With any genre of writing it’s important that the publisher has more than a surface-level understanding of the market, the writer wishes to enter. But when dealing with religious topics this is not just desirable, but a necessity. A writer needs to have complete confidence that the people they are entrusting their work with actually understand the nuances and sensitivities of their writing. One such example, is Deep River Books, a Christian publisher who is based in America. In this review, we’ll explore their history, their offerings & whether they are worth considering for writers of Christian works who are looking to have their work published.
What is Deep River Books?
Deep River Books is an American-based company that self describe as “an unparalleled Christian publisher.” Founded by Bill & Nancy Carmichael, books published by Deep River Books are available to over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers & booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Baker & Taylor. This incredibly wide reach is due in part to both their 35+ years of writing & publishing experience, as well as a successful partnership with Baker & Taylor Publisher Services. Their ‘Partner Publishing Programme’ was created to mentor new, emerging, and/or relatively unknown authors.
A glance at their website tells you all you need to know about both the consistency of their works published, as well as the tone. From out-and-out works with Christian themes to more broad topics or those with a wider scope than merely touching on Christianity, Deep River Books' focus is clear. Such topics may cause some publishers to withdraw or become hesitant but it’s clear Deep River have both the knowledge and experience to assist writers pursuing a Christian path for their works.
Their ethos is worth discussing in more detail too, as it reveals a level of care and attention not always found in the publishing world. As we mentioned previously, they have a mindset to not just publish but mentor their authors.
This goes one step beyond what you often find, and gives a platform for the author to not just publish one successful book, but launch a successful career. In doing so, I think it shows Deep River Books has a genuine desire to not just run as a business with the sole aim of making money, but understand what it’s like to be an aspiring writer and genuinely wishes to help them on their journey, which is perhaps a reflection of their Christian beliefs.
What type of genres does Deep River Books publish?
Deep River Books operates with a focus on writings with a Christian theme or center point. This does not however mean all the titles they publish are explicitly Christian in the sense the characters or people within them are those from the Bible. They also include a wide variety of stories with Christian messaging, morals, and attitudes which should probably be considered a spectrum.
This fits in with the more progressive version of Christianity we often see in the 21st century, with an aim and desire to be both more inclusive and open-minded about what it means to be a Christian and how one can live a Christian lifestyle.
In essence, if any part of the work contains what could easily be considered themes or topics of a Christian nature, Deep River Books are almost certainly worth considering for a writer.
Which Authors Publish with Deep River Books?
Deep River Books have a diverse selection of authors who have published with them as well as having a focus on the creative aspects that come with cover designs, many of which have won awards. This speaks to both their attention to detail in ensuring no stone is left unturned to make a published work successful, as well as the Carmichaels' wealth of experience in the publishing industry, knowing what works and what doesn’t.
Notable authors and their works published under Deep River Books include:
Pat Benedetto – Surviving The Tribulation
Pedro Okoro – Crushing The Devil
Laura N Sweet – God Sent a Baby
Ariel Laurence – One New Man
Randy Traeger – Voices of Virtue
Roy Goble – Junkyard Wisdom Rebuilt
Alan Gotthardt – Eternity Portfolio, Illuminated
Stephen McAndrew – Why Does it Matter What You Believe If It’s Not True
Dr. Eugene B Habecker – Softer Side of Leadership
Walt Gerber – Best Is Yet To Come
How much do titles offered by Deep River Books cost?
Prices vary quite a lot. A starting price point of around $10 is to be expected with most books landing in the region of around $20 – $30. Some books however can be up to the $50 mark which it seems depends on the type of book (ebook, paperback, hardback, etc).
Can authors submit to Deep River Books?
Yes, they can, however as you’d expect some various stipulations and specifics should be met. Below we will outline them.
The first step is to create an overall submission, consisting of the following; a one-page synopsis, a two-page outline, and finally one or two sample chapters. If this submission is accepted Deep River Books will work with you closely to assist with the editing, cover design, and marketing.
However, there are a couple of things worth noting about the process. Firstly, Deep River Books will decide how many copies to start with for the initial print run. Any subsequent numbers you wish to print will have to be paid for yourself, albeit at a discounted price for the retail value.
Secondly, if your submission is not accepted, you will have the option of a different type of partnership whereby the writer is asked to purchase a pre-determined number of books for his or her distribution at a discount on the retail price. Whilst you still receive the benefits of their expertise etc, this is a financial outlay that may be unviable for many aspiring authors for whom budget is often of paramount importance.
This may lead the writer to look at alternative options for publishing their work which we’ll touch on in due course.
What does Deep River Books look for?
As previously mentioned Deep River Books are a Christian publisher that helps writers working within this theme navigate and distribute what at times can be a sensitive and specialized market. Any work that contains conventional themes that go hand in hand with Christianity, whether explicitly or inferred, would be appropriate to consider submitting.
What are some alternatives to Deep River Books?
Writers will naturally have other options to consider aside from submitting to Deep River Books, which may be more beneficial to them as we touched on earlier.
Mainly, an alternative would be for the writer to self-publish. Doing so would come with several upsides that are worth considering.
The primary benefits would be having full autonomy over your work and not having to engage with various teams whose opinions, whilst will be respected, may not align with your original vision. More often than not, writers have spent large amounts of time on their books and will naturally be hesitant to either relinquish or partly relinquish creative control. Furthermore, any submission will take time for the publisher to consider and then engage in conversation about the final details of a potential partnership.
On top of the writing process itself, this can be a time delay the writer does not wish to endure. Finally, as we mentioned earlier, having to place down a financial sum before any distribution is likely to be an unappealing and unrealistic requirement for any writer. With the increasing availability of public knowledge around self-publishing, this avenue may indeed make more sense.
Of course, anyone considering self-publishing should balance out all of their options before making a final call. In essence, it will be each for their scenario as to the best course of action.
Deep River Books Review – Final Verdict
To summarise, Deep River Books is a specialized and knowledgeable publisher within the Christian book market. With that being said, given the caveats that come with pursuing this option, submitting them may not be the right course of action for everybody, depending on their circumstances, finances, and time constraints.
If a writer has the money and is prepared to invest in their distribution, as well as being comfortable waiting on the negotiations to finalize during the submission process, then Deep River Books is a perfectly viable option. If that isn’t the case, however, and in all likelihood, it won’t be for many authors, self-publishing is worth considering and may prove to be a more beneficial choice.