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.


Lisa Lynn: I Know God Was Pushing My Pencil

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 Lisa Lynn; author of “Unraveled, Time to Tell.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Growing up my grandmother always told me I would need to write our story one day. The story was about the murder of my mom, my grandmother’s daughter. I put it in the back of my mind.LisaLynnMug

After my last child graduated I tried to start writing it. I had notes I’d written all my life but I couldn’t get them to come together. God wasn’t ready for
me to start this story so I again put it in the back of my mind.

Several years went past with me growing more in faith to God and finally He said it was time to start writing. Some days my hand seemed to go faster
than my mind. I know God was pushing the pencil.

After I laid down my pencil and God helped me see it was finished, I would then let my now grown children read and know for the first time the events that had darkened my life. Talking to His disciples in John 8:12, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” My children already knew God had given me His light.

The publishing process was as new to me as writing the book but God once again lead my way. Isaiah 58:11 tells us “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” How beautiful and reaffirming to me for my journey! And this verse is for all His obedient people! We can all be reassured because we know our God is faithful, 1 Thessalonians 5:24. The publishing process went smoothly and as fast as when God pushed my pencil writing the book all with the help of some of the best people I’ve ever known.

LisaLynnCoverI now find myself sharing openly what I had held secret for thirty years and it’s a blessing each time with each new person. I also have done a couple of festivals, the kind of events I told WestBow Press Marketing I’d only do if God led me to and I find myself now looking forward to them.

I don’t know what God has planned for all this but I do know I’m glad I’ve been faithful to listen to Him and write our story. It wasn’t written the way Grandma planned but the way God guided. A good friend told me that my grandma would’ve been proud anyway. I’m so touched by the responses I’ve heard from people who have read my book. I know it’s from God and for God and I’m so thankful to Him and WestBow Press!

 

– WBP –

Learn more about Lisa Lynn through her Facebook page www.facebook.com/carole.lisalynn.gilbert and website www.unraveledtimetotell.com.

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.


Hillary Sigrist: I’m a WestBow Author, and Why That Matters…

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 Hillary Sigrist; author of “Warrior Wife.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!  

I’m a WestBow Author!

I’m not just self-published, not just an author, I’m published by WestBow Press!  Why does that matter?

I imagine for most aspiring authors they begin their publishing journey much like I did; with a naïve innocence of the self-publishing world.  They’re full of passion for their story and overwhelming excitement at the precept that writing dreams can come true.  Now, they just have to begin the overwhelming journey of manuscript to book.HillarySigrist WBP

Today’s world is flushed with DIY marketplaces. The continued self-done message exists in every area of life, the publishing world is no different.  In fact, as I did more research into self-publishing I realized that there is an excessive amount of both good and bad press associated with ‘vanity publishers’ as they’re commonly referred too.

Here’s the deal, the ability to so called, publish for free does exist, again we’ve been told we can do it all ourselves right?  Not necessary! Let’s face it, by the time you’ve finished writing your first book, it’s basically become your baby.  You’ve invested in mothering it for hours on end, some days late into the night. Don’t you want your baby to get off on the right steps once you’ve sent it into the world?  Choosing to or to not partner with a company like WestBow Press is only the first decision of many that will affect the end product, and your possible future success.

When I found WestBow Press I knew I had found the home I needed to succeed. Thomas Nelson is a giant in the Christian Publishing Industry and the chance to at all be associated with them is definitely something I would pay for. Because WestBow is a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, it carries their name attached to it.  What does that mean for you? Well, simply this, if the giants of Christian Publishing are putting their stamp on the back cover it better contain the Christian Standard they’re associated with. That’s what the WestBow Press Editorial Standards are all about.

However, it goes beyond that. The professional team of experts attached to every aspect you do as your book becomes reality is irreplaceable. I genuinely felt that my book “Warrior Wife” was treated as important to WestBow. In a company that sees many books pass through its doors, mine was still treated as valuable. Because it is self-published I enjoyed the freedom to bring all my ideas to the front and see them executed by the professionals better than if I had chosen to go at it alone. Each member of the team attached to me throughout the process, was patient and helpful. I felt that they wanted to see success for my book right along with me.

sigrist coverBy trusting the WestBow team with my baby, I feel like I’ve made the best decision I could have.  Since my book went live August 2015; my achievements have already surpassed even my highest expectations.  “Warrior Wife” has won an award, received numerous positive reviews by industry professionals and even paved a way for speaking engagements.  I owe much of this success to WestBow Press and the quality they’ve given me in the dream turned reality.

I’m a WestBow Author! And YES that matters! My readers deserve nothing less!

For more information about my book “Warrior Wife: Overcoming the Unique Struggles of a Military Marriage” check out www.hillarysigrist.com or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/warriorwifebook.

– 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. 


Katie Bergman: Life’s Twists and Turns Lead to Great Books

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 Katie Bergman; author of  “When Justice Just Is.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Writing my own story was never part of the plan. Then again, I wasn’t planning on winding up vocationally derailed and burned out in a remote Cambodian slum, either.

But maybe it’s in those unexpected places that our greatest narratives are born. It’s when life shakes us and breaks us and takes us to the only place weBerman Mug can find healing in our struggle: by telling our story.

I wrote my book, When Justice Just Is, in the painful aftermath of my devastating burnout on the humanitarian field as a twenty-three-year-old anti-trafficking program manager.  Naturally, I was shocked by the depths of poverty, the pervasiveness of human trafficking, and the normalcy of corruption in Cambodia.  But I was equally disconcerted by the ways my justice organization sometimes operated unjustly—especially with the questionable ways it treated our staff.

My organization glorified martyrdom and demonized having personal boundaries.  It rewarded reckless bravado, promoted sixteen-hour work days, and considered self-care to be selfish. It strove to alleviate poverty while its own CEO traveled by private jet and earned up to $1 million in a single year.

All of this was confusing for me as a young, uncompromising idealist with romanticized notions of justice. I needed space to work through my disillusionment and recover from my burnout. And so, I returned to my home in Canada and decided to do something I hadn’t done in years: I wrote.

Writing about my journey to put the “human” back into “humanitarianism” was as vulnerable as it was comforting; as humbling as it was empowering. Gradually, I started sharing bits and pieces of my writing project with close friends and was surprised by how many people reciprocated by opening up about their own struggles to establish boundaries, confront limits, and implement self-care measures.

That’s when I realized that my writing project was more than a form of cheap therapy for myself.  It was an opportunity to connect with others who were feeling isolated in their purpose-driven pursuits, too.

KBergmanCoverMy project culminated not in the form of a memoir, but as a book of confessions about my own experience of brokenness within a humanitarian context.  Striving to open up an honest dialogue about the trials and triumphs of seeking justice meant surrendering to the difficult but important process of reflecting on some of my more painful memories.  Yet I needed to be vulnerable in my writing in order to start this neglected conversation about confessing brokenness, cultivating joy, and creating space for authenticity, particularly for those in the justice movement or in caregiving positions.

When Justice Just Is explores the messages I needed to hear as a young, burned out program manager overseeing twenty Cambodian staff working in over one hundred villages to prevent human trafficking—when I was wondering if my needs mattered, too.  It’s the book I needed to read when I was convinced it was never okay to have boundaries or to be less than perfect. It’s the solidarity I longed for when I thought I was the only one wrestling with the question: what happens when helping hurts the helper.

My hope is that this book will reach the people whose well has run dry in their efforts to pour all their love, energy, and time on others—and that this book will serve as a reminder that being kind to the world also means being kind to ourselves.

– WBP –

Learn more about Katie and her book, and reach out to her through:

Website: www.WhenJusticeJustIs.com
Facebook: When Justice Just Is
Twitter: @KatieLBergman
Youtube Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Vioa8Jj1o

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. 


Mike Lovett: Living in the Waiting Room

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 Mike Lovett; author of “The Country Road Through the Book of Matthew.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

I’ve always known there was an author inside me. lovett mug

There, I said it.

But knowing that fact has never made the ink flow any faster.  I can remember, as a kid, writing short stories.  As a teen, I even managed to win a major writing contest.  In my adult years I became a prolific technical writer for whatever career I was in at the time.  After coming to Christ, I wrote several pamphlets that were used at my church for newcomers to the faith.  But the author in me was never able to write the book that kept stirring inside my soul.

Did I mention that I am also impatient?

I was the kind of kid that couldn’t wait for the next day.  I used to use a razor knife to open my Christmas presents ahead of time to see what I got and then retape them and put them back under the tree.  I would even get in front of my siblings at the dentist’s office because I simply could not stand to wait!

Which brings me back to the problem of writing a book.  Every time I would sit at the keyboard, I expected the book to just start flowing out.  It never did.  I would become frustrated and walk away. But after giving my heart to Christ, I began to understand that things don’t really happen according to our plan.  God’s timing controls this universe, even though we like to play like we have control over what we do.  So even though I thought I was an author, I decided to give my plans up and allow God to show me what it was that He had planned for my life.

Lovett CoverAbout four years ago, I began sharing scriptures on my Facebook page.  Each day, I would post random scriptures to share with my friends.  Soon I began adding a small devotion along with them.  Then I felt that I could reach more people by making a Facebook page that could reach beyond my circle of friends and so I began The Country Road.  About the same time, I was struggling with how to live out Paul’s admonition to Timothy that all of scripture is inspired and useful (2 Tim 3:16) and so I set out to use The Country Road to take those who were following the page sequentially through the New Testament.  After about three years, I paused one day to look back and realized something.  When I wasn’t even trying to, I had written a book!  Not just one, but several.  When I gave up what I wanted and committed to follow God’s plan for my life I received what I had been looking for and so much more!

With The Country Road Through The Book Of Matthew now in print, I look back and see how God worked things through His plan in ways that I never could.  The years that I thought I was spending living in the waiting room, He was spending teaching me and guiding me down a path that lead to this moment.  When I was wondering if I would ever write a book He was clearing the path of obstacles I never knew existed.  And while I was questioning if the paragraph I was writing every day was even worth the effort, He was compiling a series of books that allow the reader to spend time with Him daily as they stroll through the New Testament together.  Even the desire He gave me to use a Christian publisher led me to Westbow, a company that I have come to know holds the same values that I do.

So my advice to new authors is simply this.  If you feel like you have a book inside of you but you can’t manage to put it on paper, try giving it up to God instead.  Follow what He has planned for your life and, if a book is part of it, it will find its way to paper.  If not, He will always have some other way in mind for you to get out the message you have in your heart.  His ways are always better than ours.

I’ve always known there was an author inside me.

There, I said it.

But now I know that the Author inside of me is the Holy Spirit.  And I have discovered that what I once thought of as the waiting room is actually the life that He had planned for me all along.

-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.


#FirstCopySelfie – Authors Share That Magical Moment

In February, Michael Bergman posted to his Instagram account an ecstatic shot of himself holding the first copy of his new WestBow Press title, “The Kingdom of Arke.” The photo showed the unfiltered joy that thousands of WestBow Press authors experience each year when they run to their mailboxes and pull out a package containing the culmination of a dream they’ve had for years — becoming a published author.

selfie mike

Michael Bergman, the #FirstCopySelfie “pioneer” shares the moment he held the first copy of his new book, “The Kingdom of Arke.”

Mike’s joy inspired us to call on all other WestBow Press authors to share their own triumphant moments; bringing life to a continuing phenomenon we’re calling the #FirstCopySelfie. Since then, dozens of authors have tweeted or Facebooked their photos, tagged #FirstCopySelfie, and we’ve taken as much joy in seeing and sharing those moments; as those authors felt when they laid eyes on that first published copy of their books.

If you haven’t shared your #FirstCopySelfie, what are you waiting for — we’d love to see it, and share it, today! Simply take a photo, tag it #FirstCopySelfie, and post it directly to the WestBow Press Facebook page or tweet it to us @WestBowPress. If in the excitement of receiving your first copy you forgot to capture that magical moment, grab another copy and your cellphone and re-enact that moment. It’s never too late to celebrate your accomplishment.

And why not take it a step further and put your feelings into words by submitting a 350-650 word guest post to be considered for posting on this blog? Tell us about your publishing journey. What you learned. What you’d like to share with other aspiring authors. A great experience or two that came to be as a result of publishing your book. What inspired you to write your book. How you hope your book will impact readers.

Submissions can be sent as Word documents to kgray at westbowpress dot com; and please attach a photo or two that we might include with your post. If your post makes the blog, it will include a link to your book’s page on the WestBow Press bookstore and be linked to from the WestBow Press homepage.

We love to hear these stories and to share them with readers, authors and others who aspire to publish their books. And that #FirstCopySelfie, those prove that a picture is worth a thousand words!

–  Kevin A. Gray
WestBow Press blog publisher

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John Stahnke & Naomi Jewell: Father & Daughter Bring to Life Story 30 Years in the Making

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 Jonathan Stahnke & Naomi Jewell, a father-daughter team who co-authored, “The Blue Feather Escape.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hello, my name is Jonathan Stahnke, and I am one of the authors of The Blue Feather Escape. Like all books, ours has a very interesting story of how
it came to be. As unbelievable as it sounds, the plot for this book has been in the making for nearly thirty years.First Time

When I was very young, my parents used to take my four siblings and myself camping in San Isabel National Forest. On one of those trips, we went walking along a dirt road and begged my dad for a story. As we walked, Dad invented a story about several orphaned children who lived in a forest and became friends with a mysterious bluebird. This was the first telling of what became known as “The Bluebird Story”, and it wasn’t long before the impromptu tale became a staple on all of our camping trips. I loved the story so much that even after I grew up and started my own family, it lived on as I told it to my children.

Blue FeatherWhen I was about thirty, I decided to develop my dad’s short oral story into a novel, which proved to be a bigger task than I anticipated. I had to do a lot of research and write more than ten drafts. After a few years, though, I discovered that while I am a great story-teller, I’m not a good enough writer to be published. And so I was stuck. But, thankfully, Providence intervened and provided me a much needed co-author, Naomi…

Hi! My name is Naomi Jewell, and I am sixteen years old. Now, it probably seems to you that since I published a novel at such a young age, I must have loved writing my whole life. My fingers must have been born holding a pen, I must have spent my whole childhood making up stories, my parents must have been shocked at my amazing abilities…
Ok, you can stop thinking that now. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth! My poor mom (who has home schooled me my whole life) tried everything she could think of to get me to put ANYTHING on paper. And it worked. Once. In the first grade.authorphoto

But from then until I was about thirteen, I was adamant: writing was pure torture!!! And if it was up to me, that is where the story would have ended. You never would have heard of The Blue Feather Escape. It would have been left on the laptop to live out the rest of its days in silence. But, fortunately, God had a better plan.

It took two years in a homeschool co-op writing class to change my mind. But by the end, I had discovered that God had given me a very unique gift for words. Also right around that time, my dad, Jonathan, was discovering that he didn’t have that gift. As a story teller, he is simply brilliant, more so than I could ever hope to be. But it didn’t take long for us to decide that putting the story – a story I had heard ever since I could remember – into words would be my job.

Fast-forward about ten months and a couple heaps of hard work later, and there we were, opening a box postmarked “Bloomington, IN”. Needless to say, it’s a very unbelievable experience to open a box and find a book inside. Well, not just any book, but a book with your name on it!

Check out Naomi’s blog at http://naomijewell.blogspot.com/ and Like Naomi and John on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JSNaomiJewell/

– 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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