IVP - Andy Unedited - Concept Books

February 5, 2009

Concept Books

Authors need a platform, a group of people with whom authors are already networked who are waiting and wanting to buy the authors' books. I've said that here before, though the idea is not unique to me. But can books by authors who don't have a platform sell well? Actually, I think they can.

I call them concept books. The concept, the idea for the book--if competently executed--is so strong and compelling that people will grab it up willingly even if they have absolutely no idea who the author is.

Examples? The Dummies guides for one. Chicken Soup for the Soul for another. Each had a concept (straightforward handbooks for the non-expert and inspirational stories for those who need hope) and a great title. Who wrote those books? Few have any idea or care.

We've had some of our own concept books here, such as a series of Bible study guides that make anyone an expert small group leader and a series of dictionaries of different parts of the Bible that summarize the best scholarship of recent years. Yes, some big names were included. But mostly people know the series.

Why don't unknown authors write concept books more often? Because they are very difficult to think up. Publishers are actually the best group of people to develop such ideas because of their familiarity with marketplace realities, reading habits and editorial feasibility.

Why don't publishers do concept books more often? Because they are very difficult to think up.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at February 5, 2009 8:29 AM Bookmark and Share


for free book

Comment by: daniel at February 7, 2009 3:41 PM

As a Christian for 36 years, I found that we as Christians tend to speak in a coded language that new believers nor the outside world understands. Our challenge should be to write explaining Christian concepts without using "exclusive" Christian words that most people never use in their life experience. Words like righteousness, justification, salvation etc. I taught a Bible study to new converts and was challenged to explain these words without using them in the explanation. I know that even older Christians were blessed.

Comment by: Marvin Thomas at February 9, 2009 9:02 AM

I am interested in getting a copy of your book. Please let me know it's availability and how I would get one.

God Bless;


Comment by: Stephen Hornby at February 16, 2009 12:30 AM

Hi Stephen

To get a copy of the book, just click on the cover that you see on the right of my column. That will take you to the IVP website where you can order it. Or you can order it on Amazon.com.


Comment by: Andy Le Peau at February 16, 2009 3:03 PM

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.