Guidelines for Writers
Simplified Pastoral Training in Bite-Sized Books
Thank you for your interest in Authenticity Book House (ABH). ABH accepts solicited and unsolicited manuscripts. Please read and follow the guidelines below to ensure your work parallels the goals and mission of ABH. We look forward to hearing from you!
- Carefully examine our website to understand our mission and goals.
- Review currently published bite-sized books on our website. We suggest reading at least one bite-sized book. (Contact our office for a copy.)
- Check your topic against current needs (see below)
- Align your manuscript to the writing parameters of ABH (see below)
What you need to know before submission:
ABH dedicates itself to providing simplified pastoral training in bite-sized books to Swahili-speaking pastors and church leaders in East Africa. ABH seeks to provide theologically sound books, written at a 6th to 7th grade level and written with cultural relevance, to reach leaders with limited access to biblical education.
We publish our books in Swahili and English. Swahili versions generally go to Tanzanian printers so they can easily get to ministry sites. English versions generally go to printing through Amazon or a local Texas printing facility.
ABH uses a team approach for producing its materials to provide a high level of accuracy and relevance for our readers. This means each manuscript receives the following:
- Evaluation by a group of editors and cultural consultants.
- Developmental editing (some rewriting and rearrangement of material).
- Addition of culturally relevant material and applicational questions.
- Translation and cultural review by Swahili-speaking African ministry partners
Authors should have a willingness for their work to go through these evaluations and edits. We recognize authors often find it difficult to let go of their original words. While we make every effort to keep as much of an author’s voice as possible, to make the most impact on our Swahili-speaking audience, all ABH editing decisions are final.
Variations may exist between a Swahili version of a work and the English version. Both versions undergo the editing process above to create the highest level of relevance.
Editors work with each manuscript to bring it into a 6th to 7th grade level if it doesn’t arrive at ABH this way. We prefer authors attempt reaching this level before submitting manuscripts.
Each submission ABH receives undergoes an evaluation for publication and a brief critique. If ABH does not accept your manuscript, the critique comes back to you with your manuscript.
If ABH has an interest in your manuscript, notification will arrive electronically along with instructions regarding how to proceed.
All authors should hear from ABH within three months of submission, whether or not a manuscript is accepted for publication.
Parameters of a Bite-Sized Book:
Bite-sized books tackle major theological issues in small, easily comprehended doses, without compromising biblical truths needed for spiritual growth and leadership. Rural East African pastors often become pastors shortly after becoming believers. Theological education starts from the ground up, in small bites.
To meet this goal and fit into our publishing parameters as an author, please follow these guidelines:
- Limit your manuscript to 13,000 words or less.
- Limit the content to text, simple graphs or charts, and simple line illustrations (if needed).
- Include a gospel presentation either directly or indirectly. This presentation may lie within the body of the manuscript or at the end.
- Avoid cultural slang and colloquialisms to help with translation and cultural relevance.
- Present the material as close to a 6th to 7th grade level as possible. If you cannot achieve this, ABH’s trained editors will help.
- Include appropriate documentation and support for your text.
- Although legally you must cite your sources, avoid quotations and end notes as much as possible.
- Align your text with inerrant Scripture.
- Use plenty of active verbs and limit “to be” verbs to three or less per type-written 8.5 x 11-inch page.
- Establish a story-telling style for your manuscript. Again, if you struggle with this element, ABH editors can help.
- Include three thought-provoking application questions at the end of every section of your manuscript.
- Use ABH designated style manuals:
- Chicago Manual of Style (The University of Chicago Press)
- The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style (Zondervan)
Writing for a Successful Submission:
- Eliminate “to be” verbs (am, are, is, was, were, etc.). Check each sentence to see where substitution of an action verb fits. Rewording may require rearranging sentences.
- Remove unnecessary words such as “had,” “has,” or “have.” Replace with action verbs whenever possible. Use your thesaurus as a resource.
- In many cases “that” and “had” do not have a necessary role in a sentence. Remove them.
- Remember to show; don’t tell. Descriptive words and action verbs help the reader visualize your point.
Sample Introduction from When God and Culture Clash by Dr. Thomas Golding:
WHEN GOD AND CULTURE CLASH
The dirt path led through crops, to a clearing, and eventually a home. Our team of three stopped at a group of low-lying tepee-like structures, some made of sticks, others from grass. They looked unusual, but their purpose remained unclear to me as they appeared too small to function as dwellings.
A few chickens scratched and pecked at the ground, hoping to uncover a juicy snack. Two dogs slumbered peacefully. As I sat down, a duck wiggled into position in front of me. Within minutes twenty or more people of varying ages assembled in a ragged semi-circle, sitting on mats.
Later I learned we sat at the home of a local witch doctor and his family. Several people on mats around us were, in fact, clients in his “waiting room.” Sitting in the circle, I explained twice the story of Jesus, who came to earth as a baby, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead. Then I asked if anyone wanted to pray a prayer of faith in him. Several followed my lead in prayer, including the witch doctor, I believe.
More than any other, this experience of sharing the gospel story of Jesus in a small Tanzanian village provided direction for this manuscript. Several thoughts occurred to me.
Assuming these prayers represented genuine prayers of faith, how would these people’s new faith affect their understanding of life on Kome Island? Would they continue to sit in the waiting room of a witch doctor, wanting answers to life problems, or would they seek out God’s view of the world and his answers for their problems? Would the witch doctor himself change his job or would he hold onto his job and simply stack his new faith on top of his old beliefs?
Every culture creates its own understanding of individual life and a person’s place in the world. We call this a worldview. Development of worldviews occur regularly on Kome Island and everywhere else on the earth. I developed my own worldview growing up in the state of Iowa, in the United States of America.
But what changes about our views when we believe in Jesus? Do we understand the need to compare what we learn from our culture to what Scripture teaches?
God wants to create something new in all of us when we pray in faith to him. He wants us to leave behind our old man-created ideas and live according to his design of the world. If we pray a prayer of faith but don’t evaluate our old beliefs against God’s desires, we risk stacking truth on top of falsehood. As a result, our faith becomes confused and weak.
The lessons in this book focus on a biblical worldview and how we can learn to let go of the parts of our own worldviews that don’t match God’s. When we understand his truth, we see everything differently. We see life as it really is. Join me in looking at a biblical view of the world, and how we can allow God to transform our lives, from the inside out.
Sample chapter from bite-sized book, Widowed: When Death Sucks the Life out of You, by Fran Geiger Joslin:
“When are you going to move on?” People asked me these kinds of questions regularly. I hate the words, “move on” and refuse to use them. How can someone ask me to move on from the one I loved and lived with for nineteen years?
I will never stop loving Brian. He was my best friend for twenty years. We parented three children together. We fought the enemy of cancer together. We laughed and cried together. We shared a faith that gave us hope.
I know our friends want us to find happiness when they tell us to move on. They really mean well, but they don’t understand the loss of your best friend and lover. Most widows don’t want to move on. We don’t want to forget.
Yes, at some point we need to find a way to happiness. We need to make a new life for ourselves. But we will carry the grief with us. We eventually learn to live with a mix of joy and sorrow.
At this point, I feel happy on most days. I find great joy in my new life. But days still sneak up on me when the grief overwhelms and I feel completely hopeless. I tire of the grief when it hits, and I wish I could “get over it” and move on.
I like to say we move forward. We adapt to a new, different life. We learn to enjoy a new normal. We appreciate the gifts God gives us. We find happiness again. But the love, life, and memories we shared with the dead don’t just go away because they left this earth.
The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.
Job 17:9 NLT
Encouragers: Widows find it offensive when told to “get over” their spouse and “move on.” Encouraging them to keep moving forward, however, helps give them hope. Please keep in mind that even when they find happiness again, they will continue to experience sad moments.
Currently Needed Manuscripts:
A Biblical View of Church Leadership
The Life of a Pastor’s Wife
Apologetics: Meaning and Overview
Ecclesiology: Meaning and Overview
1. Create a query letter to include the following information:
- Author’s name, address, email address, and phone number.
- Synopsis of your manuscript.
- A statement describing how you believe your manuscript enhances the mission of ABH and your interest in joining this mission as a writer.
- A brief summary of your writing background.
2. Create a book proposal to include the following information:
- A summary of your manuscript (not to exceed 50 words).
- A chapter by chapter synopsis of your manuscript.
3. Create an author page to include the following information:
- A short testimony regarding your personal relationship with Christ.
- A list of three people willing to send a letter of reference related to your Christian character and service to the Lord such as a pastor, colleague, friend, or employer.
4. Prepare your manuscript in the following manner:
- Create an electronic version of your manuscript.
- Format your manuscript using either Times New Roman or Arial font (12 pt.).
- Double space text.
- Number your manuscript pages and put your first and last name in a header.
5. Submit your manuscript, query letter, and proposal via the following link: https://abhbooks.submittable.com/submit/40362/manuscript-a-author-original. Be sure to read the instructions on the right sidebar when submitting your work for easy identification by our editors.
ABH and Authors:
ABH values authors and seeks to create strong relationships between authors and the publishing company. As such, ABH adheres to the following distinctives:
- Authors only sign over copyright categories necessary for publishing and protection of a manuscript while it remains in production.
- Authors receive 40% of royalties on book sales. The remaining royalties go toward supporting international pastors (20%) and supporting the work and ministry of ABH (40%).
- ABH supports the writing and publishing process with new and seasoned authors.
- ABH supports generous distribution of its books for the growth of Christ’s kingdom.
Resources & Tips
The “Review” function in Word allows for authors to check grade level and other writing statistics. To get to this evaluation, highlight the section of your manuscript you want to check and run it through the “Spelling & Grammar” section of your tool bar. After the review is complete a box will show up with grade level information.
Using Manuscripts as a Bridge:
Manuscripts chosen by ABH reflect bridges, creating a pathway from where pastors and leaders are now and where they can go as they mature. Our identified bridge ends include:
Writing a query letter: