Kristan Gray: “No One Could Know”

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 Kristan Gray, author of “No One Could Know”. 

No One Could Know cover“If it’s bigger than you, and it won’t leave you alone, you know it’s God’s leading.”

I tucked that bit of advice into my mind’s pocket and held on to it for 28 years. Occasionally I’d pull it out, caress it, ponder its depth, and hide it away for further contemplation. Should I really write a book about having an abortion?

The advice kept getting bigger in my mouth as I chewed on it. How would publishing such a story impact my family and those involved in the real live truth?

Should I include that I was raped a year later?

Yielding to God’s same promises that carried me through such dark times in my teenage years, I cozied into my couch and stared at the white space on my laptop screen. Jesus’ comfort in Matthew 11:28-30 quieted the storm in my mind.

“Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest … For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Holy Spirit gave me peace to complete what He was asking me to do.

The blank computer screen came into focus again.

Blink … blink … think … think …

Blink …

Memories of my mom’s voice resonated inside, “If you’re sweet sixteen and never been kissed, I’ll buy you a gold watch for your birthday.”

And so it began.

Seven days later, I was done with my autobiography “No One Could Know.”

But 25 pages were not enough, so 14 months and 40,000 words later I was finally finished re-writing. Trusted family and friends provided encouragement, dark chocolate, and critiques so my manuscript could be presented to a publisher.

For 20 years I’d researched publishing options, and am pleased with the choice to partner with Westbow Press. I trusted WBP’s parent company Thomas Nelson, after all, they’re the company that published my Bible, and are the biggest name in Christian publishing. My husband had worked for a traditional publishing house, so I was acquainted with costs and time involved. I also knew that even with traditional publishers, a lot is expected from me as an author. My job doesn’t end with the last period at the end of my manuscript. Being a self-published author means I’m a business owner with work to do.Kristan Gray bio photo

Writers have this in common: We want the words we choreograph to dance into the souls of readers and impact their lives somehow. We can no easier restrain a story than a sneeze; it must, it must, it absolutely must spew.

WBP said, “God bless you” before I’d even finished the sneeze. Each person in the company has been a delight. Yes, there have been hiccups, too, as there are with most things worth my time, but WBP employees are “real-live humans,” who are exceptionally polite, and professional to work with on such a sacred mission.

So, whether you hope to sell millions or you want a quiet memoir for your only grandchildren’s coffee tables, I congratulate you for taking on such a task. It’s a rewarding journey!

In addition to purchasing the Standard Package Online Platform, I bought a Women of Faith conference book signing event, and had a positive marketing experience there. Since my book’s been released for less than a year, I’m still anticipating momentum to kick in, but undoubtedly, it’s getting traction.

Most importantly, I believe I’ve obeyed God, and will continue to trust in His grace as I put my hand to the marketing plow. After all, it’s bigger than me, and it won’t leave me alone.

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.


Abi Solebo: “Too Good, Yet So True!”

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 Abi Solebo , author of “Too Good, Yet So True!”

Too Good Yet So True“Any journey starts with a step…” I’m so grateful to God for opening the door for me to self-publish through WestBow Press, it’s been a great experience. It’s very important to have a publisher that shares your values.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever become a published author. I didn’t even think I had what it takes to write. English grammar wasn’t my strong point when I was in school, you can call it “my weakest link”. So humanely speaking, writing wasn’t an area I ever thought to venture.

However, my journey from Islam to Christianity was a great eye opener. “Too Good, Yet So True!”, is an autobiography of my faith journey. When The Lord nudged me to write my autobiography, I thought to myself “This can’t be true.” Like Gideon, I asked The Lord for signs and I knew the confirmation was far beyond me. I realized that there are many Muslim background believers who are afraid to declare their Christian faith for fear of persecution and others who do not  fully understand, that being in Christ is the greatest privilege; one that we need to treasure!abi solebo

After becoming a self-published author, the bible passage that says “The Lord uses the foolish things…” became more meaningful to me. I have now come to realize all one needs to do is yield and leave the rest to God. One only needs to do is hear my testimony to be encouraged and know how good God is, He gave me the grace to stand amidst persecution, and walk through the fire unhurt. I’m elated for the lives that have already been touched by this book and the many more that will be touched. Thank God that I yielded! I’ve published the part 1 of the book and part 2 will be coming out soon. Part 1 took almost a year to be complete. Anytime something comes to mind I jot it down. It was like a puzzle, but gradually it took shape and all the parts fit appropriately. Being abandon by loved ones could be traumatizing at the time, however standing for Jesus amidst persecution has no match in terms of reward. Glory to God!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions abisol2@yahoo.com

Info@toogoodyetsotrue.com

www.toogoodyetsotrue.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 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.

 

 


Michelle Moore: “Baby Steps”

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 Michelle Moore, author of “Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God”. 

“…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

Arm Yourself

I had always been a “Dear Diary” kind of girl when I was little. Later it moved to what looked like note-taking in my teenage life, then to journaling in my 20’s. My writing began to reflect the way I spoke to God and the way He spoke to me.

It was about two years ago when he laid it on my heart to start a blog. He began to prod me to share with other women what I was learning and receiving in Him. He wanted me to let other women know I wasn’t more special than them. This salvation, this hope I have and freedom I have in Christ is for everyone! So extremely nervous and afraid of being judged, I began blogging anyway.

I don’t have a million followers but I know the women that are supposed to read these, are. I knew it would grow according to the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding. Then came the kicker….a few months later, I felt the call to write Arm Yourself and lead the women’s bible studies at church. So I incorporated both and wrote a bible study on the Armor of God and led it. I was nervous, but God’s anointing was all over it! I used the study then as a format to finish my book over the next year and a half.

Now here I am with a book in publishing and planning a marketing and platform strategy. God had been building my platform this whole time!! He had me start with baby step number one, then number two and so on and so forth. He was equipping me and preparing me for what was next. All He asked me to do was be obedient. I needed to learn how to put on my Armor through this whole process because as Joyce Meyer says, “New level, new devil!”

I have overcome so much insecurity and discouragement and God met me every step of the way with a new word and a fresh word to keep me going. In Beth Moore’s book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, she says “A big mouth for Jesus with virtually no armor is like a red flag waving at a demon-possessed bull. From the evil one’s perspective, only one thing appears worse than someone who equips him-or herself with the Word- someone who convinces others to equip themselves too.”

So now there is the possibility that my next step in growing out of my comfort zone is to begin actually SPEAKING my testimony. I know that if God calls me to it, He will bring me through it. I say all this to say that baby steps whether slow going or fast, are there to help us grow and help us to conquer that next battle and reach that next level in our relationship with God.

What is God calling you to do? Where are you allowing your insecurities to rule instead of the Holy Spirit? Bring this matter to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to remove what can sometimes be your biggest obstacle…YOU! Take that first baby step of obedience today and see what doors God opens for you tomorrow.

Blog: www.myhearts-song.com    Email: Mishaqt777@gmail.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 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.


Ely Roque Sagansay: “Writing a Book Was Not on My List…”

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 Ely Roque Sagansay, author of “Mi Daily Devotion”

I never dreamed of being a published author. I never thought of it and it never entered my mind. So how did I become a published author? That’s a good question to start with. It was about a month after I came back from a trip to the United Kingdom when I got very sick. I was put in an isolation room where everyone had to put on protective gear every time they come in to see me. My doctor said I may have AIDS or HIV. My other doctor said I might have liver cancer based on what he saw on the result of my CT scan, x-ray and ultrasound. It was a big mass in my liver as big as a softball. In my life and near death experience in my hospital bed, I never thought of God leading me into writing. It all started from an ear infection which led to complications in my liver, kidney, and pancreas due to my allergies to the medication.

Mi Daily DevotionMi Daily Devotion was born in my heart from the Lord during those difficult days. I was in and out of the hospital for 9 months. I lost my job along with my medical and dental insurance. We were also struggling financially and at the same time my wife lost her full time job. The fear of being idle was haunting me and I was in a dilemma where hope in God was my only wall to lean on.

I was fortunate enough to receive encouraging emails, phone calls, and positive comments on Facebook from friends all over the world. People I know tried to encourage me in my difficult situation. I wanted to turn the table around during those times so I started posting positive comments on Facebook to be a blessing and an encouragement. I started writing devotional quotes and sharing scripture verses. I thought of compiling such in hard copy. I started researching and calling publishing companies such as Lifeway, Crossbooks, some local printing presses, and other publishing companies. Finally, I decided to contact Westbow Press via email. Mr. Jeff Murray of Westbow Press responded for my inquiries the next day.

I did not expect Westbow Press to accept my manuscript for publishing for some reasons. I was a neophyte and an amateur writer, and my manuscript needed a lot of work. Then I said to myself, “There’s nothing to lose in trying and working with your dream, pressing hard in getting where you wanted it to be.” My wife and children were firmly opposed to my decision to push through with my plans. Ely Roque SagansayThey honestly, lovingly and politely shared to me the reasons why I should not publish my book. The hardest part of my journey was making my family go along with my decision and convince them of my desire to make my publishing journey happen. Now, I have their support after that first try. My son, his wife, and his church even invested on my last project- “The New Christmas Every Day”.

It is my desire to be an inspiration to you and to be a channel of God’s blessing. If you’re a writer or your passion is to write; don’t be afraid to take that first baby step for your dream and desire to be a reality. God Bless!

 

Ely Roque Sagansay

www.ely-roque-sagansay.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 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.


Charles Prichard: “We all have a story to tell.”

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 Charles Prichard, author of “Culture V. Christ: Pursuing the Biblical Truth of Marriage and Children.”

After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 2011, I spent the summer in Kenya reaching out to a group of people in a slum village named Huruma. God worked in my life in so many profound ways while I was there and after I returned, I began praying how I could help raise awareness and encourage the American church to take care of orphans and widows in distress (Isaiah 58:6-7).

Charles Prichard teaches orphaned children in the Kenyan village of Haruma how to count in English/broken Swahili.

Charles Prichard teaches orphaned children in the Kenyan village of Haruma how to count in English/broken Swahili.

Fast-forward three years and I’m now a full time husband and father to my three children. I am also an active duty AF officer, a part time student, and spend hours each week in ministry at the base chapel. As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I began studying and seeking wisdom in God’s Word on how to be a godly husband to my wife and father to my children.

At the same time, my heart continued to burn for the people in Africa. I spoke at a number ofCulturevChrist
churches in Colorado and Georgia and continued to share the stories of God’s amazing work in a small abandoned village. But how was I going to share the stories with more people?

I was encouraged to write a book on marriage and family and how the culture has crept into the Christian church. This became a passion of mine. I wanted to work with and encourage families in the church to obey God in every aspect of their family. So my journey began. I attempted to balance my time and priorities and set aside a few hours a month to write.

I contacted WestBow Press and was instantly encouraged. The entire team was so helpful. Every step of the way was an exciting journey. As a young and new author, WestBow Press was the perfect company to work with. A year later Culture V. Christ: Pursuing the Biblical Truth of Marriage and Children was published.

I did not write the book for any monetary gain. In fact, by God’s grace, I am able to send all
royalties to support non-profit Christian organizations that serve orphans and widows around the world. Saba International is the organization I am supporting the month of September. I wrote the book to share a story and spread the Word of God’s perfect grace. I hope you are encouraged to read my book. And I hope you are encouraged to write your own because we all have a story to tell (Matthew 28:18-20).

In Him,
Charles Prichard

Psalm 71:18

Follow via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/charlesprichardministries

Follow via Twitter https://twitter.com/PrichardCharles

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000735255/Culture-V-Christ.aspx

http://www.sabainternational.org

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-6

00 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.


Rob Carlisle: “You never can know what will happen to you in a day…”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Cmdr. Rob Carlisle, (U.S. Navy – Ret.), author of “Defending Freedom” and a survivor of a gunman’s attack against the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, 2013. 

After the attacks of 9/11, September has become a month of remembrance.  Certainly the events of that day have affected most Americans in one way or another.  As for me personally, it would affect me for the next decade.  2001 was an interesting year.  In January, I had decided to leave the Navy and take up a job in corporate America. Later that spring, I also joined the Navy reserves to keep myself involved in an organization I loved while earning some extra money during the weekends while also planning ahead for a retirement with a military pension.

Then September 11 happened.  I didn’t know at the time how it would affect me; I just knew it would.  Then about a year later, because 9/11 impacted an already shaky economy, I lost my job with the technology company I had joined following my time in the Navy. Then just six months into a new job, I was called back up to active duty and found myself in Naples, Italy, at the outbreak of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For several months, I supported a crisis action team that coordinated military shipping traffic in the Mediterranean.  The operational

Carlisle wrote "Defending Freedom"  for his teenage sons.

Carlisle wrote “Defending Freedom” for his teenage sons.

tempo was intense and in the back of my head was always the thought of my wife and three young sons back in the States in a home we just barely moved into before I got the call. Fast forward several years later when I first got the idea to write my book Defending Freedom.  My main motivation was to leave a legacy for my now teenage sons; a book on life’s lessons if you will in which I could lay out my reasons for why I choose to follow Christ.

My idea centered on the tale of two midshipmen following their graduation from the Naval Academy against the backdrop of the world after 9/11. The Navy makes you grow up quickly because of the amount of responsibility immediately thrust upon the shoulders of young officers.  I wanted to share with my sons some of my own experiences while paying homage to the difficulties associated with military life.  What better setting than the Navy to illustrate how Christ can truly make a difference in your life?  My final manuscript was finished in the summer of 2013 and I began to look into publishing alternatives.

Carlisle with his sons Nathan, Kyle and Joel during a cross country road trip to California to celebrate Rob's dad's 80th birthday.

Rob Carlisle with his sons Nathan, Kyle and Joel during a cross country road trip to California to celebrate Rob’s dad’s 80th birthday.

Then on the morning of September 16, 2013, a young man decided to smuggle a shotgun into Building 197 at the Navy Yard and started firing at people on the fourth floor of that building.  When all was said and done, he and 12 innocent people had lost their lives.  Fortunately, I was not one of them, because I was standing right around the corner from the gunman when he started his rampage.  God’s angels were protecting me that morning as I was able to escape out a fire exit to safety.  Others were not so lucky and couldn’t make it out and were either victims or witnesses to this horror.  One year later, the memory of that day is very much ingrained in everyone present during this act of pure evil.

So on September 17, 2013 I decided to turn a negative into a positive and submitted my manuscript to WestBow Press.  WestBow Press had interested me because of their relationship with Thomas Nelson, a well-known and respected Christian publisher.  Looking back a year later, I realize now that this was a hasty decision based on a sense of urgency.  You never can know what will happen to you in a day!  But I have never regretted it.

WestBow Press guided me through the process and did a wonderful job with designing the cover and interior of my book.  And I have immensely enjoyed telling others about my book.  It has created many opportunities for me to share the gospel of Christ.  When you write a book, the first question everyone asks is “What is it about?”  And through my blog and my book’s Facebook page, I can routinely interact with hundreds of people I would never have met otherwise.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 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.


Wendy Cullum: Her book supports mission to raise youth self esteem

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Wendy Cullum, author of “Project Self Esteem: For Kids

Wendy Cullum, author of "Project Self Esteem: For Kids."

Wendy Cullum, author of “Project Self Esteem: For Kids.”

,” which supports her mission of raising self esteem and preventing bullying.

I have always loved children. When I was a teenager, I wrote in my journal that I would have ten kids, and I even wrote their names. I babysat every weekend. When I got married I was fortunate enough to have four beautiful children. My husband and I practiced attachment parenting, including co-sleeping, and I was their first pre-school teacher. Naturally when they started elementary school, I wanted to volunteer in any program available. One such program at the school intrigued me. It was called Project Self-Esteem. Of course I signed up to teach it in my child’s class. It was a program where a parent volunteer taught one lesson once a month in their child’s class. The lesson’s subjects introduced core values to the class.

I taught the program for 12 years. The program was good, but I felt that a few things were lacking. It seemed a little dated, so I started my search for more relevant and entertaining material to add. Three years ago the school decided to drop the program because the content of the lessons were stale. This was a program that I believed in and was having success on my own with more updated materials. I knew that its potential was great and I saw how it made an impact on the lives of the children who participated in it.

PSECoverI asked if I could rewrite the program and I was given the opportunity. It took me three years to perfect it. I would teach a lesson and test the content to see what worked well and kept the kids interested. The lesson subjects are wisdom, individuality, cooperation, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness, uniqueness, respect, determination, joy, humility, courage and friendship. Each lesson has a discussion about the topic, story and object lesson.

On my journey collecting content for the object lesson on friendship, I met an interesting woman on an airplane. I told her I was writing a book and what it was about. She then relayed a story that I ended up adding to the book, and it has become one of my favorites. The lesson involves placing a large piece of butcher paper, cut out in the shape of one of your student’s silhouette, on the chalkboard. We call the Silhouette “Our friend Bob”. I tell the students that they are feeling bad about themselves, so they want to put down their friend Bob. Each student comes up to the front with a pencil and writes a mean put down somewhere on the silhouette.

They then tear off the portion where they wrote and take it back to their seat. When everyone has completed this task, there shouldn’t be much of Bob remaining. I ask the students, “How does Bob look now”? They literally tore him apart with their put downs. It is time to make amends, so each student erases their put down and writes a positive complement. They then bring back their piece of Bob to put him back together. In the end, Bob is whole again. But he doesn’t look the same anymore. I teach the students that although he is back in one piece, he has cuts or tears now. This represents how negative put downs can hurt a person deep inside. You can say you are sorry, but your harsh words will always leave a mark. They should always think before they say something unkind. Because it will have a lasting affect.

When kids have low self-esteem, they resort to treating others poorly. Topics like bullying and ways to deal with anger are discussed. 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school, and 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking or having eating disorders. Facts like these are and were astonishing to me, and are a major motivation for me in writing my book .

The parent volunteers that participate in teaching the lessons learn just as much as the students that they are teaching. One parent reported saying, “I taught the lesson for PSE on Joy. Thank you so much for a great lesson. I went to teach it to the kids and left the classroom so encouraged and full of joy because I couldn’t help but to understand the topic. The kids enjoyed all of the activities, and he had such a fun time. It just doesn’t impact the children, it was an amazing and timely reminder for me as well”.

The purpose of this journey is to reach the children with the message. Upon completion of one year, students often communicate their feelings back to their instructor. Here are a few examples of what they had to say. “I love PSE because it makes me want to be a better person”. “In PSE you taught me how to respect myself and others”. “The lesson I loved the most is humility. It taught me to be more humble”. “My favorite part of PSE was Spotlight”. My goal is to bring this program, Project Self-Esteem for kids, and it’s important message to all schools in America. If it just reaches one child, I have been successful.

- Wendy Cullum 8/28/14

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 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.

 


Laurie Norlander: “One Year Later”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Laurie Norlander, author of “Mirror Images.”

wof redownload

Laurie Norlander meets with readers at the 2013 Women of Faith convention in Kansas City.

My self-publishing journey began atypically when I received an email announcing my novel, Mirror Images, had won the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest. The grand prize included a publishing package from WestBow Press, and on July 29, 2013, my first co
py arrived in the mail. The cover was beautiful, the interior design crisp and professional, and I felt like a “real author.” It was hard not to fantasize about meteoric book sales paving the way to a successful writing career …

I quickly planned a launch party, set up interviews, and shot an author video. I did bmirror imagesook signings, author chats, and attended reading group discussions. I opened a Facebook author page to interact with readers. My efforts seemed to pay dividends. Two retailers agreed to stock Mirror Images. Libraries in surrounding communities purchased copies and had readers on waiting lists. I even signed a contract to present at a book festival sponsored by UW-Eau Claire! Feedback began to trickle in. It was gratifying to hear people say they loved my characters and hoped I’d write a sequel.

My first royalty check arrived and positive reviews were posted on Amazon. I had to corral soaring expectations. In September, I attended the Women of Faith conference in Kansas City and had the privilege of distributing my book at the WestBow Press booth.  It was exhilarating to watch readers line up for autographed copies and to meet and talk with so many amazing women.

Despite initial interest, local sales gradually waned. Fourth quarter online numbers were modest. Reality set in. I was probably never going to see my name atop a best sellers’ list. Surprisingly, the thought was liberating. My journey took on deeper significance as I was reminded why I write. Sales are wonderful, but what truly matters is that I honor God with my talents and trust Him to use my efforts to further His Kingdom. I’m currently finishing work on The Jonah Complex, a suspense novel about a troubled psychiatrist overcoming chemical dependency to save a homeless man from a killer.

Lately, I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold—to a non-profit’s silent auction, a new pastor’s wife, a mentor hoping to spark a love for books in a teen. I still pray God will place my book in the hands of the right people, but I’m no longer thinking of agents or acquisition editors. I’m thinking of that at-risk teenager, the lady from church with pancreatic cancer, the agnostic friend whose husband has ALS, the young couple struggling with the loss of their newborn baby. If Mirror Images offers them encouragement, inspiration, or simply a few hours of relaxation, to God be the glory.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 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 spacewof redownload

 


Chris Shelton: “If anyone else can do it, YOU CAN TOO”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of William “Chris” Shelton, author of “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father.”

Working as an investigator in child protective services for over ten years I felt like a man walking along a river and seeing a child drowning… so I did what anyone would and pulled them to shore, but then another was drowning, and

Chris Shelton sits at Ernest Hemingway's desk during a book signing at the ASU Hemingway Center.

Chris Shelton sits at Ernest Hemingway’s desk during a book signing at the ASU Hemingway Center.

another until I was exhausted, but more children were still drowning… Suddenly, another person is running up the riverbank and I call for help, but they shout back, “Don’t stop me.  I’m trying to get upstream to stop the person throwing them in!”  Pulling people “out of the river” one person at a time is still noble, but exhausting and limited.

I spent hours in court waiting to testify and praying for these families when God put it on my heart to go to ministry school and then to write, “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father” (A Child Abuse Investigator’s Call to The Church).  I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was seeking was a “platform” to try and reach and influence more people.

I’m asked all the time when I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I think the real question is what is inside you that you need to share to make the world or even just one person’s life (even if it’s your own) better?  It doesn’t matter if it is a poem, an encouraging story, or how to do something better, writing is that platform.  Even if your platform is speaking only, you still have to write what you want to say first.

Shelton poses with host Arthlene Rippy after taping a about his book for CTN's "Homekeepers."

Shelton poses with host Arthlene Rippy after taping a segment about his book for CTN’s “Homekeepers.”

A lot of people think that the hard part is writing what you want to say, but sadly, many books that could have made a difference never get read, because the author didn’t know how to get the word out after it was written.  Even if you have the money to pay someone else to promote your work you should still make it your job to know enough that you aren’t wasting your money.

When people ask me for advice, on writing a book, getting it published, and then promoting it, I’ve found that the best advice I can give them is to get a copy of “Platform” by Michael Hyatt, read it and then actually DO what it says!  Years ago, an author could expect a publisher to do all the work, but times change and you have to as well or else go the way of the “buggy whip manufacturing companies”.  Having said that, I’d like to leave you with this encouragement, “If anyone else can do it, YOU CAN TOO (if you want to bad enough)” and I hope you will for the world’s sake and God bless!

William “Chris” Shelton

Shelton joined the army out of high school serving as an infantry squad leader.  He used his G.I. benefits to complete a degree in sociology and education before being recruited as a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent out of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area where he served another five years and was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.  He resigned to marry and raise their son near grandparents in NE Arkansas where he served another ten years in child protective services.  He went to ministry school and wrote, “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father” (A Child Abuse Investigator’s Call to The Church) which has been described as a ride along with a Christian child abuse investigator.  With statistics (and his experience) showing 1 in 4 girls is abused before adulthood and 1 in 6 boys, Chris shares his message to churches and civic organizations to become involved and make a difference.  He has been featured in numerous news, magazine, and blogs and appeared on numerous TV and news programs.  Chris said an unexpected benefit of writing and sharing his book has been the friendships that he wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 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

 

 


Chris Groff: Book Leads to a Bigger Mission

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Chris Groff, author of Parenting By Design.

When we started Parenting by Design, it was because we were learning a type of parenting paradigm that had theGroff potential to dramatically change the relational dynamic in our home, and we knew that there were many other families that were suffering under the same delusions about “successful” parenting that we were. Initially, our goal was just to pass along the information we were receiving to people in our social circles in Fort Worth. We felt God calling us to be transparent about our experiences and to tell our friends about this alternative to the performance-driven, achievement-based culture in which we were living.

We had no designs about starting a ministry, creating a curriculum, writing devotionals or authoring books, but we were available to be used and excited to find that God’s Word described His parenting philosophy. We found that we could study and compare God’s style of parenting to the worldly style we had absorbed from our culture, and that we needed to make some pretty significant changes to better emulate Him.

Groff BookAs we studied God’s parenting style we found that, like us, many Christians were confused about what it means to parent children in a truly biblical way. Sadly, it was difficult to find much difference between the goals of professing Christian parents and those with a secular mindset. Money, power, beauty, and fame kept popping up as the real (though veiled) desires of many seemingly devout followers of Christ for their children. Underneath the platitudes about loving and serving others, there was a furious competition for the most prestigious schools, highest paying jobs, upward social and professional mobility, most advantageous relationships, most attractive appearances, and awards and recognition. We were a big part of this culture until God tore it from our grasp.

Our family’s six-year struggle with addiction, business failure, and disease took us down a path I would not wish on anyone else, but that I would not trade for anything in the world. God wasn’t punishing us – He was saving us. His faithful, loving hand guided us through the storms and left us with a redeemed family. Our relationships with each other and with Him were transformed, as was our understanding of the meaning of “success.” We began to see that success is not dependent on the things the world values because the most successful person in the history of the world had none of those things! God defines success much differently (See Matt 20:26-28).

Our goal remains the same – to pass along the information we receive to people. It’s just become a larger circle of people than our initial group of friends. God has blessed us with a message for parents. The messengers are flawed and the message has been refined by fire, but we have found that, for many parents, our perspective makes the message more approachable. I pray that Parenting by Design will touch many families the way it touched ours.

Chris Groff

https://www.facebook.com/ParentingbyDesign

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 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


Sandy Betgur: Tips for Using Trade Shows in Your Marketing Plan

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Sandy Betgur, author of God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter

Being an exhibitor at a trade show, convention, seminar, or similar large gathering of your target audience can be an important component of your marketing plan. Here are some things I’ve discovered:

Value of Trade Show

Sandy Betgur is the author of “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter.” Learn more at Gods-Song.com.

Unless you are a keynote speaker, you will probably not sell enough books to recover costs of exhibiting at an event. However, there are other inherent values:

* Publicity – You can publicize on your social media sites that you are exhibiting. Additionally, the trade show may promote your attendance on their website, in daily show newsletters, etc. After the event you can write a follow-up blog.

* Exposure – You reap the benefit of other exhibitors’ efforts to drive traffic to the event. Your limited circle of influence is expanded to include these exhibitors’ customers.

* Networking – You may meet industry professionals you had only known by name or reputation. Don’t underestimate the value of face-time. People know people who know people. This is your opportunity to make a memorable impression.

* Contacts – Although you may not sell books at the show, remember your goal is to gather contact information that could lead to future sales.

Strategy

Betgur cover* Get your business card or brochure into attendees’ hands. Don’t tie up your time by engaging in long conversations. They have a lot to see, and you have a lot of people to meet. Have them sign up for something like an online newsletter or facebook so you can follow-up after the show. Consider having them enter a daily drawing by filling out a contact form.

* Offer a simple give-away so that as attendees walk down the aisle you can invite them to your table. If people aren’t specifically looking for you, they will likely just walk on by without stopping to inquire about your product.

* Make your table inviting. Many exhibitors display a candy bowl. Offer more. If there is space, provide an extra chair for weary legs to sit. Leave space on the aisle side of your table for weary arms to place their bags while chatting. Provide a handy hand sanitizer, box of tissues, cup with pens or other necessities.

* Make your space beautiful. Fresh flowers, uncluttered signage, artistically arranged display, and something unique. Give attendees a reason to comment on your booth.

* Get noticed. Provide a Wow-Factor that compels them to stop for a moment. You are responsible for getting their attention. Some exhibitors bring in a personality (celebrity, magician, costumed character) or play soft music or project a fast-moving video. Some dress themselves in historical costumes, outrageous fashion, or stunning jewelry. Be willing to “put yourself out there” to catch people’s eye so you can then engage them in conversation.

* Call people by name. Get in the habit of noticing name tags. When you add the personal touch of repeating their name, they are more likely to look at your name tag and possibly remember you. So make sure your badge hasn’t flipped to a blank side. I wear a designer-jeweled name badge in addition to the convention supplied one (plus it is one more “something” they can comment on to begin conversation.)

As an attendee, what would draw your attention to an unknown exhibitor? As an exhibitor, what strategies do you use? 

Sandy Betgur’s “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter,” was originally published as Psalm Poems by Thomas M. Seller, but that edition is now out of print.  After acquiring the late Mr. Seller’s copyright, Begur added devotional responses to these psalms and brought it back to the marketplace. Learn more at www.gods-song.com


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