Karen D. Wood: Neurotherapist’s Book of Prayers for Different Parts of the Brain

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 Karen D. Wood; a licensed clinical social worker, and author of “Brain Prayers.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It basically happened in a matter of days. I was reading a book on different parts of the brain, and it had one line prayers in each chapter. I appreciated the idea, but the prayers did not relate to the wonderful brain part of the chapter.

As a neurotherapist teaching clients about the brain, I would often pray for their brains. So, I wondered. They would ask me to write the prayers out. What would a book look like with prayers for specific parts of the brain. Who could write it?

Karen D. Wood, L.C.S.W.; is a neurotherapist and “brain trainer.”

Just a few days later, driving down an oak shadowed, curvy country road, the idea was clear in minutes. Ten parts of the brain, with three pages on each, so it could be read as a thirty day devotional. Full of colored pictures and information, in boxes for quicker reading (for us ADHD readers!). For someone with a minute or an hour. And prayers. On the left side of the page for the reader to pray for their own brain modeled after the Lord’s Prayer.

It is familiar, when brain parts might not be. After all the amygdala, hippocampus and corpus callosum are not in the Bible! On the right side of the page, a prayer to pray for another’s brain. Wow! What a great idea! So many are hungry for information on the brain, yet it just isn’t very available at a level most can understand.

But, wait. Who would write it? I remember driving down that curvy road, laughing at the thought of writing a book. Not me. Not an author! Rather, a therapist passionate about the amazing brain and how it could heal. But, by the end of the curvy road, I was the author. I was overwhelmed to tears by the very thought of the task, but I knew the format idea was a clear gift that day.

I started researching brain images, and was drawn to one, which became the color scheme. I started finding information, writing the prayers, and designing what the pages might look like, to present the idea to a publisher. After searching for a publisher, I chose WestBow Press for its publishing , and was encouraged by my first contact there to develop the graphics I had started.

Wood CoverWhat? I was planning on handing that project to a graphic artist. And yet, I began the long journey of learning about copyrighted images, and getting rights to publish images. It often seemed to be such a daunting process, as the first draft was lost on a stolen computer. I went to a cabin in the mountains for a week to recreate the whole concept. Two months later, that second draft was delayed as I healed from a crushed back. The final edits were done from the hospital bed in my family room. But, soon came the moment of opening the boxes of full color books as they arrived. Friends, family, and clients started ordering more to give as gifts.

Now I have the joy of hearing how the book Brain Prayers is being used by clinicians and clients, grammas and their grandchildren. Recently I was sent a video of a pastor’s wife in Ghana learning about the concepts of the brain and praying for it. Other editions are now being drafted.

-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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Pastor Tommy Mann: A Sunday Sermon Leads to a Book

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 Pastor Tommy Mann; associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in Union, South Carolina, and author of  “Where Did Jesus Go?
To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Where was the soul of Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

Tommy Mann is associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in S.C.

Tommy Mann is associate pastor at Philippi Baptist Church in S.C.

I had always assumed Jesus’ body remained in the grave, but where was His soul? I became curiousabout this when I was preaching through Ephesians and I came to 4:8-9, which says,

When He ascended on high He led a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.”(In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that He had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?)”

As I began to read commentaries and ask people for their opinion on these verses I found no agreement: some said Jesus went to hell; some said He went to heaven; some said He went up; some said He went down; some said He went nowhere, and on and on.

I dedicated a significant amount of time in researching my question, “Where was the soul of Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?” I prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead me into truth, as Jesus promised in John 16:13, and I began to seriously study this matter. My professors had always taught us to let Scripture interpret Scripture, meaning that Bible verses should always be compared to other verses to find either harmony or disagreement.

This process led me to take each opinion I could find, and see how it lined up with Scripture. For example, the opinion that Jesus’ soul remained in the tomb is not consistent with the verse that said He preached to the spirits in Hades (1 Peter 3:19); the belief that Jesus went up to heaven does not line up with Jesus’ statement to Mary Magdalene that He had not been to the Father (John 20:17). One by one I began to eliminate theories that I found to be unbiblical, and I was left with one option. When I reached my conclusion I preached a message I called Where Did Jesus Go?

MannbookFor months following that Sunday evening sermon I was flooded with calls and messages with follow up questions. I realized there was too much information to cram into one message, and it was then I decided to write the book.

This was a fairly easy book to write because most of the work had already been done during sermon preparation. The book explores the options on the table, and rules out the ones that don’t line up with Scripture. When the manuscript was finished I began to search online for self-publishing options; I was attracted to WestBow because it is a division of Thomas Nelson, the leader in Christian book publishing. Everyone from the acquisitions team, editors, cover designers, and marketing consultants have been fantastic.

Where Did Jesus Go? not only addresses the question of where Jesus spent the time preceding the Resurrection, it also gives an in depth look at:

Heaven, Paradise, and New Jerusalem;

Hell, Hades, and the Lake of Fire;

Gahenna, Tartarus, and Purgatory.

I am grateful to WestBow Press for giving me the opportunity to turn this message into a book, and I hope it can help readers learn more about this important time in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Annie Clark: Young Author Offers Encouragement for Overcoming Obstacles

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 an exceptional young lady named Annie Clark, who recently released “Write/Right Where I Am.”
To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

AnnieTrophyGoogle Annie Clark’s name and you will find that she is published author, a pianist, a basketball player and the recipient of national awards for her exquisite penmanship. Now consider that Annie’s accomplished all of this by the age of 11; and that she was born without hands and her story becomes truly exceptional.

Annie was adopted by Tom and Mary Ellen Clark of McKeesport, Pennsylvania when she was just 2 ½ years old; one of seven Chinese children – all with disabilities or special needs – the couple has brought into their home.

The exceptional story about the Clarks, whom their pediatrician refers to as “the nicest family on the planet,” was well known in the Pittsburgh area. After seven-year old Annie won the first of her national penmanship awards, media across the country including Good Morning America, People Magazine and The Glenn Beck Show took notice of this inspiring young lady. Her “I can do it,” attitude is the focus of her debut book released through WestBow earlier this spring.

Annie at a recent book signing.

Annie at a recent book signing.planet,” was well known around the Pittsburgh area. After seven-year old Annie won the first of her national penmanship awards, media across the country including Good Morning America, People Magazine and The Glenn Beck Show took notice of this inspiring young lady. Her “I can do it,” attitude is the focus of her debut book released through WestBow earlier this spring.

Quoting Annie: I wrote Write/Right Where I Am because I felt inspired to. I wanted to 

tell people to persevere. It is very hard to keep persevering! Especially when you are frustrated! This book is about my experience and how I persevered through some challenges that I wanted to share with you. It took me two years to finish my book.  My first two book signings were great because I got to meet new people and talk to my friends that went to my book signing. Also I loved the book signings because I had fun!

Annie’s book, Write/Right Where I Am is available in paperback and e-book formats through the WestBow Press bookstore, Amazon and other major online book retailers. To learn more, visit Annie’s website www.writewhereiam.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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation; as well as for space. 


Darrin Gray: Beyond the Jersey

The Indianapolis Colts kicked off their 2015 NFL season August 1, with the opening of training camp in Anderson, Indiana. For 12 seasons, from 1999-2010, punter Hunter Smith, participated in this annual right of summer. Upon retiring, Smith moved onto other ventures, including co-authoring “The Jersey Effect: Beyond the World Championship with his friend and business associate Darrin Gray.
Gray contributed the following guest post about his and Smith’s WestBow Press self-publishing journey.
To get started on your self-publishing journey, get your  
free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Darrin Gray and former NFL punter Hunter Smith, co-authors of "The Jersey Effect."

Darrin Gray and former NFL punter Hunter Smith, co-authors of “The Jersey Effect.”

I have a unique window into the NFL by virtue of my day-to-day involvement with All Pro Dad, Family First’s national non-profit fatherhood program founded by former NFL coach Tony Dungy. I have the privilege of interacting regularly with NFL athletes, coaches, and alumni that serve as spokesmen for All Pro Dad, and I’m blessed to have conducted programs with over half of the NFL teams.

A few years ago I co-authored a book with my good friend, former Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins punter, Hunter Smith. At the time Hunter was a well respected NFL veteran, but upon retiring from football, he embarked on new journeys. Now he’s a published author, lead singer of The Hunter Smith Band and a fantastic public speaker.

TheJerseyEffectWe wanted to tell Hunter’s story and to share how pro sports is shaping American culture. We called it “The Jersey Effect: Beyond the World Championship.” I think our provocative title increased peoples’ curiosity, and along with Hunter’s status as a former NFL player, helped to create some buzz. Adding to the buzz, Hunter lined up a bunch of his Super Bowl XLVI champion teammates to help us in promoting the book, and invited Coach Dungy to write the Foreword which appears in the book.

Writing the book was a team effort. I had the honor to work with Hunter and several of his former  teammates along with Ken Turner and Stephen Copeland. Writing became a process of discovery, organized loosely around a simple question: ‘What motivates some athletes to use their pro platform in sports, and their jersey, to make a positive impact both on and off the field?’

We had a ball writing the book and we learned a lot about ourselves as we looked into the hearts and minds of men who had reached the pinnacle of their profession – Super Bowl success.

These men had won a prestigious earthly prize, but they faced battles along the way. God had given them a chance to make a positive difference in the world with their jersey, but sometimes they struggled to balance their good intentions with the same obstacles we all face: pride, materialism, distractions, and their own character flaws. We worked hard to tell the honest stories of champions who desired to reflect glory back to God by using their “jersey” and the platform God had given them, through their athletic gifts, to make a positive difference in the world.

Gray speaking to an audience at the Indianapolis Colts training center.

Gray speaking to an audience at the Indianapolis Colts training center.

Self-publishing proved to be a great solution for us, because we were working with a tight deadline Our goal was to complete the book so that it would be ready to promote on the famed Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVI, which was held in Indianapolis in February 2012.

We chose to release it as an E-book first and then about 100 days later, we released the print version. WestBow Press helped us get it into bookstores, and made it available for purchase through all the major book distribution channels across America and around the world.

To date, we’ve sold thousands of copies, and continue to be amazed by the number of people that share with us that they read the book, and how it has reshaped their thinking about sports. Hunter and I remain busy supporting the book and its message. Not a week goes by that one or both of us, aren’t speaking about “The Jersey Effect,” signing copies or teaching lessons from the book.

Together we are still helping Americans to keep sports in proper perspective and to understand how to properly align their love of sports with God’s heart,

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, by tweeting us@WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

 


Katherine Whitehead: The Shining Dream

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 Katherine Whitehead, author of “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” To start your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Pres publishing guide today. 

Dreams don’t have to fade like sunsets. Sometimes they refuse to set.

Gum CoverMy dream to publish a book shone for 36 years. I started to write when my children were toddlers. Authors used typewriters then, not computers. The carbon paper was horrid. Everyday I wrote in a small notebook that fit in my purse. I recorded our daily lives and told about my faith. While I waited for my children in doctors’ and dentists’ offices I also wrote children’s stories. When my daughter and son were in grade school I wrote the first draft of my mid-grades book, “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” My dream was shining and I kept my faith in God, no matter what happening to us.

My hyperactive son was the inspiration for this story. He made a horrible mess from kitchen ingredients. It delighted him! I was not happy. In “The Mysterious Growing Gum,” James who is ten, makes a mix of spices, cooking liquids and hand lotion. He spills some on his gum and the gum starts to grow and GROW.

The gum totally disrupts his family. His 15-year old sister, Ann, and their dog save James from real danger. He is distressed because he doesn’t know what he did to make gum grow.
He feels responsible for creating such a problem and devises a messy way to eliminate the gum.
Writing this story was real joy for me. I wanted to write something children would have fun reading. The sun was still shining and I had faith and hope.

A career teaching music to elementary public school children was the next writing time thief. My love of music dimmed the writing sun. The job was too demanding to write. Finally retirement! Writing again made the sun shine brighter and the book was revised and finished. My husband cheered me all along the way and was a great help. But after 36 years I didn’t know what to do with the book!

I researched publishers and found Westbow Press. I liked their religious emphasis and they were well established, helpful, professional and they cared about doing a job well. They call me often and help and encourage me. The sun still shines and I’ m glad I never gave up my dream.

My profits will go to the charity, Save the Children. Many children have no dreams except to wish for food, water, and shelter. I hope to help and make their dreams grow brighter.

This is the first verse of a hymn written by Bradford Torry in 1875. It’s still true and one of my
favorites. It helped me hold on to my dream and keep my faith shining.

growing gum image

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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Charlie Liebert: Answering Questions About Jesus

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 Charlie Liebert, author of two WestBow Press titles “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer” and “ANSWERS for ‘The Hope That Is In You.’” For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

At age 70, in 2012, I was teaching a Christian Business Men’s group a series of lessons on personal evangelism.  Week after week I heard a common refrain from a class member, “I don’t share the Gospel because of all questions I can’t answer that my unbelieving friends and family ask me.”
Jesus was often questioned and he frequently answered them with another question to expose the questioners’ motives and presuppositions.  He was using a strategy anyone could use to get to the Gospel without first directly answering their questions.charlie

Since I’ve taught college Business subjects for the last 12 years, I developed a series of lesson plans.  After I finished teaching the lessons, several of the men asked if I would give them the plans so they could share these concepts with other believers.  As I shared this experience with one of my spiritual mentors Bob said, “Why don’t you write a book explaining this concept?
I took this as a call to work and I began to put “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer!” together.  It took a lot of Bible study to fully develop the concept and as I did I realized just how much Jesus used this approach in dealing with the Pharisees, the rich young ruler and many others.  After I’d completed an outline and several chapters I was discussing this concept with another Christian brother and he said,”…but eventually you need to answer their question.”  I agreed and the second call to write came.

Always BeI became a Christian at age 35 and by the time I was 40 was doing a ministry related to creation, science and the Bible.  I even worked for Answers in Genesis for a short time in those early years.  In the middle 1980s I set up a web page www.SixDayCreation.com that allowed readers to ask questions that I would then answer.  After more than 20 years of Q and A, I developed answers to over 100 common questions the world asks Christians.

So my second book began, “ANSWERS For ‘The Hope That Is In You.'”  As I wrote, in addition to answersanswering over 100 questions, I added analysis of the differences between Biblical Creation and Atheistic Evolution.  Both of these books have just gone live (June 2015) and I will begin promoting them as soon as I get the website running. As I read ANSWERS during one of the proof steps I realized I’d been critical of Evolution but I really hadn’t made a strong enough case against it.  So book three is underway, “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s DEAD!”  These three miracles are: Magic — something from nothing; Frankenstein — live from dead stuff; and Uphill Molasses, the uphill flow of evolution in a universe that is running down.

I have also written some fiction but that’s another story.

Follow Charlie Liebert on Facebook and visit www.SixDayCreation.com for more information.

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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Adam D. York: 3 Takeaways from CBA’s International Christian Retail Show for a Self-Published Author

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.  In this piece, Adam D. York, author of “Meet Penny Nickels,” shares his experiences from the 2015 International Christian Retail Show which took place June 28 – July 1 in Orlando, Florida.  For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

ICRSlogo
There’s nothing more important to first-time authors than opportunities to introduce your book or platform to the masses, especially when it involves the retail market. Exposure is key, and every moment to be face to face with buyers and retail suppliers is a must. Even more, for self-published authors, opportunities to network with other authors and publishers can be of great value when it comes to professional growth.

All of these reasons are what led me to become a member of the Christian Bookseller’s Association (CBA) and register for CBA’s International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). My goal in attending the show was precisely to learn about various retail organizations and what they are looking for, to network with retailers, publishers, and authors, and to gain wisdom from leaders within the CBA.

Adam D  York_ICRS (2)

WestBow Press author Adam D. York stands outside the 2015 ICRS conference.

I was pleasantly surprised by the conversations I was able to have with retail exhibitors, publishing companies, and breakout session leaders. For a first-time, self-published author, those moments were priceless. On top of that, getting a face to face interaction with WestBow staff helped give some relational personality to their highly organized publishing process.

As an encouragement for first-time and self-published authors, here are three takeaways from ICRS that are sure to help along the publishing journey:

 

Be a Human Sponge

meetpennynickelscover

 

Before you even set foot into the convention center doors, study and prepare for whom you want to see
and what you want to learn. Take note of key names, speakers, and organizations that you’d like to visit and learn from. (The official ICRS app is very helpful for pre-planning your conference experience). Upon entering the conference exhibit hall, take mental notes of what seems to be trending throughout. Take photos of retail displays to get ideas for what you might be able to pitch or offer a retailer for your own product.  Ultimately, don’t pass up opportunities to soak in wisdom from specific breakout sessions that relate or correlate to your own book or message.

York and his wife, Kathryn, spent their time at ICRS networking with industry professionals.

York’s wife Kathryn at ICRS.

Make Yourself Known

Especially in the conference-style setting, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other authors, publishers, and retailers. Keep on hand your business card, informational brochure, or book to be able to leave a lasting impression. You’ll never know where those conversations or moments can lead. If applicable, invest in WestBow’s author book signing opportunities to have your books on hand for conference attendees or pay for display space on WestBow’s exhibit bookshelf. As a step further, study the pre-conference guide to find out if there are any specific, face-to-face appointments you might want to make ahead of time.

Look Beyond Your Book

"Meet Penny Nickels makes it ICRS debut!

“Meet Penny Nickels makes it ICRS debut!

While your book is ultimately the first priority, there’s much value in dreaming beyond the book and building a brand. For a children’s book, are there characters that can be brought to life as toys? Maybe you can create a correlating coloring book to sell alongside the book? For fiction books or novels, are there opportunities for sequels or spin-offs? For self-help books, is there a product or message that can be expanded upon in addition to the book? Since we live in a digital world, WestBow’s e-Reader cards are valuable tools to invest in for shows like ICRS, as it gives conference attendees a fast way to view and experience your book. These are the types of ideas you can gain inspiration for at ICRS. It sure can’t hurt to dream big.

Above all, the very fitting 2015 ICRS theme “EXPECT” says it all. God is always faithful, and when He gives us a message to proclaim to the world around us, we should expect Him to do great things as we do our part to share that message. Make the most of your opportunities, and watch God use you to make a difference in this world.

Adam D. York is the author of  “Meet Penny Nickels”, a children’s book published and released by WestBow Press in June 2015. He currently serves as Director of Alumni Communication & Young Alumni at Belmont University. Adam and his wife, Kathryn, reside in Franklin, Tenn. Keep up with Adam via his personal blog, Dream. Write. Lead.

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, by tweeting us@WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

 

 


Dan Salerno: Relationships Are Complicated

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 Dan Salerno, author of “20 Short Ones.” For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

20ShortOnes

I began writing 20 Short Ones during a year where I read the Bible four times straight through, from
Genesis to Revelation. So I was thinking about God’s word a lot and began to see it as a collection of stories about how God relates to us. At the same time, I looked back on my own life as a series of stories; so much of 20 Short Ones is auto-biographical. The stories kept on coming until I had 20 of them, with a theme of relationships.

Short stories work for me because the format forces me to get to the point quickly without much time to go into tons of detail. However, if I’m doing my job as a writer, there’s enough of a storyline there to grab the reader’s attention and keep it. The whole idea is engagement, to get the reader to experience and think.

salerno mugWhen reviews of my book started coming in I was actually surprised to find that a few of them mentioned lessons hiding just beneath the surface. For instance, to take a chance in getting to know someone, to be open to new experiences. Finally it dawned on me that there was a specific message of hope that was being offered by way of all this storytelling. Hope in the kindness of others, hope in not always having to figure out the next step in friendships before taking it, the hope of redemption and love. Most of all hope that God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us is very real.

In regards to the actual process of publishing a book once it’s written, a major lesson I’ve learned is that I no longer own it. What I mean by that is that I had a definite idea of what each story in the book is about, but many times, a reader sees something else. The first few times this happened, I was thrown for a bit of a loop, but now I realize it’s actually evidence that any work, once it’s shared publicly, is open to interpretation. That’s a good thing because it leaves tremendous freedom for meaning to be found, discussion to take place and feelings to be shared.

Visit Dan Salerno online and Like  Dan on Facebook  for more information.

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, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Chad Michael McDonald: What I Learned from Publishing My Book

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 Chad McDonald, author of “To My Children:  Love, Dad.” Click here to receive a free publishing guide and to receive more information on self-publishing your book with WestBow Press.

My first book, To My Children:  Love, Dad, has finally been published.   Let’s just say it was an interesting experience.  I am on disability and, therefore, had the time to spend on the book.

I did learn a few things in the process.  Select a publisher who has your values.  If you are Christian, you definitely will want to work with a Christian publisher.  Patience was especially important for me.  With a limited budget, your selection of publisher services will likewise be limited.  I only paid for things up front and that is the way it is in the industry.  If you want to publish to the nines, use the company editorial services, and maximize your out of the gate marketing, be prepared to pay more than I did.  These services are worth it, but if you’re willing to be patient, you can do it on a budget.

Editing

It had been many years since I had written and, frankly, I found myself writing and editing with amcdonald grammar book open many times.  Commas are still my nemesis but I hammered through it.  Don’t hesitate to ask a friend or to go out and buy that grammar book.  In the end, it pays off.  Or at least I’m hoping it will.  If you are imperfect at editing, get one of the many grammar checking software programs out there.  They will definitely save you time.   In my case, I chose to relearn the grammar of the English language, but that’s what happens when you’re on disability.

Once you submit your book for design, take your time and look for design as well as grammatical errors.   If you didn’t catch the errors the first hundred times through your book, catch them now.  It may be annoying and seem as if it is nickel and diming you to death, but a quality book is what you want to be able to present to the public.  You might as well start saving money for this stage of publishing when you begin writing your book.

Gratitude

Be grateful to each and every person along the way.  Thank them each step of the way and with every e-mail.  Be sincere in thanking them, after all, they are doing their job but they are the ones who can make this process pleasant or miserable.  Remember to be sure your work is done before asking them to do theirs.  Going over the same mistakes is painful for everybody.   Gratitude goes a long way in life, especially when you’re engaged in a business transaction that you hope to make money on.

Learn their names and don’t waste their time.  Most publishing “meetings” will take place by e-mail because time is a limited commodity.  Show them due respect, and don’t take your frustrations out on them.  Inevitably, some may come through but try to be humble about it.  They aren’t paid to listen to us complain.

As you progress through the process realize that this is only the middle of your book writing journey.  You still have sales and marketing.  Listen to what the publisher’s marketers are telling you.  Ask questions that are limited to their position and, if that doesn’t get you the answer, ask for a referral to a person who does.  Marketers may not have all the answers but there’s a reason they are in that position:  they know things you probably don’t.  The reason publishers provide marketing experts to you is simple:  if you can make money, they are going to make money.  And isn’t a little extra for that vacation worth listening to someone who knows what they are talking about?

Sales are your responsibility unless you have a deal with your publisher.  Be prepared to give a lot of face time in front of groups, book stores, and online.  Your returns will match your efforts and don’t be shy about using your connections to help you.  And be sure to reward those who help you, even if it’s with a free book.

As for me personally, things are slow because I don’t have a lot of resources.  These things I have told you are lessons learned and worth learning.  I have started my second book and will be using my own advice when dealing with Westbow Press in the future.  And I will be saving up for the next publishing experience with the profits I make from this book.

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 our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


John Trautwein: Life Teammates on Both Sides of the Field – Part II

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. In recognition of Father’s Day, the following is the final part of a two part series written by John Trautwein, author of  My Living Will: A Father’s Story of Loss & Hope.”
As a former pitcher who toed the rubber at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Trautwein has realized euphoric joy. As a father, who lost his 15 year old son, Will, to depression and suicide, he also knows depths of unimaginable pain. Out of this tragedy, Trautwein and his wife Susan created the Will to Live Foundation to raise awareness about teen suicide. The following is a story Trautwein shared from his work.

We talked a bit further, he bought a book and I signed it for him. He had to get home before the blizzard just got too crazy. We exchanged business cards, hugged again, and I noticed a slight smile on his face, I believe he was very pleased he had made the effort to come see me. I think he knew he really made my night – and I think that made him feel good – at least I hope it did. I was touched, so touched that I called my father that night in Florida and told him the story and he remembered Tom “He was a great pitcher John – that is so great – what a story!”

Trautwein, has given over 300 speeches to teams, families, students of middle schools and high schools, Church groups, youth groups, coaches, parents and counselors alike, since the Foundation began in late 2010.

Trautwein, has given over 300 speeches to teams, families, students of middle schools and high schools, Church groups, youth groups, coaches, parents and counselors alike, since the Foundation began in late 2010.

Up until that moment, for the past four years I’d been preaching to teens about the absolute power they have as “teammates” in all aspects of life, to inspire each other- and as a result improve each other’s will to live. “A compliment from a teammate means more than a compliment from a coach” is a phrase I coined and have said thousands of times. Well, Tom Conlin was never officially a teammate of mine. He was a competitor and a rival who sat in the opposing dugout – and it hit me so hard… Life Teammates goes so far beyond your own team. There is a bond that forms among competitors as well – and Tom and I had proved it. Thirty years later, he came to see me, because he was touched by my story and wanted to show me support, and it meant the world to me that he did.

The very next weekend I was back home in GA and had the opportunity to speak to the University of GA and GA Southern University men’s lacrosse teams after their game. They gathered together at mid field after an extremely hard fought- competitive battle loaded with hits, shots, trash talking and shoving – it really was a battle. The whole game I knew I would speak to both teams together and I said to my wife, “Susie – these two teams are killing each other out there – how do I talk about Life Teammates to them – 2 minutes after the game?” Then it hit me – “I’ll talk about Tommy Conlin – that’s what I’ll do.”

I told them the story of my high school rival coming to see me 30 years later. We are friends – we are life teammates – a bond that was formed on the field of battle not in the dugout. “Guys, trust me, your paths will cross again – somewhere in life and you’ll have a special bond because you were together on this field tonight – don’t forget that – these life teammate relationships can form on both sidelines and both dugouts – and I’m here to tell you when it does it’s wonderful.”

The speech was a big success and I remember thinking I need to send a note to Tom letting him know that his kind gesture helped me inspire some college athletes. When I got to work that Monday, instead of me writing a letter to Tom – I was stunned to find that in my “inbox” there was a letter from him awaiting me.

He thanked me for the book and my efforts and told me a story that I had not heard before that concerned my family. You see, during that season in high school some 35 years ago, despite his team beating us twice during the regular season, in the State Tournament we finally beat them (and Tom who pitched) 1-0 and Tom walked in the winning run to get the loss. He and his teammates then had to watch us all jump on each other because we were heading “down state”. WTL-logo

What Tom explained to me thirty-five years later, was something I didn’t know and it moved me. While we were going crazy on the field celebrating, Tom was in the dugout with his hands in his face, so upset for losing such a heartbreaking game that would end his high school season and career. Tom’s not mentioned that while he was sitting by himself so upset, with tears in his eyes, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a strange man he had not seen before said “Hang in there Tom Conlin, you pitched a heck of a game, and you are one excellent pitcher – promise me you’ll keep you head up”.

Tom just looked up and shook the stranger’s hand and whispered a tragic “thank you sir”. The stranger started to walk out of the dugout and heard Tom say “excuse me, but do I know you sir?” The man smiled and said, “I’m John Trautwein’s Dad.”

Tom asked me to please tell my dad “thanks” for such a kind act that really made him feel better – thirty-five years ago! “His kind words have stuck with me for a long time” Tom wrote, “and when I tell the story to my kids, my ‘life Teammates’ or kids that I coach, your Dad’s kind words always make me feel better…” I sat there in my office, once again with tears flowing – and simply said “wow.” I immediately called my dad – we shared a nice memory – a nice thought – and talked about new love from an old friend.

In “My Living Will” – I refer to so many wonderful experiences, conversations and gestures of kindness and love that enabled me and my family to navigate through an unbelievable grieving process that we faced with the death of our Will. My first book signing gave me not only another chapter for my story, but a reconnection with a Life Teammate that I didn’t know I had. It enabled me to find another source of love and hope in my life and as a good friend once taught me – love heals.

John Trautwein
May 2015

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 our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


John Trautwein: Life Teammates on Both Sides of the Field – Part I

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. In recognition of Father’s Day, the following is the first of a two part series written by John Trautwein, author of  My Living Will: A Father’s Story of Loss & Hope.”
As a former pitcher who toed the rubber at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Trautwein has realized euphoric joy. As a father, who lost his 15 year old son, Will, to depression and suicide, he also knows depths of unimaginable pain. Out of this tragedy, Trautwein and his wife Susan created the Will to Live Foundation to raise awareness about teen suicide. The following is a story Trautwein shared from his work. 

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John Trautwein pitched for the 1988 Boston Red Sox.
Image credit: Fleer Inc

It was a cold and snowy late January Saturday evening in Chicago. In fact it was “Super Bowl Eve 2015” and I found myself at an old hangout of mine in my home town of Barrington IL, called Chessies. I was surrounded by some of the oldest and best friends I’ve ever had. They were there to see me and help promote my new book, My Living Will:  A Father’s Story of Loss & Hopethat had been released just one month before.

It was my first book signing of my short career as an author, and old friends, and their families, had come out to see me, purchase my book and simply talk about the old days – a mini-high school reunion of sorts. Several old high school baseball coaches were there, my brother and his friends were there – so many of my high school classmates were there – my life friends – my Life Teammates.

My Living Will is the story of my life after the tragic suicide death of my oldest child, my son Will. The book explains how when he died in October of 2010, I thought my life was over – I thought I’d never feel love again- but my family and my friends quickly proved me wrong. They picked me up and not only showed me the good but inspired me to create the non-profit Will To Live Foundation, that would inspire teenagers to reach out and recognize the true love they have in their friends today. Life friends – I now refer to them as Life Teammates. So here I was – with my Life Teammates, so many of them, and I was so pleased to be with them. So many hugs and “Love Ya Mans” exclaimed throughout the evening.

Trautwein coverWhat made that night very special was the fact it was a blizzard outside. In fact, I would end up being stranded in Chicago for two more days as the snow simply refused to stop falling. A great problem to have – as my brother and I would have a great weekend together, something we had not done for years. Around 8pm that evening, with the snow literally pounding down upon us, I looked around the room at so many old friends, and noticed a new face coming towards me.

“Hey John – do you remember me?” – a tall dark haired man, about my age, was smiling a friendly and hopeful smile as he awaited for my reply. Fortunately, he was kind enough to quickly eliminate my feelings of embarrassment for not recognizing him and he said “John, I’m Tom Conlin”

“Tom Conlin!!!!! I practically yelled, “From Hersey High?” He smiled and I hugged him in absolute shock. “Now way – What are you doing here, do you live in Barrington Tom?”

“Nope, it took me a long time to get here due to the snow, but I wanted to see you John, I saw the article in the paper about your story and the loss of your son – and that you were doing the book signing here – and I wanted to see you… I have kids, teenagers, and well… your story moved me – and I wanted you to know how sorry I am and how proud I am of what you’re doing.”

I had to sit down, I was stunned – I wiped some tears away from my eyes and I notice Tom doing the same. He and I were rival baseball players in high school – some thirty years before. Pretty big time rivals in fact. My senior year at Barrington, as a Pitcher I was 10-2 – ten wins and 2 losses, both losses were to Hersey High and their star pitcher – Mr. Tom Conlin. “I hated that guy” I used to think. I hated him in a way a rival hates someone he can’t seem to beat – but I also respected him because he was very good, and I was almost bummed to find out what a great guy he was when we met at the All Star Game after the season ended. I went on to pitch at Northwestern and he pitched at Notre Dame. Our paths crossed our senior year in college and he beat us, but this time, at least I was not the pitcher.

Suffering from depression, 15 year old Will Trautwein took his life on Oct. 10, 2010 .

Suffering from depression, 15 year old Will Trautwein took his life on Oct. 10, 2010 .

We talked a bit further, he bought a book and I signed it for him. He had to get home before the blizzard just got too crazy. We exchanged business cards, hugged again, and I noticed a slight smile on his face, I believe he was very pleased he had made the effort to come see me. I think he knew he really made my night – and I think that made him feel good – at least I hope it did. I was touched, so touched that I called my father that night in Florida and told him the story and he remembered Tom “He was a great pitcher John – that is so great – what a story!”

Read Part II of Trautwein’s story, June 22 on the WestBow Press blog.

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 our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


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