Madison Kroeker: “Toward a Better Way”

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 Madison Kroeker, author of Toward a Better Way.”

ResizeImageHandler (1)What started out as a purely self-centered endeavor quickly changed to include the scope of the rest of society. When I first started writing Toward a Better Way, it was, in a way, a documentation of my own recovery from bulimia nervosa. Not only that, but I would write bits and pieces looking into the future of my recovery—temptation battles waged and won, situations and conversations I was struggling with played out on a page, planned and executed after I’d hashed them out on my laptop keyboard in my room. In many ways, writing this book helped save my life. It wasn’t only looking back on what I’d been through, but looking forward also, motivating my journey toward a better way of living.

In the hallway outside the eating disorder clinic I used to go for treatment and counseling, there was a mural on the wall, a collection of short pieces of writing from the girls and boys, men and women, who were a part of treatment at the hospital the clinic was a part of. I found my title in one of the pieces. I can’t remember now what the piece said, but that was where I found the inspiration.

I’ve found that, since writing my book, I’ve opened up an avenue for other people to share with me. Mostly it’s about people who’ve struggled with the same thing, but I think that many people can find something in common with my book. Gwen Singer is not just a girl recovering from bulimia; she is finding her identity in the world, making a mold for herself instead of trying to fit into society’s perception of beauty and acceptance. It is for moms and grandmothers—not only of girls and guys who struggle, but for girls and guys who don’t know what beauty looks like, or where they fit into the world. It is for teenagers and college students.

I find my book like a bridge, closing the gap between the taboo subject of eating disorders and the other side. This is something we need to be open about—self-esteem and body image and dieting and our relationship with food—because not only is the struggle far too common in today’s society, it can be life-altering, and that is something that definitely needs to be addressed and changed for the better.

I want people to understand that my book is saying, “You belong. You are loved and cherished and so amazingly beautiful to Jesus Christ. God has created you in His own image, you are His poem , His masterpiece, His most treasured creation. Do something with that, and go forward in the power of knowing how truly special you are.”

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 


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.


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