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.”

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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

 

 


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