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Writer's Tips and Guidelines

The P.I.L.L.A.R.S. of the Bible
Our company stands on the "P.I.L.L.A.R.S." of the Bible, and we even evaluate titles on them.

P = Plan of salvation (God's way of saving us)
I = Incarnation of Jesus (came as baby and tempted as we are)
L = Law of God (Ten Commandments)
L = Lifestyle (temperance)
A = Advent (first as baby, second at His glorious return, third at His recreating this earth)
R = Righteous by faith
S = State of the dead

 

Seven questions to keep in mind when writing your book

  1. Can you tell someone in 50 words what your book is about?
  2. Who will be your audience AND why will they want to read it?
  3. Is your book just another book on this topic OR will it stand out and shout?
  4. Do you have the right amount of content (story)—too little, too much, or just right?
  5. Have you created plans for promoting your book after it is published?
  6. Will your biography promote confidence that you are an expert on this topic?
  7. Great authors build on their previous titles—what is your next one going to be about?

 

Book Topics
TEACH Services is interested in a variety of topics for adults and children, such as:

  • Bible study topics*
  • Biblical and Christian narratives**
  • Biographies and mission stories
  • Books for sharing and gospel outreach*
  • Children’s stories***
  • Christian living topics*
  • Church history*
  • Cookbooks
  • Doctrinal topics and issues*
  • Ellen White
  • Health and nutrition
  • Marriage and parenting
  • Story collections

Our main goal is to help our readers grow personally and spiritually. We want to inspire them through the books we publish and help them strengthen their relationship with Christ.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to authors and review their manuscript for free. We know how hard they’ve worked to transfer their ideas to paper and their desire to share their message with others.

*** Books that discuss biblical ideas or insights must be reviewed and approved by at least  two Adventist ministers, retired or currently serving. Likewise books that recommend medical treatment, diet, or nutrition must be reviewed and approved by at least two medical doctors or dietitians. It is the author’s responsibility to secure such an approval before the book goes to press.

*** Ellen White clipped stories from various religious publications of her day and assembled them into scrapbooks, which were later converted into Sabbath Readings for the Home. After analyzing the variety of stories that were selected, John Waller, head of the English department at Andrews University, and many other Adventists concluded that many of the stories were fictional (John O. Waller, “A Contextual Study of Ellen G. White’s Counsel Concerning Fiction”). Although Mrs. White was comfortable with select fiction, such as Pilgrim’s Progress, she cautioned against reading fictional books that are “sentimental, sensational, erotic, profane, or trashy.” Because of her counsel, TEACH Services carefully reviews biblical and Christian narratives to make sure they adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Biblical narratives must present accurate facts according to the Bible account and light from the Spirit of Prophecy.
  • The characters must reflect Christian values and teachings in their language and actions.
  • The story must be historical, geographical, and/or socially accurate.
  • If a romantic relationship is depicted, the characters must portray the meaning of true love and commitment, which is not based on mere emotions or physical attraction, in their language and actions.
  • We do not accept manuscripts that portray science fiction, fantasy, or include graphic violence, sexual scenes, or bad language. All manuscripts must follow the principles outlined in Philippians 4:8.

*** As you plan your children's book, make sure you are writing for your targeted audience in terms of imagery, length of the book, and subject matter (a 3-year-old child will not be interested in a topic about bullying). Children's books can be separated into the following categories:

Book StylesAge GroupAvg PagesAvg Word CountPictures
Read to Me/Toddler Picture Books 1–3 18–32 Under 500 Every page
Easy Reader/Picture Books 4–6 24–46 Under 1500 Every page or second page
Chapter Books 7–12 48–144 5,000–35,000 Some pictures or drawings
Young Adult Books 13 and up 120 and up Varies by Topic Varies by Topic

 

Formatting Tips
The most common tips for setting up your manuscript are listed here:

  • Use the centering function for all chapter titles. Do not use the space bar or tab feature to center text.
  • Indent with the tab key. Do not hit the space bar five times, as you would on a typewriter.
  • Save your manuscript in one computer file and make sure each chapter starts on a new page.
  • Use Times New Roman and 12-point font in your document.
  • Do not attempt to lay out the book within Word. Do not worry about placing page numbers and/or headers or footers in your document unless you are submitting a camera-ready file that will be going straight to press. Trying to lay out the book clutters the file with unnecessary formatting codes that can cause problems when working with your document.
  • Insert hard returns only at the end of each paragraph—not at the end of each line. Only insert a single space at the end of each sentence. Do not use a double space between sentences.
  • Separate paragraphs with one single hard return. Do not double or triple space between paragraphs.

 

Documentation Requirements
If you are quoting Bible texts in your book, you must clearly indicate which version you are using for every text. If you are using the same version throughout the book, please note that at the beginning of your manuscript.

You can only use a certain number of Bible texts from versions other than the King James Version without receiving permission from the publisher to quote texts within your book. Following are the requirements for using texts from the various versions according to the publishers’ Web sites:

  • New International Version, Today’s New International Version, and New International Reader’s Version — Text may be quoted up to 500 verses without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the book or are being quoted in a commentary or other Biblical reference work.
  • New King James Version® Text may be quoted up to 1,000 verses without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to 50 percent of a complete book of the Bible and do not make up 50 percent or more of the total text of the book.
  • New Living Translation — Text may be quoted up to 500 verses without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the book.
  • The Message — Text may be quoted up to 500 verses without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the book.
  • The Clear Word — Text may be quoted up to 500 verses without written permission, providing the verses quoted make up less than 25 percent of the work and are not a complete book of the Bible.

 

Use of Copyrighted Material
Following are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding obtaining permission to use copyrighted material:

  • Whom do I ask for permission? Obtain written permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher) before providing us with the file. For illustrations or photos, you sometimes also need to ask permission of the artist or photographer. The publisher will be able to tell you whether it’s necessary to do so.
  • Is it enough to credit the original author and publisher? No. If you don’t get permission to use their material, you’re violating their copyright.
  • What about "Fair Use"? "Fair use" is a copyright doctrine that, in its most general sense, allows copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and "transformative" purpose. For example, to review a text, make fun of a popular song, or quote a portion of a writer’s work. Claiming fair use has its problems in that there are many "grey areas," with only general rules and varying court decisions making them even more "grey." All it takes is having the copyright owner disagree with what is "fair use" and you may have to face your problem in a courtroom.
  • Do I need permission to use content or materials from a Web site? Yes. You should consider everything on the Web as copyrighted material.
  • If a work does not contain a copyright notice, can I use material from it or do I still need to get permission? Laws change all the time, but generally if it was published before March 1, 1989, you can use it. All works published after that date are considered copyrighted even if they don’t contain a notice, so you can’t use them without permission.
  • Do I need permission to use material from the government? Federal-government materials are not copyrighted. State-government materials might be, this means you must check before using.
  • Do I need permission to use material from an out-of-print publication? Yes. Ask the publisher. If the publisher is no longer in business, make a good faith effort to locate the author AND DOCUMENT ALL OF YOUR ATTEMPTS.
  • Do I need permission to use material from a TEACH Services, Inc. publication? Yes. If TEACH Services, Inc. used someone else’s copyrighted material in the publication, we may have permission only for that specific use. Please apply for usage from us just like you would from any other publisher you would seek permissions from. Rights Form Adobe PDF
  • If I get permission to use material in my printed publication, can I put the publication on the Web? Print and electronic permissions are often granted separately. To be safe, always ask for permission for both print and Web use.
  • If I alter the material from a copyrighted work, do I still need to get permission? Yes. The copyright owner has legal control over all copying and modification of the work.
  • Do I need permission to publish photos of people? If there are people in your photographs and they are recognizable, it is best practice to get their permission, in writing, to use their likeness. For additional information about why you need a release and how to obtain them, visit the American Society of Media Photographer’s Web site (http://www.asmp.org/tutorials/property-and-model-releases.html
  • If I have questions, who can I ask? Your attorney or legal representative. The U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) is the ultimate source for copyright information. The site includes registration procedures, forms, and frequently asked questions.
  • Where do I find more information? For more information about various aspects of copyright law, see: The Publishing Law CenterLink opens in a new window.

 

Web References in Your Book
As part of the editing process, TEACH Services shortens all web references that you have in your book using a URL shortener called 1ref.us. This makes it easier for readers to view the references you list since they only have to type in a short address instead of a long one full of random characters. The other benefit of this system is that TEACH Services manages 1ref.us. Therefore, if, for instance, you reference an article you found on CNN.com that is later archived and the web address changes, if we are alerted to the change, we can go in and redirect the same 1ref.us address that is in your book to the new web address on CNN.com. Therefore, the web references in your book can stay up to date.

If you have a personal website address or blog and you want to reference that in the book, we will include your address without shortening it. Please note that we do not list personal contact information in our books. If you, as an author, want to include contact information for your readers, you need to do so on your blog or personal website. If you do not have a blog, TEACH Services will be happy to set one up for you in which you can list your contact information.