Linda Taylor, assistant professor of professional writing at Taylor University, recently had her fourth book published: “Pathway to Publication: Move Your Writing from Manuscript to Book,” which was released on March 24.
Taylor, who spent much of her career working within the Christian publishing industry before arriving to TU’s Communication Department to teach professional writing, feels that the book fills a vital need for those who are looking to get published.
One of the key discussion points within Taylor’s book is choosing a publisher, and the differences between the variety of options available for those looking to be published. For her own project, she went with Bold Vision Books, a smaller indie Christian publisher located in Texas.
Bold Vision also published her 2017 book “Word by Word.”
Taylor’s newest book is meant to be practical and straightforward and aid those who have manuscripts, but aren’t sure where to go from there.
She made sure to emphasize the target audience isn’t the book-writing itself, but rather taking it from written content to a finalized, published project with the author’s name on it.
“After going to so many writers conferences over the years, you always sit with the people who have a manuscript, but they don’t know what the next step is,” Taylor said. “They’ve written the book, they’ve studied the craft, but now they’re like, ‘What do I do with this?’”
One of the topics of the book is the process of finding the right publisher. Taylor says writers who aren’t familiar with the process can fall prey to companies that take the author’s money but deliver, in turn, an inferior product.
Taylor said she wanted to avoid the big theoretical advice and stick to the simple, guided things that aspiring authors can follow. While it’s not organized as a specific step-by-step guide, each chapter contains some valuable checkpoint within the process.
“So they’ve written their manuscript,” Taylor said. “Now they’re going to need their website, how they’re going to find a publisher, how they might find an agent, they’ve got all these pieces to create a book proposal.”
Even documents that are needed for the process of creating a proposal and ultimately publishing a book are included within the book. Within Taylor’s website is a password-protected page that contains helpful documents and worksheets, along with readers that readers of the book can access with a password found within a specific chapter.
In fact, the metaphor that much of the book and the cover are inspired by is a journey — similar to the one that her sister recently undertook on the Appalachian Trail.
“During one of my times trying to figure out how this book could be different than the many others on the market, my sister and I talked about her preparations for her planned thru-hike of the Appalachian trail,” Taylor said. “Suddenly, it made sense to me that writers need the same kind of planning, preparation and patience if they want to get published. So the metaphor works. And in a ‘God-thing,’ my book officially released the day after she started her 5-month hike.”
Her experience in both the world of publishing and the world of education within the professional writing major has granted her what she feels is a unique perspective within her writing. Much of the book is meant to be informative and educational, and she understands both the industry itself and how to help educate students about the industry she worked in.
Jeff Groeling, department chair and professor of communication, shared how valuable that experience is within the communication department.
“This is what she does, and this is what she teaches,” Groeling said. “And the best teachers are the ones that engage with their discipline, and they bring what they learn back to the classroom. And that’s what she’s doing with this book.”
But now, focus turns to spreading the word. When her first book was published in 1995 by Tyndale House, the advertising was down to the publishing house. Now, in 2023, much of the promotion and connection with readers has to go through her.
Even though Taylor describes herself as “the world’s worst self-promoter,” she is using various social media platforms, along with her website, lindaktaylor.com to help spread the word. She’s also obtained endorsements and has been able to highlight quotes and pull-outs from the book.
And she knows she can be proud of the book and its contents.
“Honestly, there’s a thrill when you see your name in print,” Taylor said. “I think it’s that moment when you realize all those long days of writing, the nights of imposter syndrome, the heartfelt prayers and the critiques from others come to an end and you’ve put something into the world that you’re proud of and you hope helps others.”