If you have an inspirational story to tell, a spiritual self-help book, a doctrinal point to make, targeting a Christian book publisher might be right for you. Thirty years ago when I began writing, it was possible to submit a proposal directly to a book publisher and receive a personal reply. Those days are all but gone. It's difficult for a new writer without an agent to get a reading from any publisher, not just Christian. The situation is not hopeless, however. How does one go about breaking into the world of Christian non-fiction book publishing? Here are some tips.
First, write a really great book proposal. Many authors, especially first-timers, write the book first, then attempt to market it. While it's all right to do that, and maybe the only way to get your first book out, it's preferable to create a detailed, well-thought-out book proposal to submit to publishers. Once you have a commitment from a publisher, you can write your book with the knowledge it will be published once you deliver an acceptable manuscript.
Consider getting an agent. Lists of agents who might handle your subject matter can be found in "Writer's Market," or "Christian Writers' Market," or online. If you attend Christian writer's conferences, you can usually meet agents in person. Attend a conference that allows for one-on-one appointments with editors and agents, and bring your proposal. Also, talk to any writing friends you have. They many know or have an agent, and be able to steer you in the right direction, or even put in a good word.
Admittedly it is difficult for an unpublished writer to land an agent. If getting an agent seems improbable, try checking the market listings to find a publisher that accepts non-agented submissions. While scarce, they are actually more common among small Christian publishers than in the world at large. You might well connect with someone, especially if your proposal is compelling.
Finally, and perhaps the best choice for unagented writers, try one of the Christian manuscript submission sites. This is one of the best ways to get your proposal before the right publishers. Many Christian publishers will state in their listings that they only accept proposals through The Writer's Edge or ChristianManuscriptSubmissions. These sites have templates that allow you to submit a brief proposal that is made available to interested publishers. There is a fee for each proposal ($95-98), but the exposure is certainly worthwhile. Now, get going on that proposal! The world needs more inspiration!