Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could simply transcribe all of your sermons or teachings into a book and send it to be published? But of course, it’s not that simple.
Have you ever read the transcription of an interview instead of watching the video? More than likely you didn’t make it to the end. This proves that an interesting conversation or teaching doesn’t necessarily translate into an interesting read.
Converting your sermons into a book will take some skill. But it can certainly be done. So how can you make your book different than an anthology of sermons? Here are four ways.
Break it up
More than likely, your sermons are given in one sitting. The audience sits and listens until the end. However, a book is not (usually) consumed at once. Your reader needs to feel the freedom to come and go from the text. Obviously, this is accomplished with chapters, but also with subheadings, sections, and inserts. These breaks allow the reader to breathe and offers them a sense of accomplishment, without completing the book. Also, shorter sentences are best. Remember that words don’t have the benefit of your voice inflection, so long sentences become cumbersome.
Appreciate the value of a dynamic cover
Your message is incredible. Everyone who hears it remarks on its power and suggests you should make this into a book! But the average consumer scrolling through Amazon doesn’t know that yet. To them, your book is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of books in the same category. Like it or not, you must have a dynamic cover to draw their attention.
A recent study by a graphic design firm found that books with redesigned covers achieved an “improvement in click-through rate [which] ranged from 6% on the low end, to 122% on the high end.”
You may be surprised at how much is involved in an effective cover design. There is so much more to it than fonts and appealing images. In a recent article on Kobo Writing Life, JD Smith wrote on Cover Design Essentials. Smith states that a successful cover design will take into consideration the following:
- The taste of your target market
- The right balance of text, colors and images
- Complementary colors that stand out but don’t clash
- Proper composition of the text, including title, author and subtitles
- Branding considerations (if this book becomes the first in a series, can the design be replicated in the future?)
Given all of these factors, it’s clear that the investment in a professionally-designed cover will be well worth the cost.
Add personality to your writing
Have you noticed that your audience often perks up as soon as you begin to tell a story or give a personal example during your sermon or teaching? Why is this? Because we all love a good story and we enjoy getting to know the person we are listening to.
A book is no different. No matter the depths of your theology or the heights of your insights, there is likely another book with similar content. What sets yours apart is how this theology and insight has transformed your life and those around you. Tell those stories. Offer that personal application. This is what keeps your reader coming back for more.
Expand and expound
Often a great sermon has more content trimmed out than left in. Editing all that research down to a 20-30 minute teaching can be agonizing. Writing a book offers you the chance to pick up those discarded nuggets and use them to expound on your subject. Now is the time to dig into the etymology, historical context, and geographical details. What do the experts say? What do the detractors say? Add in those rich insights.
If someone has taken the time to purchase and read your book, chances are they are looking for more information than is typically found in a Sunday morning talk. They want to dig deeper and really study the subject. By expanding and expounding, your book can offer them the knowledge they are looking for.
Great sermons can become great books. By implementing the techniques of text breaks, cover design, an infusion of your personality, and expanded content, you can offer the reader a rich and beneficial read that allows your sermons to continue blessing people and furthering the Kingdom of God.
At Certa Publishing, we specialize in helping pastors and teachers through this exact process. We offer expert assistance every step of the way, from concept to editing to cover design. We believe that the message God put inside of you needs to be told! Contact us today so we can begin this journey with you.