Joel Richardson is the author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, a bestselling comparative analysis of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology and the co-author of God’s War Against Terror with Former Palestinian, Terrorist Walid Shoebat. Joel has lived and worked in three countries in the Middle East and has been involved in Christian Muslim interfaith dialogue since the mid 90s’. Due to his involvement in interfaith dialogue, Joel has received death threats to his life and to the life of his family. As such, Joel uses a pseudonym whenever writing or speaking on themes related to radical Islam. Besides writing, Joel also travels, giving lectures and seminars on issues such as the threat of radical Islam, Islamic apocalyptic belief and human rights. Joel is also a successful self-employed artist.
You can visit his publisher’s website at www.wnd.com.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Joel. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?
Thanks you. My first book was published through a Print On Demand (Vanity) Publisher called Pleasant Word Books. Pleasant Word is an excellent publisher for Christian authors who have something that they wish to get out there but do not have any previously published books or the energy to self-publish. To my surprise, Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah sold over ten thousand copies in the first two years. For a Print on Demand book, this is virtually unheard of, particularly in light of the fact that I did almost no marketing or publicity apart from my blog an occasional radio interview, all of which sought me out. Why We Left Islam, my second book was a fairly easy project. It is a collection of two dozen stories from those who have left Islam and why they left. Because I am the co-editor and not the “author” per se, there was much less work involved in this book. My third book, God’s War on Terror is co-authored with Walid Shoebat, and was far and away the most involved project that I have yet worked on. The final result is just over 200,000 words, roughly 800 pages. I also have a few books that are partially written which I may or may not complete in the future.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
Antichrist was rejected by about five or six publishers before I went with a Vanity Publisher. Had I known about LuLu.com, I would have likely used them.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I expected the rejections for several reasons. Within the Christian market, books that are published are most often those that are authored and supported by a minister with a large public ministry and following. In the midst of my frustrations, I did some research and discovered that there are roughly twenty published books that are related to the subject of God and Golfing; gift books or meditations for Christian golfers etc. To me this said a lot about the market that I was trying to break into. As such, while I did give the various mainstream Christian publishers a chance, I was fairly well prepared to self-publish fro the get go. In retrospect, any publisher would have done well if they had taken my book. I knew that it was good and relevant and as such, the rejections didn’t particularly bother me.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
As I said, I wnet with Pleasant Word Books, because they offered all that I needed: Cover Production, copy editing, warehousing and they also offer book returns which makes it possible for bookstores to carry a POD book.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I was happy to be done and to have the book in my hands but I can’t say that I really celebrated. I think I took my wife and kids out to eat and we all celebrated that daddy wasn’t going to be on the computer so much anymore. I also started jogging to shed all of the “book weight” that I had put on.
What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Literally nothing. I started a blog and began posting articles. I made sure that the link to the blog was on the last page in large letters. Because the book took off so well, I soon had quite a gathering of regular readers. Today I have roughly eleven thousand visitors per month from all over the world.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
I think I would have gone with Lulu.com. I f I had simply created my own cover and done my own editing, which I ended up doing anyway, I would have saved a few thousand dollars. I may not have sold quite as many books, but I would still have done better in terms of expenditures. In the end, nobody compares to Lulu in terms of economy production.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
I’ve learned a lot. The final stages of editing are always the most tedious, but the most crucial. I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing and all that goes into it and certainly some tricks. Having now worked with an agent and having been published by a mainstream publisher, I have also learned several lessons there as well. In the end, no matter which way one goes, I think that one should make every effort to produce a work that is perfect and rely as little as possible on anyoe else to “fix” your work. While the editors at World Net Daily did an excellent job, in the future, I will always avoid the mind-set that says, “Oh the editor will take care of that.” Its better I believe to go that extra mile and make your work perfect by your standards and then let the editor catch only those things that you may have missed.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I did choose that other profession, which is an artist. I love painting and hate writing. But because I write about sisues that I am very passionate about, and feel are very important, I have the ability and drive to push through and get the work done. But I would always rather be painting.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
I hope that I never have to give up my art. It will always be my first love.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Ideally, I would love to see myself and my family freed up to travel and work with orphans and the persecuted Church in the third world.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Some people say that one can either read or write. I disagree. I believe that if one wishes to write that they must also read. Read everything that there is to read about the entire process. I will not say to “never give up” or any other such platitudes. Instead, if you really dream of being published then make it happen and whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might. Someone once said that if you do what you love, then you will never work one day in your life. I say nonsense. If you wish to do what you love, you must work to make that happen. And beyond that, I would also say that you should only write about that which you are passionate about. Write about things that matter and all of your efforts will be worth it.