Where I come from, everyone recognizes the big names in Christian publishing. By the age of eleven, I could differentiate between companies based on the logos that filled my church library, and by seventeen, I knew which of those logos I wanted on my future business card.
I have a stack of those business cards now, that familiar logo embossed proudly next to my name. While I’m no longer starstruck by my childish perception of my company, I do have the opportunity to work on content in which I deeply believe. It seems that religious publishing lends itself to that prettily.
Religious publishing may not be every person’s first choice within the publishing world, which I can understand. A person could worry that it may be too niche and somehow pigeonhole a career. However, my experience within my company has been overwhelmingly positive, professional, and constructive. I know that I’m developing skill sets that will lay a foundation for the rest of my career, as well as building great relationships with professional mentors who are highly respected in the industry.
Also, while the work that we publish is invariably Christian in nature, my company is first and foremost a business and not a ministry.
That means that, just like any other publisher, there are expense reports to run, data to correct, books to edit, and meetings to facilitate. Though the end product may be intended to impact people via churches and ministries, the work itself is not designed to be a non-profit or an inherently religious experience – this is a business that requires all of the same acumen that its secular counterparts do.
What’s more, not everyone in my office practices a personal Christian faith. This surprised me at first, to be honest, because I thought that religious publishing would primarily attract people who self-identified as the target audience of our books. What I found instead was a group of highly intelligent, highly skilled people who are good at what they do, regardless of their personal beliefs, and the quality of work is better for it.
I love what I do and I love my company. It’s not perfect by any means, but I am proud to be a part of something that has the potential to impact the reader forever.
I think that that is publishing in its purest form, really. That’s the goal of all books ever, right? To impact a reader forever. Personally, I love being able to do that within my faith tradition. Whether distinctly religious or distinctly secular, academic or trade, literary or low-brow, books are meant to make an impact.