Reb Bradley is a radio counselor, talk show host, writer and national conference speaker who has devoted his life his life to strengthening the modern Christian family. He conducts seminars and teaches extensively on issues related to marriage, fatherhood, child training and single Christian living.
Reb’s prior book, Child Training Tips: What I Wish I Knew When My Children Were Young has sold thousands of copies to parents anxious to give their children the best possible start in life. Reb and his wife Beverly are homeschoolers and live California.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Reb.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)?
I have written more than a dozen books and booklets, all of which, except for my current piece, are self-published. Here are nine that are currently in print:
Child Training Tips: What I wish I knew when my children were young
DATING:Is it worth the risk?
Help for the Struggling Marriage
Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling
The New TestamentHomeChurch
Breaking Free: Escaping an exclusivist Christian group
Figleaves: Exposing hindrances to personal growth
Motives of the Heart
Reconciling With Your Wife
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
I self-published Child Training Tips in 1992 as a pamphlet, then in 1993 as a booklet, and finally in 1995 as a 112 page paperback book. In 1999 I reorganized it and added material, and it grew to 160 pages. In 2001 I added a chapter and it grew to its present size of 192 pages. I am presently writing an updated version, so when I sell the remaining 2000 in my warehouse I will publish a newer version.
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?
I never bothered to shop for a publisher, because I had enough cash reserves to print 5000. As a traveling speaker I was able to sell them at my book table, in my catalog, and on my website. By word of mouth and public speaking I sold 5000 the first year.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I have never experienced rejection from a publisher — I’ve only approached one and he printed the book. (I was rejected by a few girls in high school. Does that count?)
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
I self-published my first book, and still prefer self-publishing, because it gives me more control over the finished product. The drawback to self-publishing, of course, is limited marketing.
(The first book I submitted to a publisher was my current book Born Liberal, Raised Right, which was published by WND Books. The reason I chose them was because my friend Joseph Farah, the publisher, was the one who first suggested that I write the book.)
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was April of 1995, and while the 2 pallets of books were traveling across country from the printer, I received a few samples sent FedEx. I tore open the FedEx box like it was Christmas. I held the book in my hands and caressed it over and over, flipping through the pages, and sniffing it. It was the realization of a dream. I celebrated by taking my family out to a nice dinner.
What was the first thing you did promotion-wise when you were published for the first time?
I put the book in my tape catalog and on my website, and sold it whenever I spoke. That was all I did. Since 1995 I have sold over 60,000 that way. After bookstores started contacting me I also made it available through Spring Arbor.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
No, I like how I did it.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
I purchased my own printing and binding equipment and have continued to self-publish — mostly in booklet style.
My wife edits all my writing for grammar and flow, which has taught me a great deal. Having a good editor for rough drafts was critical for my growth.
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?
There were no lessons in my path for my first book. I wrote it, published it, sold it based on demand, and continued on that path.
After my experience with my current book — being published by a publisher — I would read the contract more carefully, and negotiate a few elements better. In my present contract I just discovered a clause that allows my present publisher to have first crack at my next three books. I would have eliminated that clause had I noticed it there.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
My biggest accomplishment? I once carried two full cases of books containing 100 books each, up a flight of stairs. No, more than that — I am thrilled to have my new book making its way up the ranks at Amazon. It’s my hope that the book will impact the nation the way I have been praying it will.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I think I would like to be a king— of a very small country, populated by very content citizens.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
I presently, write part time. I would like to make enough money so that I could write full time.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
If my new book is a success I would like to write full time. I have a novel inside of me, waiting to get out.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A book will only happen if you put the starting date on your calendar. My first book was a result of collecting my thoughts on napkins, 3×5 cards, and memo recordings for 10 years. I finally set a day to start, and then sat down to organize all the cards into categories. I then typed them into a Word document, cutting and pasting them intosections.I organized those random thoughts into a reasonable flow and started writing an outline. As I completed sections I gave them to a trusted friend to critique — my wife, usually. I took to heart her comments and went back to work. I have concluded that a dream will never come to pass if you wait for it to find you. You must chase it and make it happen.