A Few Words about Discovery House

Last night, I had the opportunity to speak at a meeting of the Word Weavers in West Michigan. One of their members asked me to talk about my employer, Discovery House, as well as my involvement with the Jot Writer’s Conference and blogging. As you are reading this, I’m going to assume that you are familiar with my blogging history, and I know that I’ve blogged in the past about the Jot Writer’s Conference, but aside from a couple posts about my move to Discovery House, I haven’t written much about my employer.

Let’s fix that.

dh_logoWho is Discovery House?

Discovery House is the book publishing arm of Our Daily Bread Ministries (ODBM). ODBM has over 75 years of ministry experience. Starting as a radio ministry in Detroit, Dr. M. R. DeHaan was a preacher with a vision for getting people into their Bibles by using all available methods. Thus, the radio ministry started producing monthly devotionals known as Our Daily Bread, but branched out to include the television program “Day of Discovery” (started in 1968 and is one of the longest running Christian television programs), book publishing with Discovery House Publishing, and online Christian education programs with Christian University GlobalNet and ChristianCourses.com

Discovery House was established in 1987 as a way to delve further into the Bible and it’s life application in ways that were impossible with the Our Daily Bread devotionals.

“The goal of Discovery House is to publish books that feed the soul with the Word of God, fostering growth and godliness in the lives of God’s people. That was part of our founding vision, and we want it to be true of each new release that we offer. Whether you’re looking for books, music, video, audio, software, greeting cards, or content to download, we try to provide you with materials that focus on Scripture, that show reverence for God and His Word, that demonstrate the relevance of vibrant faith, and that equip and encourage you in your life every day.” –Carol Holquist, publisher

What does Discovery House publish?

my_utmostOur #1 best-seller is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Discovery House is the authorized publisher of the Oswald Chambers Publication Association and has exclusive rights to all of Chambers’ writings.

Our top books for this past year have been the Our Daily Bread for Kids Devotional by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley, The Discovery House Bible Atlas by John Beck, Prayers for Your Children by James Banks, A Grandmother’s Prayers by Kay Swatkowski, The Our Daily Bread Devotional Collections (new each year), and Adventuring Through the Bible by Ray Stedman.

How many books does Discovery House publish each year?

Between 25 – 30, though that doesn’t necessarily include re-cover projects or new editions of existing publications.

What type of books is Discovery House looking to acquire?hurt_people

Discovery House loves books with long tails. We are known for our devotional offerings, but we publish a number of topical books as well. We do not publish fiction and we’ve only just ventured into the academic sphere with the Bible Atlas and the children’s arena with Our Daily Bread for Kids. We are not currently seeking submissions for children’s products as all of the plans for our children’s line are being commissioned by the publishing house. This coming year, we are publishing devotionals, bible study material, books on prayer, Christian living titles, memoirs, and a couple of book apps.

How does Discovery House acquire its books?

There are three main ways that we get the books that we publish: unsolicited manuscripts, agented books, and commissioned products. Most publishers only publish the last two of types of acquisitions. For new projects, Discovery House publishes mostly unsolicited manuscripts.

What are the submission guidelines?

You can find them here.

If you are ever in the West Michigan area, you can feel free to stop in for a tour, where there is a chance that you would hear a lot of this information again. But on the tour you would also get to learn about Our Daily Bread Ministries as a whole and even see the big printing presses where they are made. Thanks for reading!

I may be prolific, but you don’t have to be.

This is a follow-up post to yesterday’s post on how to post everyday. Post. Sorry, I just wanted to get one more mention of post in there, but it didn’t quite fit. Yesterday, I gave a few tips on how to get content regularly onto a blog, but today I’m going to ask you to forget about what I said. Well, forget about it if it isn’t helpful for you.

9780849964800I attended a speaking & book signing event tonight with Sheridan Voysey, author of Resurrection Year (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and the forthcoming book, Resilient (Discovery House, 2015). After speaking through his experiences that were laid out in his books, Sheridan opened up the floor for questions.

As great of a writer as I think Sheridan is, he may even be better at asking and answering questions. It probably has something to do with his years as one of Australia’s top radio program hosts. One of the questions that he was asked related to his practice of journal writing. In order to capture his experiences over the span of life covered in Resurrection Year, Sheridan relied heavily upon his journals. The question asked was on how to keep writing in a journal when you hit a dry spell in your writing life.

529090_21140214Sheridan responded by saying that journals should serve the writer, not the other way around. He uses journals to capture the highs and the lows, the questions and the discoveries. If there isn’t anything to talk about relating to these things, don’t write in them.

He said that he may go for a few weeks between writing in his journal, but he is still a big advocate for keeping one.

I would like to draw some parallels between Sheridan’s journal advice and what could be a healthy approach to blogging. If your blog is your online journal, if its audience is made up of you and the people with whom you choose to share it, then by no means should you feel compelled to write everyday or even all that regularly. But if you are blogging in order to hone your writing or to gather an audience, then don’t treat it like a journal.

As with any project worth doing, you are going to have to ask yourself why you are doing it. I don’t think it is possible to write for no purpose (you’ll either write something worthwhile or learn something by writing), but I do think you should know your goals.

Why do you write? And how often? I’d love to hear your answers!

Book Review | Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey

9780849964800I was given this book (among others) by my old pal and new co-worker, Andrew Rogers, when I showed up at Discovery House to drop off some new hire paperwork. Andrew mentioned that Sheridan Voysey has done work with Our Daily Bread Ministries before and thought it would be a good idea for me to be familiar with his writing.

Now, I’m usually not big on non-fiction stuff, but memoirs hit me close to home. After all, what is my blog if not some unholy mix of non-fiction and personal storytelling. So I started to read Resurrection Year.

At first glance, Resurrection Year is a book about life after the broken dream of parenthood. Sheridan and his wife, Merryn, went through round after round of IVF in an effort to have kids. And after so many cycles of expectation, hope, and disappointment, they needed to move on. But moving on meant giving up an influential job in broadcasting and taking new jobs on the other side of the world.

But upon reading it, this book is about more than difficulties in getting pregnant and starting families. This is a book about what to do when God says no to your dream. This is a book about dreaming new dreams and being open-handed with our wants and our fears. After all, we serve a God who is larger than our fears who is capable of giving us more than we think we want.

Sheridan and Merryn’s journey didn’t just take them into new situations across the globe. They went on a pilgrimage through some of Europe’s landmarks as well as L’Abri, a spiritual retreat center started by Francis and Edith Schaeffer in the 1950’s. And as God revealed himself to them, they reveal God to us, the reader.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Sheridan, because it’ll definitely be on my reading list.