spiritual odyssey which spotlights cheap grace and lukewarm living.

POD Publishing: The New World Order or Flash in the Pan?

Three years ago I knew practically nothing about the publishing industry. Never had I Googled Terry Burns or Terry Whalin. I couldn’t have told you the difference between Mt. Hermon and Pee Wee Herman, or Debbie Macomber and a cucumber. I was familiar with about a half-dozen Christian fiction authors, some who are still alive. At that point God intervened, changing the main focus of my life from writing computer software to composing culture-clash fiction.

After writing All the Voices of the Wind, a novel concerning the evolution debate, I ventured forth to convert the manuscript into a paperback and discovered the brave new world of publishing and subsequently marketing. Luckily, free or inexpensive advice and tutorials were not difficult to find. It didn’t take long for me to come up to speed and discover that publishing is a sadistic version of a lottery, one that requires skill as well as luck. Now I almost wish I had never entered either domain, but a pilgrim needs to do what the Lord calls him to.

I did the math. An agent could take a couple months to reply to a query letter. If the query promotes enough interest for further investigation, the agent could take a few more months before he/she decides to take a new client under wing. After that, to sell the manuscript, the agent has to knock on publishers’ doors, ushering in a new waiting period. Once a book is contracted, it gets put into a queue for future publication. I realized that if all went smoothly (which it rarely does), I might be waiting two years before my message was available to the public.

I wouldn’t wait that long and researched other options. Little did I know at the time, but I joined a revolution when I opted for a POD (print on demand) publisher. Afterward I learned firsthand about the word pariah. Most self-pubbed authors come to realize that Rodney Dangerfield had it good in the respect department.

The problem self-publishing presents to the world is that literally anything can now be published, despite lacking redeeming literary or moral quality, as long as the author can shell out a hundred dollars. Books of unbelievably poor quality will appear on Amazon, one reason for the stigma attached to self-published books and authors.

Works produced by a major publisher are professionally edited and proofread. Self-published authors usually shanghai family members or friends to eradicate nasty typos, punctuation faux pas, and more serious issues. Thus self-published books will usually be inferior to a certain degree. I hope this stigma will fade away as more quality books are self-published and they are evaluated on their content, not by who wrote or published them.

Some advantages exist to “doing it yourself.” Profit margins are typically higher. Self-publishers don’t have to please anyone but the readers. Topics that established publishers wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot Pole or an eleven-foot Norwegian can be addressed, perhaps creating a niche for the self-published author. More important, God’s pristine Word can go forth without being watered down in the name of political correctness or return on investment.

Another advantage I enjoy is being at liberty to distribute the electronic versions of my books for free. Try negotiating that into a publisher’s contract. Call me crazy, but I don’t think anyone should be deprived of God’s Word because they can’t afford to purchase it. Can fiction disseminate God’s Word? Jesus did use parables to teach.

I predict brick-and-mortar bookstores will go the way of the dodo bird, taking away one of the big advantages of the big publishers. With the tools of the Internet at hand for producing, marketing, and selling books, fewer people will be willing to spend countless years pursuing their dream of catching on with a traditional publisher.

Some of us don’t write because we have a dream of having our name on a book cover and a royalty check, but because we desire to build God’s kingdom. We have a message to deliver to the world that may never be received unless we get published. With the inexpensive publishing techniques, why should writers beat their heads against a wall for years? I truly believe that every writer should ponder how long they will wait before joining the self-publishing revolution.

One prominent CEO recently blogged that if his company could figure out which books would be best sellers, those would be the only ones they’d publish. I believe that sums up the industry in a thimble. There is little motivation to present God’s truth or even to give the world quality literature. The goal is to generate mammon. That ticks me off in the secular world. In the world of Christianity, that mindset hammers my hot button labeled BALLISTIC.

I’m not totally naïve. I do understand that a business has to make money to stay alive, but would it make sense for a publisher to allocate 10 percent of the revenues for publishing specialty books that God directs them to present to the world? I risk aggravating my acrophobia by standing on my soapbox and proclaiming that as Christians we need to pursue God’s Word, no matter who publishes it. Please, don’t judge a book by its cover or its publisher. God sent his son to earth as a lowly carpenter, born in a stable. He delivered His Word through insignificant people like David, Moses, and John the Baptist. Does it not make sense that His Word in the twenty-first century might come forth from authors who are ignored by an industry more concerned about profits than prophets?

Here are a couple of relevant links that provide additional information on this topic:

I give instructions on starting your own publishing company at:

Love Waits