Who we are and how we began
It is very difficult to find a truly formal publishing company managed from within the Coptic Orthodox Church, especially one that predominantly serves English-speakers. In the realm of Orthodox Christianity as a whole, the Eastern Orthodox have made tremendous strides in establishing fruitful, formal publishing English-language offerings. You may ask, what is the difference between what the Coptic Church has been doing, and a formal publishing company?
Normally, in the Coptic Church, you will find various servants gathering something written, usually from a priest or a bishop, and hardly ever from lay people, and then create a book, from cover-to-cover. They find a means of printing the book, whether in Egypt or in the U.S., and distribute it in some fashion. Nearly all of these efforts are initiated by a clergy person or some servant(s), which means that there are so many offerings from lay authors that are hardly ever given an opportunity to be reviewed for publishing consideration. Often there is little to no established system or process, from the initial determination of whether a work should be published, to the final product and its marketing.
And while this has produced countless, wonderful books from the Coptic Church, there is much opportunity for improvement. Our own publishing efforts began this way, informally producing books. It was then proposed to His Grace Bishop Youssef to establish a formal publishing company, under His Grace’s diocese, for the benefit of all. After receiving His Grace’s blessing, this new effort was established.
A formal publishing company, which we strive to be, is one that has a number of features:
- Providing all Orthodox Christians, lay and clergy, young and old, an opportunity to have their work considered for publishing.
- An editorial committee that reviews the quality of the work being proposed, and determines whether that work on its own merits (and not simply because of the name or title of the author) should be published.
- An actual contract to initiate a relationship between author and company, and ensure both are clear on the parameters of that relationship.
- A team of dedicated and skilled members of the publishing company that care for each and every aspect of the book, from cover to cover.
- Thorough editing and review of the work’s contents to ensure it is of the highest quality and achieves the work’s aim to clearly express thoughts, with proper grammar and syntax (utilizing a formal style guide to enhance consistency and quality), and create a well-written work in the language offered.
- Printing and distribution are handled by the publisher, leaving the author to focus on creating their work rather than on the logistics of producing the finished work.
- True collaboration between the author and the publishing company to let as many people know about the book as possible (a.k.a. marketing).