Looking Back: Amy Sorrells and Canary Song

It’s easy to lose track when you’re writing a book, or when you’re working toward publishing it. Self-publishing is a journey. Sometimes you feel like you’re getting lost on that journey. We often find, when that happens, it helps to look at good examples of people who, whether they got lost along the way or not, found their way to their destination.

In 2013 we asked Amy Sorrells to write a blog post for us about the traditional publishing experience.

“To be honest,” she said then, “the editing process (which is finally winding down) has been the most difficult work my brain has ever done. Not awful, just difficult.”

Isn’t it when things get difficult that we find it’s easiest to get lost?

I thought I had a pretty good start, and I did – sort of. Then I had my first conversation with my editor (a very young, brilliant and cosmopolitan New Yorker) and learned the truth: my manuscript stank (stunk? Stinks!). It would require a near complete rewrite.

Wouldn’t that make you want to get lost? Doesn’t that sound terrible?

It does.

But Amy didn’t stop. She finished her edits and turned in her book and, so far, traditional publisher David C. Cook has released two of her books, Then Sings my Soul and How Sweet the Sound.

Your goals may be completely different from Amy’s goals, and your experience may never be like hers. But you reach the end of your publishing journey without staying on course.

Don’t give up.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

 


L.L. Martin: Positively Powerless

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Laura Martin (L.L. Martin), author of “Positively Powerless.” For more info about Laura, check out her blog at “Enough Light.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

 

I’ve been an avid informal writer most of my life. I enjoy the old-fashioned hobby of postal letter writing, and I self-published a print newsletter. In recent years, I blog about Christianity. Several individuals encouraged me to write a Christian non-fiction book, but I was uncertain about the topic. Subjects that interested me had already been extensively published on, and SKU-001037112I did not have anything new or unique to add to the conversation.

However, I had long observed a number of weaknesses in modern American Christianity, which seemed connected by an underlying false optimism. I stumbled upon a book about the history of “positive thinking” in America and the idea for my own book was born. It is entitled: Positively Powerless, How a Forgotten Movement Undermined Christianity.

Some aspiring authors are certain about their book’s topic, but if you are uncertain, don’t despair. Pray about it, and keep writing informally. If it is meant to be, the idea will eventually present itself. Meanwhile, just keep writing and find your voice: journal, write letters, start a blog, leave thoughtful comments on the blog posts of others.

It is my opinion that writing a book is something you build up too. If you can’t write brief and informal things, how will you suddenly write something lengthy and formal? My informal writing paved the way. It turned out that I had already blogged about some of the topics that became a part of my book, and the puzzle pieces fit together nicely when I began to write it.

Informal writing will also hone your skills. Be open to critique about your writing ability. I consider writing both a natural talent and a learned skill. If you have been out of school for years, you may need a refresher course on grammar and syntax. IMG_0385Choppy writing can be a problem, and learning to form better sentences can help your ideas flow smoothly and appeal to the reader. Through informal writing, you can practice and perfect your skills before plunging into a book project.

Have you contemplated the idea of success for a distinctly Christian book? While we naturally want to sell books, numbers are not everything. I’d rather have my book get into the “right” hands – that is, those who will be spiritually helped and challenged by its message. As I researched my book, I was intrigued by how a forgotten movement from the late nineteenth century impacts us to this very day. Unfortunately, its influence weakened Christianity, and I hope to help Christians break free from hidden chains and be re-established in a God-centered life.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Limestone Walls and Telephone Calls   

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Joyce Rachelle, author of “The Language of Angels.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

I knew at the age of 6 that I wanted to become an author. And unlike many other things I knew at the age of 6, this didn’t change.

I was probably not going to put together something good enough for people to read until I was forty or even older, so right after finishing college and just before looking for a job, I decided I’d try to make money writing. I became freelance writer, picking out jobs and writing content online anonymously. One of my assignments was about the difference between traditional publishing and self publishing. A quick Google search led me to download WestBow Press’s publishing guide – which helped a ton – and then I wrote the article, got my paycheck, picked another assignment, and forgot about it.

SKU-001040087Fast forward three years. I’m standing in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Taking out the slip of paper I had prepared the night before, I start praying. “Please, God, help me become a published author. I may never write for Zondervan or WestBow or any of those other big publishers and I may even have to wait a decade before I come up with anything noteworthy but please, if I was meant to do something else I wouldn’t still be dreaming of this.” I find a gap between the limestone wall and stick my prayer along with the others that had claimed the spot before me.

A month later something awful happened and it shook my faith and began a spiritual crisis that would go on for years. I avoided my friends and withdrew into myself, and when I couldn’t run to God, I went to the only way I knew to vent my thoughts – I wrote them down.

It’s nine months later and I’m sitting in front of my computer screen with a finished manuscript of a first novel. Not having planned anything beyond this point, I stare blankly into space and wonder how on earth I would get a publisher to notice me. Publishing wasn’t a big business in the Philippines – not Christian fiction anyway. I let weeks pass by without incident until one evening my phone rings – an unknown caller – and I pick it up.

“Good evening ma’am,” says a male voice on the other line, “I’m an agent from WestBow Press. Would you like to avail of our services for publishing your book?”

Words fail me. My head fills with questions that I stammer as they each crowd their way out of my mouth.

“How did you get my number?” I ask.

“You downloaded our publishing guide four years ago and — ”

“But why call now?”

“We’re just doing a follow up on our subscribers.”

“But why didn’t you call me four years ago?”

But deep down I knew why he hadn’t called four years ago. Because four years ago, I would have turned him down. Four years ago, I would have told him to remove me from his list. Four years ago, I didn’t believe I could write anything big. Four years ago, I did not yet have a finished book.

Looking back to my prayer at the Wall, all I did was tell the Lord what I probably could not do. I probably could not put together something worth an ISBN. I probably could not be an author at the age of 26. I probably could not get published by WestBow Press. And all He did, in his amazing glory, was prove me wrong on all counts. And the rest, they say, is history.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


The Fulfillment of a Dream

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Jennifer Elig; author of “Cincy the Flying Pig.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

For years I have dreamed of writing books for children. As a previous educator, I would work into my lesson plans time for my students and I to write classroom books about a topic we were discussing in class. Instilling a love of reading and writing in each and every child was a major goal of mine. I truly enjoy every step of the writing process and love seeing the joy on children’s faces when they pick up one of my books to read for the first time. Seeing books I have written fly off of library shelves and needing to donate more of them, simply to fill the demand for the rate they are being checked out, is also a dream come true.

SKU-001045558When the Lord first planted this dream in me, I was a young adult. I received a mailing inviting me to take a children’s writing aptitude test. After writing a short story and being reviewed by an instructor, they were very complementary of my writing skills and invited me to work one on one with an instructor to get me on a path as a professional published author. At that point in time, I had an infant and couldn’t afford that option, so I just put the idea on the back burner. Over the years I revisited the idea several times, but there were always more pressing items that needed to be taken care of first.

As my child grew and began to start his toddler years, I began looking for Bible-based counting books to assist me in teaching my son how to count, but with a Christ-centered base. As I scoured the books stores and internet, I found there were none of those resources that existed, so I decided to write my own. After completing the counting book, I naively began submitting my rough copy to big name publishing companies, not aware of the actual process and difficulty involved in getting a publisher to accept a manuscript. Time and time again, my manuscript was rejected for various reasons. With my bubble burst and feeling dejected about the whole process, I put my manuscript in a dresser drawer and left it there for several years. It was not until four years ago that a flicker of hope would re-emerge.

A6300149My husband, who has always been very supportive of my pursuits, came to me one day four years ago and said, “It’s time.”  Time for what, I thought. He then explained to me that he felt it was time for me to try to get my book published again. He encouraged me to look into publishers and pricing information and told me he would support me in whatever decision I made. It was in that same time period that a friend of mine picked up a coffee side table picture book I had created with the title “A Cat’s Life,” that included photos of my cat with a story line from the cat’s perspective.  She told me it was really cute and that I should look into getting it published. At this point, I really started to take the publishing process idea to heart. Enter Westbow.

After a couple of weeks of research, it soon became apparent to me that there was a vast difference in publishers. From pricing to support, to the way each business was run, I ultimately chose Westbow because of the Christian-based guideline they operate under. As a self-publish company, Westbow Press is also tied to Thomas Nelson Publishers, which opens another world of opportunities to me as an author.  When I began the publishing process with Westbow, it was very clear to me that I had made the right choice. Each person I worked with was encouraging and helpful every step of the way. With payment plans that are available, I was able to not only publish “A Cat’s Life,” but also now had the ability to publish my counting book “One Lord, Two People.”  When it came time to put my third book, (”Cincy the Flying Pig”) into production, I knew exactly where to go. Thanks to Westbow Press, what was once only a dream, is now the fulfillment of a dream!

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Sharing God’s Grace by Lisa Anne Duda

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Lisa Anne Duda; author of “Faithful Sunshine.” Find her on Facebook and check out her website! To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

SKU-000611517I never imagined writing a book.  I never saw myself as an author.  My life focus was centered on balancing my hectic job and family life.  But sometimes things happen in life that redirects your focus.

I wasn’t prepared for the experience.  I felt blindsided as my sister and I helped our Mom face mortality.  The events unfolded in a whirlwind.  I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster watching helplessly as the past collided with the present.   But God’s Grace shined through.  God blessed each of us and words really can’t do justice on how He touched us with His love.   I’m thankful that we were able to see His blessings.  In stressful situations such as what we experienced, it’s easy to become blind to God’s messages.  But we knew He was with us.  In the end, I felt joy…the kind of joy that only God can incite deep within us.

As I shared the experience with others, I realized they could see God’s Grace as well.  So I continued sharing the story.  Then I started thinking that it would be nice to put the story on paper.  If nothing else, it would serve as a personal memory of our experience.  I didn’t want the details to fade with time.  I didn’t want the beauty of God’s Grace to be forgotten.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do the story justice.  But I wanted to press on.  As my writing progressed, I started wondering if I should actually publish it.  I had a sense of hope that my experience might help others see God’s Grace as well.

LisaAnneDuda_FaithfulSunshineThat’s when I reached out to WestBow Press.  I had researched the publishing process and knew my best option was to self-publish.  And I knew WestBow Press would give me the Christian support that I needed in order to share my story.  I only had a portion of the book written when I turned to WestBow Press.  I suppose I didn’t think it would take me that long to finish.  In my mind, I was just the translator and the story would write itself.

But then I started having long bouts of writer’s block as well as various life events that took the focus away from writing.  As the months turned into years, I felt guilty for taking so long to finish writing the book.  And then, as I tried to make up the lost time, I began to think I was rushing it.  But once again, God’s Grace shined through.  It took almost seven years to finish writing and complete the publishing process.  But in the end, I hope others will be touched in some way by my book Faithful Sunshine.  I’m not an author.  I simply needed to share this story.  I wanted to share God’s Grace.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Joseph Chukwujekwu: The Road to “Never Lose the Faith”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Joseph Chukwujekwu; author of  “Never Lose the Faith.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

The road to “Never Lose the Faith” was everything I never thought of or probably ever did hope for and in my collections of superlative amusing dreams. “Never Lose the Faith” was not there.

Reminiscing about that faithful morning, that was when everything started. The day I lost my mum and everything I never did fathom was now in reality. It was totally a new turn around for everything around me and my life in general. That moment when I saw my mother kicked the bucket; it was as if the clock stood still, tension walked through my abode, terror I saw in every eye, everyone became suspects.Joseph Chu

So in quest to run away from the dark cloud hovering over my home, I made that faithful journey from Lagos to Umuahia to Umudike. It was in those cold nights in school campus, writing under deemed lights that one A4 paper became 2,3,4,5,6,7……… and then the thought of publishing came to heart.

Also, the discouraging words from peers and colleagues did follow. Really glad that I did not give in to their advice that I wasn’t good enough to be an author;  words like: “you are wasting your time.’’, ‘”You’d be better off if you face your studies’’ , ‘’you’re starting what you can’t finish’’ , ‘’you are not as smart as those who have done the same’’, ‘’ you are not Achebe’’, ‘’you are either not Soyinka’’, ‘’you not  Adiiche’’, “you better wake from your slumber.”

It’s safe to say I nearly gave in until I made that call to Westbow Press. On the other end of the line, Jon Lowell Lineback reassured me publishing my book was possible. He totally sold every package that comes with publishing with the way he narrated every steps that I needed to know. He was brilliant.

JosephChuWe just have to keep trying in the circle of life for what we believe in. “Never Lose the Faith” is an example of what you can do if only you try. You just have stand up and beat our chest and don’t let anybody tell you to settle for less, because if I did I wouldn’t be writing on this blog. “Never Lose the Faith” made me realize if you don’t try you won’t get, if you don’t fall you don’t learn to stand and if you don’t jump you can’t fly, that pain is teacher, time is a healer and faith in Christ conquers all.

The staff and publishing team at westbow press really made the publishing of my book an experience I did want to go over again. I simply just want to say they are top notch at what they do and am so glad it was them who made never lose faith all possible.

I warmly invite you to ‘’ you will “Never Lose the Faith”’’ motivational network on whatsapp with +2348162192145. You can also connect with me on social media on twitter; @sommyjoseph, facebook; Chukwujekwu Somtochukwu Joseph, Instagram; THEJOSEPH.S._CHUKWUJEKWU, email;sommyjoseph54@gmail.com.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


William D. Moak: Writing Don’t Eat the Cat Food! One author’s journey…

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of William D. Moak; author of  “Don’t Eat the Cat Food.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hemingway once said of the writing craft, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” To those who don’t – or think they can’t – write, putting a sentence together is as torturous as solving complex fractions is to me.

Through my years as a journalist, PR rep, columnist and (now) book author, I constantly run across people who say things like, “How do you do it? How do you take an idea that’s in your head and get it across in writing so other people can understand it?” I always confess that I truly don’t know the answer to that. I know that I have had a lot of training in the mechanics of writing, but I believe God did give me a gift. It took a tenth-grade English teacher to bring it out. She challenged me to start taking my writing more seriously, and I credit her (among many others) with keeping pressure on me to get better. But it’s clear that Hemingway was right: good writing comes from deep within the soul, and some of the best comes out of pain.

When I first started writing my WestBow-produced book Don’t Eat the Cat Food!, I was in a lot of pain. What had been a very promising career had just taken a disastrous turn, and I was trying to figure out how my wife, sons and I were going to survive financially. I had always known (by faith and by experience) that God is real – He provides and can be trusted. But my faith had never been so tested as it was then.  Ironically, it was the days I was now spending at home, with just my little dog Flip for company, in which my spiritual candle began to grow brighter.

MoakCoverIn my tearful prayers, I begged him to make it all go away; sometimes, I could almost see him doing a facepalm as I finally began to understand some of what he had been trying to teach me all along: I had been settling for mediocrity in my Christian life, contrary to what God has promised me. In some ways, it’s like a tiger settling for cat food, when what he really needs is meat.

A lot of thoughts jostled for attention in my ADHD brain, so I sat down at my computer one day and started typing. First, there was an essay, as I tried to collect my jumbled thoughts. As the essays piled up, an idea began to take shape in my head: “What if God is trying to get me to tell people not some ‘woe-is-me’ story, but to help them to understand how God’s economy differs from man’s?”

Then one day, I woke up and told my wife, “I have started writing a book.” Looking at me with a sideways glance, she said, calmly, “I thought you might be. Tell me about it.”

So we talked. She told me that she had been praying that God would use our situation to help others understand God better. He had been answering her prayers – and mine – in a way that was totally unexpected and new.

As the book began to take shape, I sought out a publisher. I was referred to WestBow by a representative at another label, after they made a decision to stop accepting new submissions. My first contact was a guy named Jon Lineback. Jon wasn’t at all what I had expected; a pastor himself, he asked me a lot of questions – not all of them had easy answers – to help sharpen my vision of what I wanted from this book. A lot of other great WestBow folks have helped me make the book better, and help me understand the complex world of self-publishing.

When the package containing my published hardcover arrived, I opened it hesitantly. Would I be disappointed? If I opened it, would errors jump out at me? Were all of the endless rewrites, constant proofreading and decisions worth it? Would people care? Would anybody buy a copy? Did I do this as God wanted me to?

Today, it has been three months since I opened that box. I can say without hesitation that it was all worth it. Dozens of people have told me that they have been challenged to rethink God in their own lives, and have decided they are no longer going to settle for eating the “cat food” of mediocrity because they understand that God wants their lives to count, for them to know him better, and to experience the joy found when we draw closer to God. For a writer who’s been trying to get across that very message, there is no greater joy.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

 

 

 

 


Reuben Lachmansingh: A Personal Journey Leads to the Words Flowing Forth

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Reuben Lachmansingh; author of two titles: ” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Ruben Family edited

In the year, 2002, I found my roots in a small village called Belwasa, deep in the state of Bihar, India.

It was a serindipitous discovery because when I paid a visit to my cousin’s home in Brampton, Ontario, it was only supposed to be a courtesy call. By coincidence, he would be called out to the hospital, and I would be left chatting with my aunt, who showed me letters from an Indian relative, then working in Khartoum, Sudan. My own correspondence would start, culminating with a journey to that long forgotten village, a village that now takes a prominent place in my family history.

What flowed next were words to describe that experience, words which had mushroomed into two books. That first book, “A Dip at the Sangam,” a historical novel, tells the tale of the protagonist—my great grandfather, who ironically after a holy dip at the Sangam, the junction of the three holy rivers, was tricked into servile indentureship to toil in the cane fields of Demerara.

ruben roadThe second book, “Road to Belwasa,” is part fiction, part memoir. Its early pages describe the suffering of the protagonist’s wife, left abandoned in India, then later, fiction leads to memoir, unfolding the author’s life story, packed with incidents and anecdotes. The book ends with the author coming face to face with his ancestral home, going back some 133 years. His joy is boundless.

Writing is so much easier when one is not burdened with the task of finding a publisher. I knew I had a publisher but the challenge was to find a working partnership that would endure. Many hurdles I faced, but with the right blend of talents they were all overcome. In the end, I had two books, whose design and book cover matched the contents in quality and standard.

While writing both books, I never experienced writer’s block for it didn’t take me more than a few minutes to get the workRuben Dip flowing again. However, make no mistake, the hours spent in writing a book are countless. Finding the right words which best express the writer’s thoughts can sometimes be a daunting task, but it is so much easier when one loves to write. First, there is the challenge of coming up with ideas for the work at hand, then the words, expressed in such a way as to touch the heartstrings of the reader, who become part of the story being told. The reader has to see himself as the protagonist and must feel the same emotions as he or she is
experiencing.

Even though, I had a publisher, getting the book published was a huge task. Many revisions had to be made, while weeks became months, which could become years. With the final manuscript in place, the task of finding little errors and typographical mistakes is again time consuming. When the manuscript with its book cover is submitted for final printing, the writer expectantly awaits his “masterpiece.” The satisfaction and the congratulations that ensue from prospective readers make the journey of writing and publishing a book a worthwhile one.

Bravo WestBow Press!

Reuben Lachmansingh
www.roadtobelwasa.com

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


Kim Chesney Negri: “Mission Accomplished”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Kim Chesney Negri; author of  “Remember What I Told You.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

Many mornings, after praying with my husband and youngest son as they headed out the door, my thoughts would often turn to my older children.  Their colleges were only about an hour away, but to my “mother’s heart” that seemed far.  Often, after praying for them and their day, I would text a scripture that I hoped would bring encouragement.  When they face conflict, feel overwhelmed or have major decisions to make, WILL they think to pray first or search scripture for guidance?  I knew my prayers would be a covering, but it was now time for them to establish themselves.

I hadn’t always made the best decisions during my own college years and wanted to spare them the heart ache.  Yes, lessons learned the hard way usually stick, I simply wanted them to experience the fullness of life that Jesus died for them to enjoy.Negri mug

Through the years, I had often started to journal.  However, the busyness of motherhood usually distracted me.  Now, I started to record situations our family had placed in God’s hands along with the ways He had answered and met our needs.  Did my children REALLY know I was praying behind the scenes and quoting scriptures over the circumstances?  This journal, I intended, would serve as a “legacy” of our family’s faith.

As I wrote, a statistic came to mind from my years as a youth leader:  After graduation, the majority of children who have been raised in church cease their attendance and association with God.  When I thought about the despair in today’s headlines (drug abuse, financial fluctuation, terrorism), I wanted to help our next generation rely on God’s GOOD news.  How many high school graduates have NEVER even attended church or read the Bible?

My motivation intensified.  My “audience” expanded.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

My college major was English with a writing option.  However, discouragement with classes and desire to have a “real job” lead me to quit before I earned my degree.  Years later, I met my husband while leading a youth group.  After we married and had our first child, I was blessed to fulfill the one desire of my heart, to be a wife and a mother.

Negri coverWhat began as a concern for my children expanded to culminate life experiences and complete a personal desire from my own youth.  Since my devotional has been published, many people have asked me, “Did you ever think you’d write a book?”  Yes, I thought about it.  But, NO, I never really thought it would become reality.

The “bigger picture” unfolded as I journaled.  Though interrupted many times before, I picked up where I left off.  As I wrote, I believe God reminded me of past situations.  Likewise, after I said, “OK, God, I’m going to DO this”, He brought to mind additional scriptures which prompted me to add another section to my book.

When people tell me that my book is inspirational and that they see it as a quick reference of God’s Word for circumstances they face, I think “Mission Accomplished”.

What mission have you yet to fulfill?  Often, the hardest part is simply to start!  You may not have the full picture, it will develop as you write and pray.  Put your thoughts on paper.  Re-read them.  Pray over them.  God will guide you and perfect the good work He has begun in you.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

 

 

 


Glenn Koster Sr.: My Story of Writing

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Glenn Koster Sr.; author of  “Life is a Long Story Short.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

Where is the best place an author starts when they are telling a story?  The obvious answer is at the beginning, but we each define the beginning differently. Koster mug

I have been writing for decades but lost much of what I had written.  Sometime in the early 1990s, I began to sense a desire to publish my autobiography as I have always felt my story is unique and an inspiration to others.  But who would be interested in the story of an unknown writer, regardless of how unique it is?

Why is my story unique?  Early in my life, I was abused and ultimately abandoned at the age of six.  After just a short stint in the foster care system, I was adopted – but pulled from that home for abuse and neglect.  I was adopted a second time in 1965, an adoption that truly provided a “forever home” for me.  Despite being adopted twice I am adamant that my third adoption – as a child of God – is the one that mattered.

As an adult, I followed the footsteps of my birth father, becoming an expectant father while a sophomore in college, as well as a spousal abuser and an alcoholic.

By 1989, I did not like who I had become and set about to change things.  I have been sober since that March and violence free since that May.  That October, despite permanently sealed records, I was able to trace my first adoptive parents.  Because of that connection, I was able to find my birth father and ultimately the rest of my birth family.

Koster CoverEventually I was able to offer forgiveness to all who had a hand in the disruption and abuse I experience in my childhood.  I was the only of my siblings to ever offer forgiveness, a truly cathartic part of my healing.

But the question hung in the air like a looming Kansas storm.  How would I ever create the market for my story?

Along the way I have been collecting inspirational stories, all with a Christian moral principle, both from my life and the lives of people that I have known.  The light blinked!  Why not publish a book of those short stories first to use as a base to build readers who might be interested in my rather unique autobiography?

An effort more difficult than I imagined.

For starters, my book includes references in both a forward an “About the Author” section that mentioned my birth family.  I had to provide evidence for those deceased and permission from those still living – even of those who were never mentioned by name.  It was a daunting task and I almost gave up several times, but I was able to eventually reach that goal.

I also endured long hours of editing (and re-writing).  Thankfully, I had several people on my side with experience in editing, proofreading, and marketing.  They were a God-send!

Along the way, I lost my adopted Dad much too early.  My work was finally released just a couple of days before what would have been his 85th birthday.  I trust that he would have been happy with my efforts.

It has been a long and winding road, but I’m at the precipice now.  The book is in print and a number have been reserved.  I am excited about the prospects as I have chosen to use this as an experience to benefit local charities:  Project Belong, Big Brothers – Big Sisters of Reno County, First Call for Help – Reno County, Heart-to-Heart (Newton, KS), Kairos (through a special book signing scheduled for April), and Relay for Life (another special book signing event in June).

Luke 12:48 reminds us, “To him whom much has been given, much shall be required.”  I have been blessed.  Now it is time for me to give back.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


Russelyn Williams: Writing a Book Is a Process

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Russelyn Williams; author of  “The Single Christian Woman’s Guide.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It’s so funny to think about the beginning of the process of me actually writing my first book. I had no idea what it took to get a book published. I just did what I knew to do, and that was to write down my thoughts about what I wanted to write about. I knew I had been on what I felt was a long journey of singleness, and experienced several different things along the way.Russelyn Photo

Some of the things that I had experienced were rejection, not feeling good enough, temptation, pit-falls and such. I thought to myself, although I am still single, I’ve done well for myself to maintain a position of readiness, peace of mind, and faith toward God and in God’s promise. What better way to contribute to other singles than to write a book sharing some of my experiences and what has helped me to prevail?

That’s when I got out my laptop, and began to type up a title for what I wanted to cover in each chapter in its own document. I saved everything to one folder, and wrote the introduction. At that point, I had put away the idea of continuing with writing the book. Until one day, I saw the folder on my desktop with the name of the book and opened it. I read the introduction, and asked myself where is the rest of this book?

That is when, I began writing without stopping. I knew it had gotten serious. Therefore, I began to look into what it would take to publish. A couple of my favorite authors had begun their writing careers with Thomas Nelson Publishing. They were at the top of my list to check out. I quickly learned from a friend that Thomas Nelson had a self-publishing division that allowed exposure as well as professional design work among other perks.

Russelyn CoverThe self-publishing brand of Thomas Nelson is Westbow Press. That is who I signed up with to do my publishing. They took care of everything once I got them my complete manuscript. At the onset, I thought the book would be published a couple of months after writing, but each step in the process takes time.

There was of course the writing process. Next, was the editing process—in which I had two editors to review the book. Finally, there was a process by the publisher whereby certain standards had to be met. After, all of the steps in the process were met, it was smooth sailing on to cover design and finalization of the interior design.

While the process of getting the book together took time, it was all worth it to produce a high quality product. I am confident that “The Single Christian Woman’s Guide” will touch the lives of many.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


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