Posted by: rcottrill | August 9, 2014

For Interested Publishers

About ten years ago I began writing a weekly newspaper column on the subject of the hymns and gospel songs of the church. Over the years, it has appeared in half a dozen papers in Western Canada. The articles, each about 650 words long, are evangelical, but I’ve tried to avoid denominational distinctives as much as possible. To date, I have completed over 725 of these, and they continue to be well received.

In addition, for several years I have also been building a blog called Wordwise Hymns ( The site has an Almanac, indicating what happened relative to hymn history on each day of the year. Other posts are Reflections, devotional articles on the biblical meaning of the hymns. In all, these two sections cover over a thousand hymns. More than 430,000 visitors have come to the site, from most of the countries of the world.

IDEA #1. As an extension of the newspaper material, I’ve grouped together articles on several themes, preparing them for publication as a set of books. To this point, there are manuscripts ready for three volumes, with a fourth in the works. Each covers about 65 hymns, with Scriptures and commentary to suit. The four are:

Discovering the Songs of Christmas
Discovering the Songs of Comfort
Discovering the Songs of Calvary
Discovering the Songs of Christ’s Coming

The book of Christmas hymns and carols was published five years ago by a small publisher in the United States. That business has since gone bankrupt and ceased to operate. They turned the full rights of publication over to me. Ideally, I would like to see that book republished, and formatted as one of the set.

IDEA #2. I believe the almanac material, in particular, could be used for a 365-day flip calendar. A condensed note about the hymn writer, or the circumstances of writing, with perhaps a key Bible verse, or a short quotation from the song, would give the user a growing appreciation for this wonderful heritage.

If you are interested in conferring with me about either of these ideas, please e-mail me at

Robert Cottrill


  1. Hi, Robert,

    I love this idea (yes, I still read your blog, just not nearly as much time to comment)! Have you considered self-publication and selling through Amazon? Also, don’t forget to sell these as e-books? I, for one, am a huge fan of e-books!


    Robert Woodman

    • Good to hear from you. Yes, I have considered both self-publishing and e-books. There’s a great company that does both that I’ve been in communication with. However, we’re poor retirees, and both options are expensive if they’re going to be done right (though e-books are less so). There’s marketing, and all that sort of thing to be covered. A traditional publisher handles all that.


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