I got a note from William in California this week, who wrote looking for writing advice.

Here’s part of what he sent: “My primary question revolves around the discussion of hiring an agent and finding a traditional publisher vs. self publishing.  I’ve written a ‘Christian living’ book that I truly believe has the potential to be a national best seller.  I would like to give it the best chance to reach the people that God has put it on my heart to write for.  My question is, what route do your feel has given your books the best opportunity to be read by the maximum number of people?”

There are a number of great sites that offer writing advice, including the ones that are on my blogroll. A wonderful site for beginning writers is my friend Mary DeMuth’s blog, which is http://wannabepublished.blogspot.com/

Briefly, though, self-publishing is only a good idea if you have a platform from which to sell the books yourself–say you are a motivational speaker and regularly speak to large audiences who can then buy your book, or if you have your own radio show or business where you can sell the book. So I’m a big believer in the traditional publishing route. If a book truly has potential to be a national best-seller, publishing companies (who have a lot of experience evaluating such claims) will recognize that potential.

I also recommend attending writers’ conferences, where you can meet with editors and publishers to talk to them about your idea, as well as take classes to improve your craft.